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Sea Around Us project newsletter, issue 2, January/February 2000 Power, Melanie; Sea Around Us Project Jan 31, 2000

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Sea Around UsThe Sea Around Us Project NewsletterIssue 2 – January/February 2000										There is a broadconsensus, amongscientists, thatfisheries research,somehow, should beecosystem-based, but verylittle agreement as to whatthis means (NRC 1999).Clearly, the first task whendealing with the issue ofputting fisheries in anecosystem context is, as inall science-basedapproaches to a problem,to define and classify theobject(s) at hand. Here,these are the marineecosystems within whichfisheries are embedded.As it turns out, establishinga consensus on suchclassification may berelatively easy, given thecompatibility, so far neverhighlighted, of the twomajor classificatoryschemes so far proposed.These are (1) the system of‘biochemical provinces’developed by Longhurst(1995) and (2) the list ofLarge Marine Ecosystems(LME) of K. Sherman andcolleagues, recentlydiscussed by Sherman andDuda (1999).Longhurst’s classification,based on satellite maps ofplankton pigments, andverified by analysis of over20,000 oceanographicstations, starts at the levelof ‘domains’, or ‘biomes’, ofwhich four are identified:(1) Polar; (2) Westerlies; (3)Trades; and (4) CoastalBoundary. These domainsare large entities withsimilar climate, spanningall three oceans, and theyare subdivided into 56homogenous ‘provinces’,described in great detailsin Longhurst (1998), andcalled ‘Longhurst Areas’ inPauly (1999).Most of these provinces fitwithin one or the otherocean, the exceptionsbeing five circumglobal(boreal and Antarctic)provinces. Overall,Longhurst’s scheme makeslots of sense, and has beenused to stratify the worldocean in two major studies,pertaining to the globaldistribution of primaryproduction and tunacatches (Longhurst et al.1995; Fonteneau 1998),with more forthcoming(Platt and Sathyendranath1999). Also, as part of thecollaboration between theSea Around Us andFishBase projects (Froeseand Pauly, 1998), theworld’s marine fishes(about 15,000 species; seewww.fishbase.org) havebeen assigned toLonghurst’s biochemicalprovinces, if tentatively in afew cases (R. Froese, pers.comm.).However, these provincesare too large for mostpurposes of fisheriesmanagement, even on aninternational basis. Here,systems in the order of200,000 km2, i.e., the size ofSherman’s LME seem moreappropriate. Fortunately, itturns out that Longhurst’sprovinces fall into twogroups, i.e., offshore andcoastal (Figure 1 - page 3).The latter can easily beContinued on page 2 -Defining Ecosystems !"###The Sea Around Us project newsletter ispublished by the  Fisheries Centre at the Uni-versity of British Columbia. Included withthe Fisheries Centre’s newsletter FishBytes,sixissues of this newsletter are published an-nually. Subscriptions are free of charge.Our mailing address is: UBC Fisheries Cen-tre, 2204 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Co-lumbia, Canada, V6T 1Z4. Our fax number is(604) 822-8934, and our email address isSeaNotes@fisheries.com. All queries (includ-ing reprint requests), subscription requests,and address changes should be addressed toMelanie Power, Sea Around Us NewsletterEditor.Further details on the Sea Around Us maybe found at www.fisheries.com/projects/saupdivided into ‘sub-provinces’congruent with the mostlycoastal LME identified by K.Sherman and collaborators.Figure 2 (page 4) illustrates, forthe North Atlantic, howSherman’s system of LME was‘mapped’ onto Longhurst’sclassification of oceanprovinces, with LME split intocomponents (e.g. Southern andNorthern) when they straddledtwo provinces, and new LMEadded where appropriate.This synthesis provides, webelieve, the elements thathad been lacking withineach of the systems thusrendered compatible. ForLonghurst Areas, we identifysub-provinces that arepragmatically defined to serveas framework for fisheries andother applied work. As for theLME, they obtain, via theirincorporation into Longhurst’sscheme, the rigorous physicaldefinitions they had so far beenlacking, including borders thatallow GIS-based computationof system properties.Another consideration is thatour synthesis can be used asecological complement to thecoarse stratification schemeused by the Food andAgriculture of the UnitedNations (FAO) to present globalmarine fisheries data, andwhich relies on 18 FAOstatistical areas (7 for theAtlantic, 3 for the Indian and 8for the Pacific Ocean). Tofacilitate comparisons betweencatch data stratified by thesetwo schemes, we have split thefive circumpolar provinces intoocean-specific segments,treated here as LME (lowerlevel of Figure 2). Thisprocedure enables ‘closure’ ofeach ocean and thus will allowdirect comparisons, at least atocean-level scale, betweencatch data stratified within ournew system, and the FAO catchdata.Our next task, in thiscontext, is to assign thecatches in the globalFAO data set to provinces andsub-provinces (=LME), pendingtheir gradual replacement,starting with the North Atlantic,by locally-derived data sets.Further, we are in the process ofassigning Ecopath models ofthe North Atlantic to theecological stratification schemedescribed here, with thepurpose of deriving basin-levelestimates of productionpatterns and ecosystem statevariables.Acknowledgments:We thank Drs Alan Longhurstand Ken Sherman for theexchanges that have led to thework described above, and DrTrevor Platt for sending us a filedefining biological provinces.Also we thank Dr Rainer Froeseand the FishBase team for theircollaboration.References:Fonteneau, A. (1998) Atlas oftropical tuna fisheries. EditionORSTOM, Paris.Froese, R. and Pauly, D. (Editors).FishBase 1998: Concepts,Design and Data Sources.ICLARM, Manila.Longhurst, A.R. 1995. Seasonalcycles of pelagic productionand consumption. Progress inOceanography 36:77-167.Longhurst, A.R. 1998. EcologicalGeography of the Sea.Academic Press, San Diego,Longhurst, AR., S.Sathyendranath, T. Platt, andC.M. Caverhill. 1995. Anestimate of global primaryproduction in the ocean fromsatellite radiometer data.Journal of Plankton Research17: 1245-1271.NRC 1999. Sustaining MarineFisheries. National ResearchCouncil. National AcademyPress, Washington, D.C. 164 p.Pauly, D. 1999. Review of A.Longhurst’s “EcologicalGeography of the Sea.” Trendsin Ecology and Evolution. 14(3):118Platt, T. and S. Sathyendranath.1999. Spatial structure ofpelagic ecosystem processes inthe global ocean. Ecosystems 2:384-394.Sherman, K. and A.M. Duda.1999. Large Marine Ecosystems:an emerging paradigm forfishery sustainability. Fisheries.24(12) 15-2Defining Ecosystems -Continued from page 1$  !"###Figure 1: Biochemical provinces of the North Atlantic described by Longhurst (1995). Figure 2 shows the LMEs so far identified for each province.ARCT(Atlantic Arctic Province)BPLR(Boreal Polar Province)CHSB(Chesapeake Bay Province)GFST(Gulf Stream Province)NADR(North Atlantic Drift Province)NASE(North Atlantic Subtropical Gyral Province)NASW(North Atlantic Subtropical Gyral Province)NECS(Northeast Atlantic Shelves Province)NWCS(Northwest Atlantic Shelves Province)SARC(Atlantic Subarctic Province)% !"###NE U.S.Continental ShelfSE U.S.Continental ShelfScotianShelfNewfoundlandShelfNW AtlanticShelvesSouthernNorth SeaCeltic-Biscay ShelfNorwegianShelfSkagerak-KattegatBaltic SeaNE AtlanticShelvesChesapeakeBayChesapeakeBayCoastalLabradorShelfEastGreenland ShelfWesternGreenland ShelfBaffinBayHudsonBayBorealPolar CentralBorealPolarNorthIceland ShelfArcticEastArcticWestAtlanticArcticAtlanticArcticBarentsSeaSouthIceland ShelfFaroePlateauNorthernNorth SeaPolarAtlanticAtlanticSubarcticPolarCantabrianShelfN AtlanticDriftN AtlanticDriftGulfStreamGulfStreamPortugueseCoastNorthCanary CurrentN AtlanticSubtropical GyreN AtlanticSubtropical GyreWesterliesFigure 2: Result of ‘mapping’ K. Sherman’s and other LMEs into the biochemical provinces described by Longhurst (1995) for the North Atlantic (see also figure 1). Note hierarchy, from the ‘domain’level (Coastal, Polar, Westerlies) to the province (N.W. Atlantic Shelves, etc.), and the LME (N.E. US Continental Shelf, S.E. US Continental Shelf, etc.). A similar breakdown is now available for the rest of theworld’s oceans. Also note that further breakdown (i.e., addition of LME) will probably be required for detailed description of various provinces.


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