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Monitoring the impact of litter in large vertebrates in the Mediterranean Sea within the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD): Constraints, specificities and recommendations
Created: 2017-05-04 09:33:31.176 by: Generation Service
In its decision (20101477/EU) relating to the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD, 2008/56/EC), the European Commission identified the following points as focuses for monitoring: (i) 10.1.1: Trends in the amount, source and composition of litter washed ashore and/or deposited on coastlines, (ii) 10.1.2: Trends in the amount and composition of litter in the water column and accumulation on the sea floor, (iii) 10.1.3: Trends in the amount, distribution and composition of micro-particles (mainly microplastics), and (iv) 10.2.1: Trends in the amount and composition of litter ingested by marine animals. Monitoring the impacts of litter will be considered further in 2014. At that time, the strategy will be discussed in the context of the Mediterranean Sea, providing information on constraints, protocols, existing harm and research needed to support monitoring efforts. The definition of targets and acceptable levels of harm must take all factors into account, whether entanglement ingestion, the transport and release of pollutants, the transport of alien species and socioeconomic impacts. It must also reflect on the practical deployment of \"ingestion\" measures (10.2.1). The analysis of existing data will reveal the potential and suitability of some higher trophic level organisms (fish, turtles, birds and mammals) for monitoring the adverse effects of litter. Sea turtles appear to be useful indicator species, but the definition of an ecological quality objective is still needed, as well as research on alternative potential indicator species. (c) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Created: 2017-05-04 11:33:30.618 by: Generation Service
International policy frameworks such as the Common Fisheries Policy and the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive define high-level strategic goals for marine ecosystems. Strategic goals are addressed via general and operational management objectives. To add credibility and legitimacy to the development of objectives, for this study stakeholders explored intermediate level ecological, economic and social management objectives for Northeast Atlantic pelagic ecosystems. Stakeholder workshops were undertaken with participants being free to identify objectives based on their own insights and needs. Overall 26 objectives were proposed, with 58% agreement in proposed objectives between two workshops. Based on published evidence for pressure-state links, examples of operational objectives and suitable indicators for each of the 26 objectives were then selected. It is argued that given the strong species-specific links of pelagic species with the environment and the large geographic scale of their life cycles, which contrast to demersal systems, pelagic indicators are needed at the level of species (or stocks) independent of legislative region. Pelagic community indicators may be set at regional scale in some cases. In the evidence-based approach used in this study, the selection of species or region specific operational objectives and indicators was based on demonstrated pressure-state links. Hence observed changes in indicators can reliably inform on appropriate management measures. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Organizations: Elsevier Ltd.
The link between descriptors 8 and 9 of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive: lessons learnt in Spain
Created: 2017-05-04 09:26:19.63 by: Generation Service
The aim of this note is to discuss the relevance of the interaction/integration of monitoring of contaminants for the protection of the marine environment and for human health safety (descriptors 8 and 9, respectively) within the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The identification of possible relations between contaminant levels in sediments and tissues of fish and other seafood, as well as the association of those levels to pollution sources, are major challenges for marine researchers. The Spanish initial assessment in the North-East Atlantic marine region was used as an example to show some gaps and loopholes when dealing with the relationship between descriptors 8 and 9. The main problem to deal with is that monitoring programmes intended for the assessment of marine environmental quality and for human health safety usually apply different approaches and methodologies, and even different tissues are analysed in some species (mainly fish). It is therefore recommended to make a profound revision of current sampling strategies, procedures and methodologies, including the selection of target species and tissues and to improve the traceability of samples of fish and other seafood for human consumption. On the other hand, despite the scope of descriptor 9 which is limited to commercially relevant species, this fact should not be an obstacle in the application of the 'ecosystem approach' within the MSFD. In order to appropriately solve these shortcomings, an information exchange system between authorities dealing with descriptors 8 and 9 should be strongly encouraged for the next steps of the MSFD's implementation.
Created: 2017-07-26 13:07:18.854 by: Francesco De Leo
Domains: marine biology
Expressions: jellyfish species
Created: 2017-05-04 11:35:48.066 by: Generation Service
The European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires European states to maintain their marine waters in 'Good Environmental Status'. The MSFD includes 11 descriptors of \"Good Environmental Status\" (GES), including \"Sea-floor Integrity\". This descriptor is defined as: \"Sea-floor integrity is at a level that ensures that the structure and functions of the ecosystems are safeguarded and benthic ecosystems, in particular, are not adversely affected.\" This contribution briefly summarizes the main conclusions of an international expert group established to review the scientific basis for making this concept operational. The experts concluded that consideration of 8 attributes of the seabed system would provide adequate information to meet requirements of the MSFD: (i) substratum, (ii) bioengineers, (iii) oxygen concentration, (iv) contaminants and hazardous substances, (v) species composition, (vi) size distribution, (vii) trophodynamics and (viii) energy flow and life history traits. The experts further concluded that \"Good Environmental Status\" cannot be defined exclusively as \"pristine Environmental Status\", but rather status when impacts of all uses were sustainable. Uses are sustainable if two conditions are met: the pressures associated with those uses do not hinder the ecosystem components to retain their natural diversity, productivity and dynamic ecological processes recovery from perturbations such that the attributes lie within their range of historical natural variation must be rapid and secure. No single specific suite of indicators is proposed, both because no single set of indicators will meet the needs of all EU countries in all regional seas, and because according to the MSFD indicator selection is the prerogative of individual states. However, the need for conceptual consistency in assessing GES throughout European seas should be served if the selection of indicators and the integration of their information content in assessing GES follow the guidance in the report of the TG on Seafloor Integrity. This guidance is presented here in summary form. Informed by this report European Commission selected as indicators for the Sea-floor Integrity: (i) type, abundance, biomass and areal extent of relevant biogenic substrate; (ii) extent of the seabed significantly affected by human activities for the different substrate types; (iii) presence of particularly sensitive and/or tolerant species; (iv) multi-metric indices assessing benthic community condition and functionality, such as species diversity and richness, proportion of opportunistic to sensitive species; (v) proportion of biomass or number of individuals in the macrobenthos above some specified length/size; and (vi) parameters describing the characteristics (shape, slope and intercept) of the size spectrum of the benthic community. Crown Copyright (C) 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Created: 2017-05-04 09:51:03.724 by: Generation Service
Ecosystem-based management of the North Sea demersal fish community uses the large fish indicator (LFI), defined as the proportion by weight of fish caught in the International Bottom Trawl Survey (IBTS) exceeding a length of 40 cm. Current values of the LFI are similar to 0.15, but the European Union (EU) Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires a value of 0.3 be reached by 2020. An LFI calculated from an eight-species subset correlated closely with the full community LFI, thereby permitting an exploration of the effects of various fishing scenarios on projected values of the LFI using an extension of a previously published multi-species length-structured model that included these key species. The model replicated historical changes in biomass and size composition of individual species, and generated an LFI that was significantly correlated with observations. A community-wide reduction in fishing mortality of 60% from 2008 values was necessary to meet the LFI target, driven mainly by changes in cod and saithe. A 70% reduction in cod fishing mortality alone, or a 75% reduction in otter trawl effort, was also sufficient to achieve the target, Reductions in fishing mortality necessary to achieve maximum sustainable harvesting rates are projected to result in the LFI over-shooting its target. (C) 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Places: North Sea
Organizations: large fish indicator
Created: 2017-05-04 10:27:09.44 by: Generation Service
Scientific information on the biodiversity of marine caves in the eastern Mediterranean is limited, especially when considering the extensively studied caves of the north-western and central Mediterranean. Aiming to enhance current knowledge regarding cave communities, this study represents a first assessment of the marine cave biota of the eastern Mediterranean, as defined by the European Union's Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). Information retrieved from an extensive overview of relevant scientific documents was combined with original data recorded from 23 marine caves in the north-eastern Mediterranean. Our results report a total of 520 taxa recorded in eastern Mediterranean marine caves to date, the majority of which are sponges, polychaetes, rhodophytes, bivalves, fishes, and gastropods. These include several protected, endemic and alien species. However, not all taxonomic groups from different areas have been equally investigated and future studies are expected to increase the number of endemic and alien species. The observed general trend is that the reported species number is generally related to sampling effort and scientific expertise. The most well-studied marine cave communities in the eastern Mediterranean are those of the Aegean Sea (especially its northern sector), which presented the highest number of species, followed by those of the Levantine. Furthermore, our research in Aegean caves revealed numerous new records for the marine cave fauna of the eastern basin, while several species are reported for the first time in a marine cave habitat. The critical need for further scientific research, monitoring, and conservation of this unique ecosystem was highlighted by (i) the presence of certain species endemic to the eastern Mediterranean coupled with a high proportion of alien species, especially in the Levantine Basin, and (ii) marine cave habitat availability in isolated insular areas of the eastern Mediterranean.
Created: 2017-05-04 09:32:26.154 by: Generation Service
Indicators for the Sea-floor Integrity of the Hellenic Seas under the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive: establishing the thresholds and standards for Good Environmental Status
Created: 2017-05-04 11:11:36.229 by: Generation Service
A data set of 625 samples of benthic macroinvertebrates collected from the Hellenic Seas (Ionian and Aegean) was used to establish thresholds and reference standards for two of the indicators addressing the descriptors of Sea-floor Integrity under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD): species diversity and richness and the ratio of sensitive species to tolerant species. The dataset was categorised according to the baseline ecological status assessment of the respective water bodies under the Water Framework Directive (WFD). Species diversity and richness were characterised using the Shannon diversity and species richness indices, respectively, and were analysed for three pre-defined substrate types, three depth zones and three sample-size categories, and the significant categories were statistically validated. Good Environmental Status (GEnS) threshold and reference values were established for the valid combinations of categories denoted as 'ecotypes' through the use of a boxplot and an analysis of variance. The limitations and specifications for an overall GEnS assessment using the above indices are highlighted based on the WFD experience. For the ratio of sensitive species to tolerant species, the BENTIX index classification scale is proposed for GEnS assessment, and an integrated approach to the assessment of diversity and species richness is suggested. Finally, the regionality of the tested indices in relation to the two Mediterranean sub-regions, including the Hellenic area, was tested.
Places: Aegean Sea
Alien species in the Mediterranean Sea by 2010. A contribution to the application of European Union's Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). Part I. Spatial distribution
Created: 2017-05-04 09:59:04.273 by: Generation Service
The state-of-art on alien species in the Mediterranean Sea is presented, making distinctions among the four subregions defined in the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive: (i) the Western Mediterranean Sea (WMED); (ii) the Central Mediterranean Sea (CMED); (iii) the Adriatic Sea (ADRIA); and (iv) the Eastern Mediterranean Sea (EMED). The updated checklist (December 2010) of marine alien species within each subregion, along with their acclimatization status and origin, is provided. A total of 955 alien species is known in the Mediterranean, the vast majority of them having being introduced in the EMED (718), less in the WMED (328) and CMED (267) and least in the Adriatic (171). Of these, 535 species (56%) are established in at least one area. Despite the collective effort of experts who attempted in this work, the number of introduced species remains probably underestimated. Excluding microalgae, for which knowledge is still insufficient, aliens have increased the total species richness of the Mediterranean Sea by 5.9%. This figure should not be directly read as an indication of higher biodiversity, as spreading of so many aliens within the basin is possibly causing biotic homogenization. Thermophilic species, i.e. Indo-Pacific, Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Tropical Atlantic, Tropical Pacific, and circum(sub)tropical, account for 88.4% of the introduced species in the EMED, 72.8% in the CMED, 59.3% in the WMED and 56.1% in the Adriatic. Cold water species, i.e. circumboreal, N Atlantic, and N Pacific, make up a small percentage of the introduced species, ranging between 4.2% and 21.6% and being more numerous in the Adriatic and less so in the EMED. Species that are classified as invasive or potentially invasive are 134 in the whole of the Mediterranean: 108 are present in the EMED, 75 in the CMED, 53 in the Adriatic and 64 in the WMED. The WMED hosts most invasive macrophytes, whereas the EMED has the lion's share in polychaetes, crustaceans, molluscs and fish.
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