EMODnet Seabed Habitats data crucial in assessing the extent of physical damage to benthic habitats in the North-East Atlantic

EMODnet Seabed Habitats data allowed the mapping of potential disturbance to benthic habitats due to fishing in the north-east Atlantic. The assessment was part of the wider OSPAR Intermediate Assessment 2017 , which evaluates the status of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic. The assessment contributes to delivery of both the OSPAR North-East Atlantic Environment Strategy (The OSPAR Strategy) and the European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive .

The authors assessed physical damage by using habitat distribution maps at EUNIS Level 3, combined with maps of fishing pressures and information on habitat sensitivities to fishing. The majority of the habitat data used in this assessment are derived from the EMODnet Seabed Habitats portal, including EMODnet broad-scale seabed habitat map (EUSeaMap) and more detailed habitat maps from survey. Furthermore, the confidence maps provided with EMODnet Seabed Habitats maps were used to calculate confidence in the predictions of physical disturbance. The EMODnet Seabed Habitats portal provided a one-stop shop for finding and downloading these data, saving the authors time and effort on data collection.

More information on the methods and results can be found on the OSPAR Assessment portal.