Borga, Angel and Collins, Michael
Regional Seas integrative studies, as a basis for an ecosystem-based approach to management: The case of the Bay of Biscay
Continental Shelf Research, 29, (8), . (doi:10.1016/j.csr.2008.12.015).
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Marine legislation world-wide has, as a recent final objective, the maintenance of a good environmental or ecological status for marine waters, habitats and resources. The concept of environmental status takes into account the structure, function and processes of marine ecosystems, bringing together physical, chemical, physiographic, geographic and climatic factors: subsequently, integrating such conditions, with anthropogenic impacts and activities undertaken in the area concerned. Such an approach is intended to permit an assessment of the environmental status at the ecosystem level, i.e. ‘ecosystem-based approach’, or ‘ecosystem-based management’.
Such legislation emphasises the need for the development of methodologies, to assess environmental status. As such the knowledge acquired within Regional Seas, discussed at International Symposia and, finally, published as Special Issues, can serve as the basis for a regional ecosystem-based approach to management and the integrative assessment of marine systems. Hence, the Bay of Biscay is used in this contribution, as an example, to show past and present research, together with perspectives for the future. It is concluded that collaboration between institutions (marine research institutes, universities) and countries (France, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Ireland) could result in an interesting ‘case-study’, for the further implementation of the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive, at the level of this particular Regional Sea. In this way, the experience gained in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive within the ecoregion, together with the information collated in the eleven International Symposia of Oceanography of the Bay of Biscay, celebrated until now, can be very useful, for an ecosystem-based management approach for this Regional Sea.
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