Southern Ocean marine ecosystems are highly vulnerable to climate-driven change, the impacts of which must be factored into conservation and management. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) is aware of the urgent need to develop climate-responsive options within its ecosystem approach to management. However, limited capacity as well as political differences have meant that little progress has been made. Strengthening scientific information flow to inform CCAMLR’s decision-making on climate change may help to remove some of these barriers. On this basis, this study encourages the utilisation of outputs from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC’s 2019 Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) constitutes the most rigorous and up-todate assessment of how oceans and the cryosphere are changing, how they are projected to change, and the consequences of those changes, together with a range of response options. To assist CCAMLR to focus on what is most useful from this extensive global report, SROCC findings that have specific relevance to the management of Southern Ocean ecosystems are extracted and summarised here. These findings are translated into recommendations to CCAMLR, emphasising the need to reduce and manage the risks that climate change presents to harvested species and the wider ecosystem of which they are part. Improved linkages between IPCC, CCAMLR and other relevant bodies may help overcome existing impediments to progress, enabling climate change to become fully integrated into CCAMLR’s policy and decision-making.
CCAMLR is encouraged to continue working towards including climate change considerations in developing its management procedures, and to accelerate the pace of this work to ensure that management is responsive to the effects of change, thereby reducing the risks of additional negative ecosystem impacts. To enhance the scientific foundation for decision-making with specific relevance to climate change, it is recommended that CCAMLR:
1. Assesses the risks climate change presents to its objectives using available information sources:
• Improves mechanisms to coordinate and undertake targeted activities in support of identifying and integrating relevant scientific research outputs on climate change into the work of the Scientific Committee and its Working Groups. • Invites contributions from external experts to ensure access to additional relevant expertise as appropriate. • Further develops mechanisms to ensure that CCAMLR is well informed about climate change research, particularly as the UN IPCC process continues to develop relevant outputs, including AR6 and all subsequent reports. This could involve the establishment of a standing Working Group on Climate Change that reports directly to the Scientific Committee. • Encourages input by its Members to the IPCC process as authors and reviewers, as well as through contributions to the published literature.
2. Identifies the most important risks and aims to understand, reduce and manage these risks:
• Encourages research focused on the continued conservation of Southern Ocean ecosystems in a changing climate by facilitating relevant data collection and responding appropriately to relevant findings. • Actively engages with SCAR, SOOS, ICED and other relevant bodies to develop priorities for scientific research. • Actively engages with organisations or others that manage vessels or assets that might increase opportunities for collection of relevant information, e.g., International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and Association of Responsible Krill harvesting companies (ARK). • Actively engages with diverse stakeholders to facilitate knowledge-exchange and consider stakeholder values in decision-making processes related to climate change and ecosystem based management.
3. Ensures timely responses to information about these risks, including what action will be taken:
• Develops a work programme with the specific aim of ensuring that the management of all CCAMLR managed fisheries incorporates planning and adaptation pathways that include short-, medium- and longer-term actions to minimise climate change impacts on harvested species and the ecosystem.