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In 2008, the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted scientific criteria for identifying ecologically or biologically significant marine areas in need of protection on the open oceans and deep seas.

While much scientific discovery lies ahead, available information and current and emerging methodologies already allow us to begin identifying oceanic features that are likely of particular ecological or biological importance.

GOBI Brochure

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The seven criteria for identifying ecologically and biologically significant areas (EBSAs) are:

  • Rare: Uniqueness or rarity
  • Life History: Special importance for life history of species
  • Endangered: Importance for threatened, endangered or declining species and/or habitats
  • Fragile: Vulnerability, fragility, sensitivity, slow recovery (fragile)
  • Productive: Biological productivity
  • Diverse: Biological diversity
  • Natural: Naturalness

A component of the effort is the creation of practical illustrations to increase our understanding of how the seven scientific criteria can be applied. The examples consider species, habitats and recurrent oceanographic features using a variety of techniques ranging from field surveys and satellite tracking, to sophisticated modeling and range prediction.

These illustrations are not meant as proposals for specific management measures. They are presented as examples of various scientific methods and techniques relevant to each criterion.

Hold your mouse over the criteria images to display some of these practical illustrations. The column to the right of the map will take you to the detailed illustration.