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A multi criteria assessment method for identifying vulnerable marine ecosystems in the North-East Atlantic

A multi criteria assessment method for identifying vulnerable marine ecosystems in the North-East Atlantic
A multi criteria assessment method for identifying vulnerable marine ecosystems in the North-East Atlantic

In international fisheries management, scientific advice on the presence of "vulnerable marine ecosystems" (VMEs) per United Nations resolutions, has generally used qualitative assessments based on expert judgment of the occurrence of indicator taxa such as cold-water corals and sponges. Use of expert judgment alone can be criticized for inconsistency and sometimes a lack of transparency; therefore, development of robust and repeatable numeric methods to detect the presence of VMEs would be advantageous. Here, we present a multi-criteria assessment (MCA) method to evaluate how likely a given area of seafloor represents a VME. The MCA is a taxa-dependent spatial method that accounts for both the quantity and data quality available. This was applied to a database of records of VMEs built, held and compiled by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). A VME index was generated which ranged from 1.51 to 4.52, with 5.0 being reserved for confirmed VME habitats. An index of confidence was also computed that ranged from 0.0 to 0.75, with 1 being reserved for those confirmed VME habitats. Overall the MCA captured the important elements of the ICES VME database and provided a simplified, spatially aggregated, and weighted estimate of how likely a given area is to contain VMEs. The associated estimate of confidence gave an indication of how uncertain that assessment was for the same given area. This methodology provides a more systematic and standardized approach for assessing the likelihood of presence of VMEs in the North-East Atlantic.

Cold-water corals, Deep-sea, Deep-sea sponges, Multi-criteria assessment, Vulnerable marine ecosystems
2296-7745
Morato, Telmo
a4c339fc-539c-450e-ada2-cb23f2c2d6b3
Pham, Christopher K.
ce680b86-3b11-4657-b37f-6ba302211f90
Pinto, Carlos
7e769477-1739-4752-9a39-f2280768ed9b
Golding, Neil
3ad831cb-1f66-4334-9fa9-cfa926a85de5
Ardron, Jeff A.
3a5ab3bf-bd0a-45c7-b6ec-705f74e0cf2f
Muñoz, Pablo Durán
5c80c2b2-e0a7-479c-ab7c-e53a296b91ef
Neat, Francis
7418a36b-a2b9-4146-9cdc-6ef1456fd836
Morato, Telmo
a4c339fc-539c-450e-ada2-cb23f2c2d6b3
Pham, Christopher K.
ce680b86-3b11-4657-b37f-6ba302211f90
Pinto, Carlos
7e769477-1739-4752-9a39-f2280768ed9b
Golding, Neil
3ad831cb-1f66-4334-9fa9-cfa926a85de5
Ardron, Jeff A.
3a5ab3bf-bd0a-45c7-b6ec-705f74e0cf2f
Muñoz, Pablo Durán
5c80c2b2-e0a7-479c-ab7c-e53a296b91ef
Neat, Francis
7418a36b-a2b9-4146-9cdc-6ef1456fd836

Morato, Telmo, Pham, Christopher K., Pinto, Carlos, Golding, Neil, Ardron, Jeff A., Muñoz, Pablo Durán and Neat, Francis (2018) A multi criteria assessment method for identifying vulnerable marine ecosystems in the North-East Atlantic. Frontiers in Marine Science, 5 (DEC), [460]. (doi:10.3389/fmars.2018.00460).

Record type: Article

Abstract

In international fisheries management, scientific advice on the presence of "vulnerable marine ecosystems" (VMEs) per United Nations resolutions, has generally used qualitative assessments based on expert judgment of the occurrence of indicator taxa such as cold-water corals and sponges. Use of expert judgment alone can be criticized for inconsistency and sometimes a lack of transparency; therefore, development of robust and repeatable numeric methods to detect the presence of VMEs would be advantageous. Here, we present a multi-criteria assessment (MCA) method to evaluate how likely a given area of seafloor represents a VME. The MCA is a taxa-dependent spatial method that accounts for both the quantity and data quality available. This was applied to a database of records of VMEs built, held and compiled by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). A VME index was generated which ranged from 1.51 to 4.52, with 5.0 being reserved for confirmed VME habitats. An index of confidence was also computed that ranged from 0.0 to 0.75, with 1 being reserved for those confirmed VME habitats. Overall the MCA captured the important elements of the ICES VME database and provided a simplified, spatially aggregated, and weighted estimate of how likely a given area is to contain VMEs. The associated estimate of confidence gave an indication of how uncertain that assessment was for the same given area. This methodology provides a more systematic and standardized approach for assessing the likelihood of presence of VMEs in the North-East Atlantic.

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fmars-05-00460 - Version of Record
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 14 November 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 13 December 2018
Published date: 13 December 2018
Keywords: Cold-water corals, Deep-sea, Deep-sea sponges, Multi-criteria assessment, Vulnerable marine ecosystems

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 427125
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/427125
ISSN: 2296-7745
PURE UUID: 8e6a9dcd-20ec-4dd7-8fee-3e8ba0ffab90

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Date deposited: 03 Jan 2019 17:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 00:51

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