This paper is a published book chapter examining how goals and reference points might be set for higher trophic levels – such as marine mammals, birds and fish. It briefly explores the general characteristics of objectives for higher trophic levels within the context of ecosystem-based management, noting that the emphasis for managing the effects of human activities on higher trophic levels is biased towards fisheries-based approaches rather than approaches that take into account the maintenance of ecosystem structure and function. Following this, the precautionary approach developed in the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) for taking account of higher trophic levels in setting catch limits for target prey species is described. The last section considers indicators of the status of predators with respect to establishing target and limit/threshold reference points that can be used directly for making decisions. These indicators include univariate indices summarising many multivariate parameters from predators, known as composite standardized indices, as well as an index of predator productivity directly related to lower trophic species affected by human activities.
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