Poster Open Access

Vulnerable marine ecosystems in arctic and sub-arctic waters

Buhl-Mortensen, Lene; Mariano Burgos, Julian; Buhl-Mortensen, Pål; Ólafsdóttir, Steinunn Hilma; Ragnarsson, Stefán Áki; Steingrund, P.

Poster presentation at ATLAS 3rd General Assembly. Distribution of vulnerable marine ecosystems (VME´s) in arctic and sub-arctic waters is poorly known. The NovasArc (2016-2018) project, funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, represents a continuation of a decade-long research collaboration between Iceland and Norway, and Faroe Islands in recent years.  The first objective of the NovasArc project is to map the distribution of VME habitats and indicator species in the area between Greenland Sea and the Norwegian Sea, and between 62°N and the Svalbard archipelago. The data for analysis derives from habitat mapping surveys (including MAREANO), bycatch data from bottom fish surveys, and records published in reports and peer reviewed publications. Oceanographical data is obtained from data collated by the NISE (Norwegian Iceland Seas Experiment) project. Species distribution models using a maximum entropy approach (MaxEnt) were used to predict the distribution of VMEs and their indicator species. The second objective is to evaluate the risk of fishing activities and other human activities on VMEs. Data from electronic logbooks, vessel monitoring systems and automatic identification systems were used to produce high resolution fishing effort estimates. Areas with VMEs at risk will be identified by examining the overlap in the fishing effort and the predicted distribution of VMEs or VME indicator species. This project has significantly increased the knowledge on distribution VMEs in arctic and sub-arctic waters, and their results will provide an important input for future management decision making. 


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