The expected increases in the number and type of impacts on the ecosystem put a premium on more extensive monitoring in the future. New monitoring methodology and technology should be developed and implemented to fill the spatial and temporal gaps in current knowledge and on-going monitoring efforts. However, many ecosystem components will still depend on traditional surveys for necessary data collection for many years. During such surveys there is a strong need to capture information simultaneously from as many ecosystem components as possible to enable integrated and cost effective sampling.
Developing a joint Russian-Norwegian monitoring program
Developing a joint Russian-Norwegian monitoring program for the Barents Sea would be a useful measure for achieving this. Also, much of the knowledge we have today is due to the foresight of scientists that started regular long-term monitoring programs several decades ago, at a time when their usefulness in addressing current challenges from climatic change, ocean acidification and other emerging issues were unknown. Maintenance of our long-term time series should clearly remain a priority, and new technology and new programmes should be introduced to complement and expand current activities.
Strong need for aggregating environmental knowledge
In addition, there is a strong need for aggregating the knowledge from observations and scientific progress in different fields. Therefore regular status reports, like this one, are essential to expose important issues and changes in the ecosystem to decision makers, as well as providing a tool for information-sharing among scientist in different fields. This sort of status report should be incorporated, as a standard product, into the pathway towards a bi-national ecosystem-based management system.