These features are sites of intense commercial fishing activity where detrimental effects on target stocks and habitats can be profound and long-lasting (e.g., Althaus et al., 2009, Clark and Rowden, 2009, Clark et al., 2007, Norse et al., 2012, Pitcher et al., 2010 and Williams et al., 2010a). Hence, these impacts have become issues of major conservation concern internationally (e.g., Gage et al., 2005, Mortensen et al., 2008 and Probert et al., 2007). Other human uses of the deep sea, including mining for oil, gas, and mineral resources (e.g., Davies et al., 2007, Ramirez-Llodra et al., 2011, Roberts, 2002 and Smith et al., 2008) can compound the effects of fisheries in some areas. BMN 673 datasheet The breadth and intensity
of current and future anthropogenic
threats to deep-sea ecosystems creates a need to regulate human activities. International agreements are a critical tool in conservation efforts on the High Seas. Under the umbrella of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a number of initiatives have focussed on ways to improve the management of fisheries (through Regional Fisheries Management Organisations or Agreements and UNGA resolutions 61/105, 64/72) to ensure sustainability of fish stocks as well as to protect deep-sea habitats (e.g., FAO, 2009). The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) also aims to Selleck Everolimus address conservation of open ocean and deep-sea ecosystems using the concept of ‘Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas’ (EBSAs). In 2008 the Parties to the CBD approved the adoption of scientific criteria for identifying EBSAs (COP decision IX/20, ( CBD, 2008)).
Identification of EBSAs allows prioritisation of management and conservation actions to locations seen as particularly important for the long term conservation of ecosystems. EBSAs are defined using seven criteria (CBD, 2009a): 1.) uniqueness or rarity; 2.) special importance for life-history stages; 3.) importance for threatened, endangered or declining species and/or habitats; 4.) vulnerability, fragility, sensitivity, or slow recovery; 5.) biological productivity; 6.) biological diversity; and 7.) naturalness. The criteria are, however, very broad, with differing levels of importance in certain situations. There is also limited guidance on how to deal with situations where multiple criteria Phosphoprotein phosphatase are met to varying extents. Although EBSAs do not necessarily imply that a management response is required, they were initially intended to provide the basis for a network of protected areas (CBD, 2008). Hence it is likely that environmental managers will in the future use EBSAs to select sites for some form of management, and there is consequently a need for an objective and transparent process to assist managers if they are faced with a large number of proposed EBSAs. This need was recognised by GOBI (the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative: www.gobi.