A Definition of the nature and meaning of the Ecosystem-based Approach, and how this translates into a suite of management tools

This paper has been prepared by MARINET for OSPAROSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic made up of representatives of the Governments of the 15 signatory nations. (Oslo Paris Convention for the Protection of the N.E. Atlantic www.ospar.org) in connection with the formulation of OSPAR’s new policy base for the forthcoming period 2010 to 2020. This paper explains that the ecosystem-based approach is more that an “adaptive form of management” which just responds when problems become known, and this paper highlights and defines “ecosystem integrity” in order to lay emphasis on its maintenance as a key component of this management approach. Arising from this duality (adaptive management and ecosystem integrity), this paper describes the key management tools available to us to enable the ecosystem-based approach to function as a management system which will actively maintain the sustainable use of our seas.

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