ICES releases food web advice

23 Jun 2014

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has released advice to the European Commission on marine food web indicators.

ICES was asked to advise on potentially useful food web indicators for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive Descriptor 4, as well as on a revision of the large fish indicator. These indicators address important functional aspects, such as energy flows and the structure of food webs.

Food web indicators are established to ensure populations of selected food web components occur at abundance levels that are within acceptable ranges and will secure their long-term viability. Good Environmental Status (GES) of food webs is achieved when the indicators reach their established thresholds.

ICES food web advice, which is the first of its kind, comprises four elements: a roadmap on how to develop the indicators, an explanation of how the potential indicators consider both the structure and functioning of food webs, seven potential food web indicators (four structural and three functional), and a review of the LFI in European waters.

Although the advice initially benefits the European regional seas commissions (the Barcelona Convention, the Bucharest Convention, the Helsinki Convention and the OSPAR Convention), ICES says it also developed the indicators with global application in mind.

ICES worked with scientists from Europe and North America to develop the science that generated the food web indicators.

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International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)

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