VME Tools

The FAO International Guidelines for the Management of Deep-sea Fisheries in the High Seas provide recommendations or guidance for the identification of VMEs, and list potentially vulnerable species groups, communities and habitats. Moreover, they specifically recommend the development of identification guides for use by non-specialist technical staff at sea to assist in the rapid and efficient classification of VME taxa, which can often be confused and difficult to identify. In this direction, FAO and RFMO/As have developed tools for the identification of VMEs and taxonomic guides essential for the reliable identification of VME indicators by observers. The following list includes these tools.

General

Broyer, C. de. & Koubbi, P. (eds). 2014. The Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Oceans. SCAR. 

FAO 2016. Marine species biological data collection manual. An illustrated manual for collecting biological data at sea.  

CCAMLR. 2011. Scientific Observers Manual.

[English, French, Russian and Spanish]

 

VME Identification guides

FAO. 2017. Poster: Deep-Sea Sponges of the Mediterranean Sea.

FAO. 2017. Poster: Deep-Sea Corals of the Mediterranean Sea.

FAO. 2016. Poster: Deep–Sea Sponges of the Indian Ocean

Anosov, S.E. 2012. Illustrated Guide of Decapoda for Atlantic Sector of Antarctica and Surrounding Waters. VINRO, Moscow.

[Russian and English]

Best, M., Kenchington, E., MacIsaac, K., Wareham, V. E., Fuller, S. D. & Thompson, A, B. 2010. Sponge Identification Guide NAFO Area. Scientific Council Studies, 43. 50pp. 

CCAMLR. 2009. VME Taxa Classification Guide. 4pp. 

CCAMLR  VME Registry. webpage access. 

Hibbert, Ty. & Moore, K. 2009. Field identification guide to Heard Island and McDonald Islands benthic invertebrates: a guide for scientific observers aboard fishing vessels. Australian Antarctic Division and Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (Australia). 153pp. 

Kenchington, E., Best, M., Cogswell, A., MacIsaac, K., Murillo-Perez, F. J., MacDonald, B., Wareham, V., Fuller, S. D., Jørgensbye,  H. I. Ø. , Sklya, V., & Thompson, A. B. 2009. Coral Identification Guide NAFO Area. Scientific Council Studies, 42. 35pp. 

SEAFO. 2009. Identification Guide for corals and sponges for use by sea-going observers in the SEAFO Convention Area. IEO, Vigo. 

Tracey D.M., Parker, S.J., Mackay, E., Anderson, O. & Ramm, K. 2008. Classification guide for potentially vulnerable invertebrate taxa in the SPRFMO Area. New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries, Wellington, New Zealand. 

Tracey, D.M., Anderson, O.F., Clark, M.R. & Oliver, M.D. (Comps.). 2011. A guide to common deepsea invertebrates in New Zealand waters. New Zealand Aquatic Environment and Biodiversity Report No. 1. 160pp. 

     

Kenchington, E., L. Beazley, F. J. Murillo, G. Tompkins MacDonald, E. Baker. 2015. Coral, Sponge, and Other Vulnerable Marine Ecosystem Indicator Identification Guide, NAFO Area. NAFO Sci. Coun. Studies, 47: 1–74. doi:10.2960/S.v47.m1

Identification materials for other species

Ebert, D.A. 2016. Deep–sea cartilaginous fishes of the southeastern Pacific Ocean. FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 10. Rome, FAO. 241 pp.  

Ebert, D.A. 2016. Deep–sea cartilaginous fishes of the Southeastern Atlantic Ocean. FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery No. 9. Rome, FAO. 251 pp.  

Ebert, D.A. 2014. Deep–sea Cartilaginous Fishes of the Indian Ocean. Volume 2. Batoids and Chimaeras. FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 8, Vol. 2. Rome, FAO. 129 pp.  

Ebert, D.A. y Mostarda, E. 2016. Guía para la identificación de peces cartilaginosos de aguas profundas del Océano Pacífico Sudoriental. Programa FishFinder, FAO, Roma, Italia.  

Ebert, D.A. y Mostarda, E. 2016. Identification guide to the deep–sea cartilaginous fishes of the Southeastern Pacific Ocean. FishFinder Programme, FAO, Rome, Italy.  

FAO 2015. Identification guide to the deep–sea cartilaginous fishes of the Southeastern Atlantic Ocean. FishFinder Programme, by Ebert, D.A. and Mostarda, E., Rome, Italy. 

CCAMLR. (undated). Fish the Sea not the Sky.  

[English, French, Russian, and Spanish]

Ebert, D. A. 2013. Deep–sea Cartilaginous Fishes of the Indian Ocean. Volume 1. Sharks. FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 8, Vol. 1. Rome, FAO. 256pp. 

Ebert, D. A. & Stehmann, M. F. W. 2013. Sharks, batoids, and chimaeras of the North Atlantic. FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 7. Rome, FAO. 523pp. 

Ebert, D.A. & Mostarda, E. 2013. Identification guide to the deep–sea cartilaginous fishes of the Indian Ocean. FishFinder Programme, FAO, Rome. 76pp.

SEAFO. 2009. Sea turtle identification. Scientific Committee. 31 – 33pp. 

 

Scientific methods to identify and protect VMEs

SponGES project outputs

Beazley, L. et al. 2018. Predicted distribution of the glass sponge Vazella pourtalesi on the Scotian Shelf and its persistence in the face of climatic variability. PLoS ONE 13(10): e0205505. doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0205505

Hawkes, N. et al. 2018. Glass sponge grounds on the Scotian Shelf and their associated biodiversity. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 614:91-109. doi: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12903

Thompson, T. & Fuller, S. Technical measures and environmental risk assessments for deep-sea sponge conservation. FAO, Rome http://www.fao.org/3/ca8871en/CA8871EN.pdf

Kenchington, E. et al. 2019. Connectivity modelling of areas closed to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems in the northwest Atlantic. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 143. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr.2018.11.007

Kenchington, E., Callery, O., Davidson, F., Grehan, A., Morato, T., Appiott, J., Davis, A. et al. 2019. Use of Species Distribution Modeling in the Deep Sea. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3296. doi: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2583828

Morato, T. et al. 2018. A Multi Criteria Assessment Method for Identifying Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems in the North-East Atlantic. Front. Mar. Sci. 5:460. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2018.00460

Morato, T., González-Irusta, J.-M., Dominguez-Carrió, C., Wei, C.-L., Davies, A., Sweetman, A. K., et al.2020. Climate‐induced changes in the suitable habitat of cold‐water corals and commercially important deep‐sea fishes in the North Atlantic. Global Change Biology, 26(4), 2181–2202. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14996

Murillo, F.J., Kenchington, E., Koen-Alonso, M., Gijarro, J., Kenchington, T.J., Sacau, M., Beazley, L. & Rapp, H.T. 2020 Mapping benthic ecological diversity and interactions with bottom-contact fishing on the Flemish Cap (northwest Atlantic) Ecological Indicators. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2020.106135

Ottaviani, D. 2020. Economic valuation of ecosystem services provided by deep-sea sponges. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular No. 1217. Rome. FAO. https://doi.org/10.4060/cb2331en

Pham, C.K., Murillo, F.J., Lirette, C. et al. 2019. Removal of deep-sea sponges by bottom trawling in the Flemish Cap area: conservation, ecology and economic assessment. Sci. Rep. 9, 15843. doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-52250-1

Ramiro-Sánchez, B. et al. 2019. Characterization and Mapping of a Deep-Sea Sponge Ground on the Tropic Seamount (Northeast Tropical Atlantic): Implications for Spatial Management in the High Seas. Front. Mar. Sci. 6:278. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2019.00278

Wudrick, A., Beazley, L., Culwick, T., Goodwin, C, Cárdenas, P., Xavier, J. & Kenchington, E. 2020. A Pictorial Guide to the Epibenthic Megafauna of Orphan Knoll (northwest Atlantic) Identified from In Situ Benthic Video Footage. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3375. https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/40871757.pdf

Download the coordinates of measures (as shapefiles)

VME closed areas

Bottom fishing areas

Other access regulated areas

CCAMLR
GFCM
NAFO
NEAFC
NPFC
SEAFO
SIOFA

NAFO
NEAFC
NPFC
SEAFO
SPRFMO

CCAMLR
GFCM
NAFO
NEAFC
NPFC
SEAFO
SIOFA
SPRFMO

Download VME Database summaries (as Excel)

CCAMLR
GFCM
NAFO
NEAFC
NPFC
SEAFO
SIOFA
SPRFMO