The authors present to the Working Group on Ecosystem Monitoring and Management (WG EMM) the scientific background and justification for the development of a marine protected area (MPA) in the Weddell Sea planning area. In accordance with the recommendations by WG-EMM-14 (SC-CAMLR-XXIII, Annex 6), this was done in three separate documents (Part A-C). WG-EMM-16/01 (Part A) sets out the general context of the establishment of CCAMLR-MPAs and provides the background information on the Weddell Sea MPA (WSMPA) planning area; WG-EMM-16/02 (Part B) informs on the data retrieval process and WG-EMM-16/03 (Part C) describes the methods and the results of the scientific analyses as well as the development of the objectives and finally of the borders for the WSMPA.
Earlier versions of Parts A-C were already presented at the meetings of EMM and SC-CAMLR in 2015. The Scientific Committee did recognise that the body of science of the background documents (SC-CAMLR-XXXIV/BG/15, BG/16, BG/17) provides the necessary foundation for developing a WSMPA proposal (SC-CAMLR-XXXIV, § 5.11).
Here, the authors present the final version of Part A to WG EMM. Part A has undergone final editorial corrections in the 2015/16 intersessional period and contains (i) a synopsis in terms of the establishment of MPAs (chapter 1); (ii) a description of the boundaries of the WSMPA planning area (chapter 2); (iii) a comprehensive, yet succinct, general description of the Weddell Sea ecosystem (chapter 3); (iv) and finally a guidance regarding the future work beyond the development of the scientific basis for the evaluation of a WSMPA (chapter 4).