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EBSAs (Source: CBD 2016) and marine “areas of heightened ecological and cultural significance” (Source: AMAP/CAFF/SDWG, 2013). In 2013, the Arctic Council identified “Areas of heightened ecological and cultural significance” using the International Maritime Organization criteria for Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs), which are similar to the CBD Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) criteria. The term “areas of heightened ecological and cultural significance” comes from Recommendation IIC of the Arctic Council’s 2009 Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment: ARCTIC PROTECTED AREAS - INDICATOR REPORT 2017
Arctic Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) and Arctic Marine Areas of Heightened Ecological and Cultural Significance as identified in the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA) IIC report. STATE OF THE ARCTIC MARINE BIODIVERSITY REPORT - <a href="https://arcticbiodiversity.is/marine" target="_blank">Chapter 1</a> - Page 16 - Box Figure 1.1
A national Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) science advisory process was held in Winnipeg, Manitoba from June 14-17, 2011 to provide science advice on the identification of Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) in the Canadian Arctic based on guidance developed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. This science advisory process focused on the identification of EBSAs within the following marine biogeographic units: the Hudson Bay Complex, the Arctic Basin, the Western Arctic, the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and the Eastern Arctic. Source: <a href="http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/344747.pdf" target="_blank">Fisheries and Oceans Canada</a> Reference: DFO. 2011. Identification of Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSA) in the Canadian Arctic. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2011/055. DFO. 2011. Identification of Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) in the Canadian Arctic; June 14-17, 2011. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Proceed. Ser. 2011/047.
The Arctic Council’s 2009 Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA) identified a number of recommendations to guide future action by the Arctic Council, Arctic States and others on current and future Arctic marine activity. Recommendation II C under the theme Protecting Arctic People and the Environment recommended: “That the Arctic states should identify areas of heightened ecological and cultural significance in light of changing climate conditions and increasing multiple marine use and, where appropriate, should encourage implementation of measures to protect these areas from the impacts of Arctic marine shipping, in coordination with all stakeholders and consistent with international law.” As a follow-up to the AMSA, the Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) and Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) working groups undertook to identify areas of heightened ecological significance, and the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) undertook to identify areas of heightened cultural significance. The work to identify areas of heightened ecological significance builds on work conducted during the preparation of the AMAP (2007) Arctic Oil and Gas Assessment. Although it was initially intended that the identification of areas of heightened ecological and cultural significance would be addressed in a similar fashion, this proved difficult. The information available on areas of heightened cultural significance was inconsistent across the Arctic and contained gaps in data quality and coverage which could not be addressed within the framework of this assessment. The areas of heightened cultural significance are therefore addressed within a separate section of the report (Part B) and are not integrated with the information on areas of heightened ecological significance (Part A). In addition, Part B should be seen as instructive in that it illustrates where additional data collection and integration efforts are required, and therefore helps inform future efforts on identification of areas of heightened cultural significance. The results of this work provide the scientific basis for consideration of protective measures by Arctic states in accordance with AMSA recommendation IIc, including the need for specially designated Arctic marine areas as follow-up to AMSA recommendation IId. Reference: AMAP/CAFF/SDWG, 2013. Identification of Arctic marine areas of heightened ecological and cultural significance: Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA) IIc. Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), Oslo. 114 pp. Data avaiable from: source: <a href="http://www.amap.no/documents/doc/Identification-of-Arctic-marine-areas-of-heightened-ecological-and-cultural-significance-Arctic-Marine-Shipping-Assessment-AMSA-IIc/869" target="_blank">Identification of Arctic marine areas of heightened ecological and cultural significance</a>
A total of 95 areas of heightened ecological significance have been identified within the Arctic LMEs. The areas were identified primarily on the basis of their ecological importance to fish, birds and/or mammals, as these species are the most widely studied Arctic groups. The majority of areas identified are used by birds (85) and marine mammals (81), with a lower number used by fish (40, most of them spawning areas). About 70 areas are used both by birds and mammals, and only two of the areas identified are used only by fish.The areas of heightened ecological significance comprise a total area of about 12 million km2, or more than half the total area of the ice-covered part of the marine Arctic. The areas are generally not homogenous but comprise subareas used by fish, birds or mammals. Based on the approach used, subareas were identified separately for fish, birds, and mammals, or information on the use of the larger areas by these groupswas summarized. The subareas often overlap and are also often used by two or more species of birds or mammals, such as for breeding in seabird colonies or for staging by waterfowl and shorebirds. Information on species present and the times and purposes of use are given in summary tables for each LME. Thus, while the areas identified as being of heightened ecological significance cover a large total area, this is the aggregate area used over all seasons throughout the year. The area used at any one time is lower due to the strong seasonal pattern in the annual migratory cycles of fish, birds and mammals.