Mapping Fisheries onto Marine Ecosystems: A Proposal for a Consensus Approach for Regional, Oceanic and Global Integrations

D. Pauly, V. Christensen, R. Froese, A. Longhurst, T. Platt, S. Sathyendranath, K. Sherman, R. Watson, (2000). “Mapping Fisheries onto Marine Ecosystems: A Proposal for a Consensus Approach for Regional, Oceanic and Global Integrations,” Fisheries Centre Research Reports No. 8 (Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Research on ecosystem-based fisheries management, marine biodiversity conservation, and other fields requires appropriate maps of the major natural regions of the oceans, and their ecosystems. It is proposed here that a classification system proposed by T. Platt and S. Sathyendranath and implemented by A.R. Longhurst, defined largely by physical parameters, and which subdivides the oceans into four ‘biomes’ and 57 ‘biogeochemical provinces’ (BGCPs), could be merged with the system of 50 Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) identified by K. Sherman and colleagues, which would represent subunits of the provinces. This arrangement enhances each of the systems, and renders them mutually compatible. For the LMEs, subprovinces are pragmatically defined to serve as a framework for the management of coastal fisheries, and other purposes, while the BGCPs have rigorous physical definitions, including borders defined by natural features. Moreover, incorporating the 50 defined LMEs into the framework of BGCPs will allow straightforward scaling-up of LME-specific flow estimates (including fisheries catches) up to basin and ocean scales. The combined mapping will allow the computation of GIS-derived properties such as temperature, primary production, etc., and their analysis in relation to fishery catch data for any study area. A further useful aspect of the proposed scheme is that it will enable us to quantify the EEZ of various countries in terms of the distribution of marine features (e.g., primary production, coral reef areas) which has yet to be traightforwardly aassociated with coastal states. Applications to shelf, coral reef and oceanic fisheries, and to the mapping of marine biodiversity are briefly discussed.