Science Advisory Report 2011/055
Identification of Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSA) in the Canadian Arctic
- Identifying Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) is an important step in assessing the state of marine ecosystems.
- A total of 38 EBSAs were broadly identified, mapped and described within five of Canada’s Arctic marine biogeographic units: the Hudson Bay Complex, Eastern Arctic, Western Arctic, Arctic Basin and Arctic Archipelago.
- Within each of the five biogeographic units, some EBSAs were given greater priority due to their ecological significance and, in some cases, their national and/or global significance.
- In some cases the ecological or biological feature extended either outside of Canadian waters or into the Newfoundland-Labrador Shelves biogeographic region. For these, the EBSA boundaries were defined by political or regional boundaries.
- The rationale provided for each EBSA should be considered when making management decisions in Canadian Arctic marine waters. Heterogeneity and underlying ecological properties within the broadly described EBSAs needs to be taken into account.
- This evaluation considered a number of published local and traditional ecological knowledge (LEK/TEK) reports. However, it was recognized that more detailed knowledge held by the Aboriginal peoples in the North would likely add to or further refine the boundaries of Arctic EBSAs.
- Given the limitations of the current process and the array of changes that are expected to occur in Arctic ecosystems (e.g. climate change), further work is needed to refine boundaries and potentially identify more specific areas within each of these broadly identified EBSAs. Future re-evaluations are critical to ensure management decisions are made with the best available information.
This Science Advisory Report is from the Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, national advisory meeting of June 14-17, 2011 on Identification of ecologically and biologically significant areas (EBSA) in the Canadian Arctic. Additional publications from this process will be posted as they become available on the DFO Science Advisory Schedule.
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