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Sponges and their role in the marine environment











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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Scoping study on economic linkages and options for ecosystem valuation of deep-sea living marine resources and habitats in ABNJ 2017
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    The brief provides a summary of the current state of knowledge and further information needs for valuing deep-sea sponge ground ecosystem services. The scoping study was carried out to ascertain what information and data are available on the economic value of ABNJ ecosystem services, and to assess whether (and how) a quantitative/monetary valuation might be possible. Its objective was to document and critically review current knowledge on deep-sea ecosystem-economic linkages, so as to identify n eeds, niches and options for undertaking a study to assess the economic value of ABNJ deep-sea ecosystem services. While the study considered sponges and sponge grounds alongside other deep-sea species and habitats, it did not focus solely on them.
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    What are vulnerable marine ecosystems? 2017
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    The importance of avoiding significant adverse impacts on Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems is highlighted in international fora. Sponges are identified as possible indicator species for the presence of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems. This leaflet provides concice information of what VMEs are, explaining key concepts and definitions, including for Significant Adverse Impacts. It also provides examples of species groups, communities and habitat forming species that may contribute to the forming of VMEs in the North Atlantic.
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    Booklet
    Technical measures and environmental risk assessments for deep-sea sponge conservation 2021
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    SponGES is a research and innovation project funded under the H2020 Blue Growth initiative. It aims at “Improving the preservation and sustainable exploitation of Atlantic marine ecosystems” and at developing an integrated ecosystem-based approach to preserve and sustainably use deep-sea sponge ecosystems of the North Atlantic. Reducing the impacts of deep-sea bottom fishing in the high seas on these ecosystems is an important element of an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management. States and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) have implemented a variety of measures to avoid and mitigate impacts of deep-sea bottom fishing on sponges, and have established methods for ecological risk assessment. Specific information to inform these risk assessments is often lacking but SponGES spurred unprecedented research on deep-sea sponges in the North Atlantic, resulting in improved knowledge and understanding of sponge distribution, ecological function, impacts of human activities and climate change, role in the deep-sea ecosystem, and their potential economic contributions through biotechnological components. This publication serves as a comprehensive review of existing governance mechanisms to protect sponge ecosystem function in the deep sea. It also presents appropriate elements to be included in an ecological risk assessment of anthropogenic stressors and contributes to producing a strategy to incorporate sponge ground functions into management frameworks.

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