In order to manage the commercial harvesting of Antarctic marine living resources in accordance with the ‘ecosystem approach’ that is embodied in Article II of the CAMLR Convention, the effects of fishing on harvested species (target species) as well dependent species and associated species need to be taken into account.
Dependent species are those species that feed on the target species or are impacted by the removal of the targets species from the food web. Associated species are typically those that are impacted directly by the action of fishing e.g. through by-catch or incidental mortality.
In order to provide information of the effects of fishing on dependent species, CCAMLR set up the CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Program (CEMP) in 1989. The two aims of CEMP are to:
- detect and record significant changes in critical components of the marine ecosystem within the Convention Area, to serve as a basis for the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources
- distinguish between changes due to harvesting of commercial species and changes due to environmental variability, both physical and biological.
CEMP's major function is to monitor the key life-history parameters of selected dependent species to detect changes in the abundance of harvested species. ‘Dependent species’ are marine predators for which species targeted by commercial fisheries are a major component of their diet. In the case of ‘krill-dependent species’ used in CEMP they include land-based species such as seals and penguins.
Suitable ‘indicator species’ should show measurable responses to changes in the availability of the harvested species, for example in changes in population size, breeding success, body mass and foraging behaviour. The spatial and temporal scales over which different CEMP parameters reflect changes in the status of the ecosystem may be over a few days within a relatively small distance from the breeding site (e.g. foraging trip duration and offspring growth rates) to months (e.g. breeding success) whereas indices of population size reflect a combination of multi-year factors including adult survival/condition and juvenile recruitment.
The indicator-species used in the CEMP program are:
- adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae)
- chinstrap penguin (P. antarctica)
- gentoo penguin (P. papua)
- macaroni penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus)
- black-browed albatross (Thallasarche melanophrys)
- Antarctic petrel (Thalassoica antarctica)
- cape petrel (Daption capense)
- Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella).
Some krill-dependent species, such as crabeater seal (Lobodon carcinophagus), while considered likely to respond to changes in krill availability, have not been used in monitoring because they live in the pack-ice and so are not amenable to repeated/annual monitoring.
In order to ensure comparability between sites and over time, CCAMLR has agreed a set of CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Program Standard Methods (787.42 KB) that include details of how data should be collected, formats for submission of the data to the CCAMLR Secretariat and procedures for data analysis.
Submitting monitoring data
Any monitoring data collected according to the CEMP standard methods can be submitted to the Secretariat using the appropriate CEMP form for inclusion in the CEMP database.
For data from a site where CEMP data have not previously been collected it is necessary to provide details of the location of the site as well as a map detailing the actual location of the colonies/areas where the data were collected to allow the Secretariat to assign a unique site- code. Once a site from which CEMP data has an agreed unique site code it is considered a ‘CEMP site’.
Where data on CEMP parameters, such as population size or breeding success, have been collected by methods other than those described in the CEMP standard methods, it may still be possible to submit these data as part of CEMP. To do this would require a detailed description of the methods used in order that CCAMLR can evaluate how comparable the methods and results are to the existing approaches.
Evaluating new methods used as part of CEMP is an important part of CCAMLR’s work, especially as the standard methods were developed during the 1980’s and there is a need to allow CEMP to benefit from new techniques and technologies (such as fixed remote cameras and satellite imagery for counting penguins). Any new methods for collecting data for CEMP would be expected to be presented to WG-EMM for review.
Protecting CEMP sites
In response to concerns that activities at some CEMP sites may interfere with the collection of important monitoring data, CCAMLR introduced a Conservation Measure in 1990 to provide protection to CEMP sites. This was originally conservation measure 18/IX, which has since become Conservation Measure 91-01.
In 1991 the first site to be afforded protection (Conservation Measure 91-03) was Seal Island, however, collection of CEMP data at this site ceased in 1994 (due to a landslide at the monitoring site) and protection under this Conservation Measure lapsed in 2007.
The second site to be afforded protection was Cape Shirreff (Conservation Measure 91-02 adopted in 1994). In 2000 the Commission agreed that, as this site was also afforded protection as part of ASPA 149, there was no need for duplication of regulation by CCAMLR and the ATCM and protection underConservation Measure 91-02 lapsed.
There are currently no sites afforded protection under Conservation Measure 91-01, however, 7 of the 13 currently active CEMP monitoring sites south of 60oS are within ASPAs or ASMAs and are therefore given additional protection through that mechanism.
Agnew, D.J. 1997. The CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Programme. Antarctic Science, 9 (3): 235–242.
Constable, A.J., W.K. de la Mare, D.J. Agnew, I. Everson and D. Miller. 2000. Managing fisheries to conserve the Antarctic marine ecosystem: practical implementation of the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). ICES Journal of Marine Science, 57: 778–791.
Reid, K., J.P. Croxall, D.R. Briggs, and E.J. Murphy. 2005. Antarctic ecosystem monitoring: quantifying the response of ecosystem indicators to variability in Antarctic krill. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 62:366–373.