Journal Article

Indicators for ecosystem-based management on the Scotian Shelf: bridging the gap between theory and practice

R. O'Boyle, M. Sinclair, P. Keizer, K. Lee, D. Ricard and P. Yeats

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 62, issue 3, pages 598-605
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
Indicators for ecosystem-based management on the Scotian Shelf: bridging the gap between theory and practice

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  • Environmental Science
  • Marine and Estuarine Biology


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The need for a more integrated approach to ocean management is increasingly being recognized. Discussion on appropriate indicators and reference points supporting such an approach has focused on the technical merits of one set of metrics over another in servicing some management goal. Relatively little effort has been put into answering the question how one would use suites of indicators to meet the multiple conservation objectives defined in operational plans. Such an exercise is being undertaken on the eastern Scotian Shelf off Canada's east coast, as a national integrated management pilot. A number of ocean industries – fishing, oil and gas exploration, transport, and the military – utilize the area, a typical situation elsewhere in the world. A suite of conceptual ecosystem-level objectives has been identified to address biodiversity, productivity, and habitat issues. Operational objectives, which identify an indicator and reference points associated with each conceptual objective, are then stated. Utilizing this framework, individual ocean industry plans and activities can be reviewed in a consistent manner, to determine how they might be constrained by the conservation objectives for the area. Issues of spatial scale and cumulative impacts are addressed, and comment is made on future developments.

Keywords: biodiversity; conceptual objectives; conservation; cumulative impacts; implementation; integrated management; operational objectives; planning hierarchy; Scotian Shelf

Journal Article.  3940 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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