Technical Documentation, State of the Ecosystem
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Technical Documentation, State of the Ecosystem

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    The purpose of this document is to collate the methods used to access, collect, process, and analyze derived data (“indicators”) used to describe the status and trend of social, economical, ecological, and biological conditions in the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem. These indicators are further synthesized in State of the Ecosystem Reports produced annually by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center for the New England Fisheries Management Council and the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council. The metadata for each indicator (in accordance with the Public Access to Research Results (PARR) directive) and the methods used to construct each indicator are described in the subsequent chapters, with each chapter title corresponding to an indicator or analysis present in State of the Ecosystem Reports. Indicators included in this document were selected to clearly align with management objectives, which is required for integrated ecosystem assessment (Levin et al. 2009), and has been advised many times in the literature (Degnbol and Jarre 2004; Jennings 2005; Rice and Rochet 2005; Link 2005). A difficulty with practical implementation of this in ecosystem reporting can be the lack of clearly specifed ecosystem-level management objectives (although some have been suggested (Murawski 2000)). In our case, considerable effort had already been applied to derive both general goals and operational objectives from both US legislation such as the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act (MSA) and regional sources (DePiper et al. 2017). These objectives are somewhat general and would need refinement together with managers and stakeholders, however, they serve as a useful starting point to structure ecosystem reporting.
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