ATCM 39/XP019 discusses the work of SC-CAMLR on climate change. It notes that the effects of climate change also includes the effects of ocean acidification. Articles II and IX provide the impetus for work in the Scientific Committee on the effects of climate change, in order to provide, in a timely manner, the ‘best scientific evidence available’ on three issues
- Risks of climate change threatening the conservation of species, changing the vulnerability of species and/or foodwebs to the effects of fishing, or increasing the risk of invasive marine species in the CCAMLR area;
- Status of AMLR and the Antarctic marine ecosystem relative to the Reference State and whether actions may be required to conserve AMLR because the Reference State had changed;
- Requirements for adapting harvest strategies in the future so as fishing does not increase the risk of failing to conserve AMLR in the long term.
The state of knowledge on impacts of climate change on Southern Ocean ecosystems was summarised. It was noted that climate change has been appearing regularly in discussions in SC-CAMLR since 2002 and came on to the agenda of SC-CAMLR in 2008. A constant theme since then has been to develop a risk assessment framework for identifying when climate change impacts may need attention from the Commission, along with developing a ‘state of environment’ report. Most work in SC-CAMLR has been within the Working Group on Ecosystem Monitoring and Management (WG-EMM). In this regard, WG-EMM has focussed on the effects of climate change on Antarctic krill and its habitats, along with a proposal to manage ocean areas adjacent to the Antarctica Peninsula uncovered by ice shelf collapse. It was also noted that SC-CAMLR does not yet have an explicit strategy and timetable of work for (i) assessing climate change impacts on AMLR or (ii) providing advice to the Commission on how to deal with climate change. Nevertheless, many Members have engaged with developing approaches to address climate change impacts when developing strategies on at least three current issues in SC-CAMLR: (i) the design of krill feedback management strategies to accommodate the potential for changing ecosystem state in the absence of fishing, (ii) proposals for representative marine protected areas incorporate considerations of adaptation of the system to climate change as well as having reference areas for measuring climate change impacts, (iii) the development of food web and ecosystem models for evaluating management and conservation strategies. The paper describes how the work of the IMBER-SCAR program Integrated Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics of the Southern Ocean (ICED) and the SCAR-SCOR Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS) can help both CCAMLR and CEP address the effects of climate change on their interests. They are complementary programs working on, respectively, (i) assessments and modelling of change in Southern Ocean ecosystems (an ICED conference is to be held in 2018) and (ii) the design and implementation of observing systems and the integration and facilitation of access to the observational data. Resolution 30/XXVIII (2009) encourages Members to become engaged in these two programs. The resolution refers to ICED and the Southern Ocean Sentinel, the latter of which has had its aims incorporated into both ICED and SOOS. SC-CAMLR and CEP would benefit from working with these two bodies to develop the capabilities necessary to deliver the advice on the three climate change issues of importance to them.