One of today’s most pressing challenges is the maintenance, conservation and restoration of ecosystem biodiversity and functioning, while simultaneously allowing for the exploitation of ecosystems by people who depend on their services, goods and benefits. Climate change makes it even more difficult to predict and manage the complicated trade-offs between sustainability and multiple, sometimes antagonistic, exploitation goals. Maritime spatial planning (MSP) aims to allow for the joint protection and use of the sea, and continues to mature across European Seas. It is the main integrated marine governance and management process aiming to balance sustainability and exploitation objectives, but despite this, it does not yet have a clear capacity or set of widely accepted methods to help achieve EU and global environmental policies. In particular, although there is a plethora of statutory instruments, such as EU Directives, and management bodies, many European MSP and marine protected area (MPA) designation processes are currently uncoordinated.
To remedy these deficiencies, the overall goal of MarinePlan is to develop and apply a Decision Support System (DSS) for ecosystem-based maritime spatial planning (EB-MSP) together with best practice guidance to enhance the design and effectiveness of spatial conservation and restoration measures for marine biodiversity in European Seas.
The above stated main goal will be achieved through four specific objectives for the European seas:
- Co-develop with stakeholders the conceptual elements of the DSS (guidelines and tools) and derive best practice guidance for EB-MSP implementation.
- Develop quantitative metrics to operationalise ecological or biological significance and their application at various spatiotemporal scales
- Implement and apply the DSS based on objectives 1 and 2, its guidelines, metrics and tools at Planning Sites representing the diversity of European marine areas.
- Provide recommendations and improvements in relation to the shortcomings, impediments to and opportunities of prevailing governance processes to enhance the implementation of EB- MSP.
Beneficiaries and end-users
MarinePlan will ensure the uptake of the DSS by end-users (national decision makers and societal stakeholders) as we will co-develop the DSS (guidelines and tools) and best practice for its application together with Planning Site stakeholders. Its legacy will ensure effective policymaking to support the implementation of the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 and the Convention on Biological Diversity post-2020 in European Seas as well as enabling streamlined planning processes for marine industries. Hence, MarinePlan stakeholders and beneficiaries comprise pan-European and national policy makers, national planning and conservation authorities, industry representatives (offshore renewables, fisheries, tourism, etc), NGOs, regional seas conventions (e.g. OSPAR, HELCOM, SPA/RAC), regional advisory bodies (e.g. ICES, GFCM) and academia.
JOHANN HEINRICH VON THUENEN-INSTITUT, BUNDESFORSCHUNGSINSTITUT FUER LAENDLICHE RAEUME, WALD UND FISCHEREI (Germany), MARINE INSTITUTE (Ireland), PANEPISTIMIO AIGAIOU (Greece), AZTI (Spain), ECOPATH INTERNATIONAL INITIATIVE ASOCIACION (Spain), UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI NAPOLI FEDERICO II (Italy), INSTITUT ROYAL DES SCIENCES NATURELLES DE BELGIQUE (Belgium), AGENCIA ESTATAL CONSEJO SUPERIOR DE INVESTIGACIONES CIENTIFICAS (Spain), IMAR – INSTITUTO DO MAR (Portugal), THE QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY OF BELFAST (United Kingdom), INTERNATIONAL ESTUARINE & COASTAL SPECIALISTS LTD (United Kingdom), STAZIONE ZOOLOGICA ANTON DOHRN (Italy), UNIVERSITAET HAMBURG (Germany), HELMHOLTZ-ZENTRUM HEREON GMBH (Germany), DANMARKS TEKNISKE UNIVERSITET (Denmark), COMMONWEALTH SCIENTIFIC AND INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH ORGANISATION (Australia), STICHTING WAGENINGEN RESEARCH (Netherlands), FISHERIES AND OCEANS CANADA (Canada)
2022 – 2025