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Postcard from Third EA International Conference (2024) Norway

L-R: MarineSABRES project members Talea Weissang and Dr. Catherine Chambers

Rising Arctic temperatures and associated increasing human activities are placing growing pressures  on marine ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as raising the bar for current approaches to marine management and conservation to be more adaptive and holistic.


This was the message from the 3rd International conference on the Ecosystem Approach to Management in Arctic Large Marine Ecosystems, which was held recently in Tromsø, Norway. Entitled ‘Ecosystem Based Management in a Rapidly Warming Arctic - Sharing Experiences and Challenges’, the conference focused on the threat of climate change and the associated uncertainties and consequences for biodiversity and the communities dependent on it.


Ecosystem-based Management (EBM) also called Ecosystem Approach (EA) is endorsed at the highest international level, including UN bodies and States. The Arctic Council embraces EBM of human activities in the Arctic to achieve sustainable use of ecosystem goods and services and the maintenance of ecosystem integrity. However, the Arctic is faced with applying EBM in a situation where marine ecosystems are changing at a fundamental level and governance structures still struggle with implementing the approach.


MarineSABRES project member Dr. Catherine Chambers, Senior Scientist with the Stefansson Arctic Institute, was invited to present a talk on the MarineSABRES project and the project’s Arctic Demonstration Area (DA). Catherine presented preliminary results from Iceland using causal feedback loop diagrams. Environmental specialist Talea Weissang of WWF Denmark and Dr. Warsha Singh from the Icelandic Marine and Freshwater Research Institute were also in attendance representing the Arctic DA.


As MarineSABRES shares the conference focus of lessons learned and challenges in EBM, there was great interested in the project outcomes to date: particularly among members of the ICES and Arctic Council working groups. As there are also attempts to build similar SES models in other similar Arctic ecosystems, the comparisons between projects and models will be interesting to measure and assess as these projects develop.


The EA International Conference 2024 was organised by a committee comprising the Arctic Council working groups PAME, AMAP, CAFF and SDWG, as well as experts from Arctic Council Member States, Permanent Participants and Observer organizations the ICES and WWF.



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