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EBSA workshop for the NW Atlantic

The Northwest Atlantic Regional EBSA Workshop took place at the CBD offices in Montreal, 24-28 March 2014, hosted by the Government of Canada. The Workshop agreed descriptions for 7 EBSAs including seamount complexes, shoals, bank features, hydrothermal vents, seabird hotspots / Important Bird Areas and a unique deep-water oceanographic feature of ecological significance. Information was also discussed for canyon features, migratory corridors, and an oceanographic transition zone associated with the Gulf Stream, but for these features it was concluded that insufficient information was available to support any additional EBSA description. Discussions to agree the Workshop boundary were influenced by the interface with previous Regional EBSA Workshops to the north, east and south. A rationale was agreed to include consideration of an area within the scope of the Arctic Regional Workshop, but which had not been fully taken into account; seamount complexes within the delimitation of the previously agreed Sargasso Sea EBSA to the south, and a subset of hydrothermal vents not considered by the Southeast Atlantic Workshop. The Workshop only considered Area Beyond National Jurisdiction. The Workshop was informed by the ongoing national EBSA process within Canada; by benthic work to define Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs) undertaken by the North Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO); by a US bloom analysis at the scale of the whole North Atlantic; and by an assessment of available cetacean and bird information by WDS and Birdlife. A full report from the Workshop will be issued in due course.

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