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Front. Mar. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fmars.2018.00064

Ocean futures under ocean acidification, marine protection, and changing fishing pressures explored using a worldwide suite of ecosystem models

  • 1Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Norway
  • 2Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NOAA), United States
  • 3University of South Florida St. Petersburg, United States
  • 4University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, United States
  • 5Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NOAA), United States
  • 6Morgan State University, United States
  • 7Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans, United States
  • 8French Research Institute for exploitation of the Sea (ifremer), France
  • 9Office of Science and Technology, National Marine Fisheries Service, United States
  • 10Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (NOAA), United States
  • 11CSIRO Oceans and Atmopshere, Australia
  • 12National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA), United States

Ecosystem-based management (EBM) of the ocean considers all impacts on and uses of marine and coastal systems. In recent years, there has been a heightened interest in EBM tools that allow testing of alternative management options and help identify tradeoffs among human uses. End-to-end ecosystem modelling frameworks that consider a wide range of management options are a means to provide integrated solutions to the complex ocean management problems encountered in EBM. Here, we leverage the global advances in ecosystem modelling to explore common opportunities and challenges for ecosystem-based management, including changes in ocean acidification, spatial management, and fishing pressure across eight Atlantis (atlantis.cmar.csiro.au) end-to-end ecosystem models. These models represent marine ecosystems from the tropics to the arctic, varying in size, ecology, and management regimes, using a three-dimensional, spatially-explicit structure parametrized for each system. Results suggest stronger impacts from ocean acidification and marine protected areas than from altering fishing pressure, both in terms of guild-level (i.e., aggregations of similar species or groups) biomass and in terms of indicators of ecological and fishery structure. Effects of ocean acidification were typically negative (reducing biomass), while MPAs led to both 'winners' and 'losers' at the level of particular species (or functional groups). Changing fishing pressure (doubling or halving) had smaller effects on the species guilds or ecosystem indicators than either OA or MPAs. Compensatory effects within guilds led to weaker average effects at the guild level than the species or group level. The impacts and tradeoffs implied by these future scenarios are highly relevant as ocean governance shifts focus from single-sector objectives (e.g., sustainable levels of individual fished stocks) to taking into account competing industrial sectors' objectives (e.g., simultaneous spatial management of energy, shipping, and fishing) while at the same time grappling with compounded impacts of global climate change (e.g., ocean acidification and warming).

Keywords: ecosystem-based management, Fisheries Management, ocean acidification, marine protected areas, Atlantis ecosystem model

Received: 17 Oct 2017; Accepted: 12 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Simone Libralato, National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics, Italy

Reviewed by:

Marianna Giannoulaki, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Greece
Catherine S. Longo, Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), United Kingdom  

Copyright: © 2018 Olsen, Kaplan, Ainsworth, Fay, Gaichas, Gamble, Girardin, Hansen, Ihde, Morzaria-Luna, Johnson, Savina-Rolland, Townsend, Weijerman, Fulton and Link. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Erik Olsen, OLSEN., Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR), PB 1870 Nordnes, Bergen, PB 1870 Nordnes, Bergen, 5817, Norway, eriko@imr.no