Is the existing EU policy framework fit to protect and restore marine biodiversity? Could an upstream approach such as the utilization of ecosystem-based management be the key to coordinating environmental policies? At the Future Oceans conference titled "Advances in Integrated Ocean Research towards Sustainable Development" held at the Wissenschaftszentrum in Kiel from 2 until 7 July 2017, Ecologic Institute's Katrina Abhold and Lina Röschel gave short, energetic talks that addressed exactly these pressing issues in the fields of marine science and policy. In the Science Session on Ocean Resilience on Tuesday 4 July 2017, Katrina Abhold, a Researcher at Ecologic Institute, presented ecosystem-based management (EBM) as an opportunity to strengthen EU environmental policy coordination to better protect aquatic biodiversity.
Loss of biodiversity leads to loss in ecosystem resilience by depleting the ecosystem’s capacity to resist change, to supply the same level of control on structure and to reorganize following disturbances. EBM can be used as a holistic and integrative approach to sustainable management for marine ecosystems to strengthen ocean resilience, and is advocated by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Abhold analyzed how the EU’s environmental policy framework relevant to protect marine biodiversity (i.e. the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the Water Framework Directive, and the Birds and Habitats Directives) currently integrates six principles of EBM. She concluded her presentation with recommendations for better integration and policy coordination between the Directives within an EBM approach.
The international Cluster Research Conference involved over 100 international participants from the various fields of marine science, connecting alumni scientists and early career researchers, thus expanding the existing Kiel marine sciences community. The research presented by Abhold and Röschel was undertaken in the project AQUACROSS, funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration under Grant Agreement no. 642317.