Policy Makers

Crucially, our products have: supported the development of EU policies protecting the marine environment, informed state's achievements against policy obligations, fed into governmental assessments and been utilised in marine spatial planning - see video for some highlights.

Click on the collapsible headings below to read examples:

  • Marine Protected Areas network evaluations - the western Mediterranean Sea case study

    Outcomes: Spatial analysis of habitat coverage within the North-West Mediterranean MPA network highlighted that various bathyal and abyssal designations did not meet their respective 2015 targets, set by the EU Habitats Directive.

     

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Having mapping data readily available for download, users could save time and resources on collecting the information themselves, and begin conducting their analysis at a much earlier stage.

    Who used it:

    ISPRAItalian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research

    EEA – European Environment Agency

     

    When was it used: 2017

    What product was used: EMODnet broad-scale habitat maps for the entire Western Mediterranean Sea

    How was the product used: Combining the EU MPA network datasets with the downloaded EMODnet broad-scale habitat maps allowed users to analyse coverage over time, and compare this against EU and International targets.

     

    Read more here

  • OSPAR Intermediate Assessments: Evaluating the ecological status of the marine environment in the North East Atlantic

    Outcomes: Users identified the main areas where disturbance from bottom-contact fishing was predicted to cause the most significant impact to benthic marine habitats. This work fed directly into the OSPAR Intermediate Assessment (2017) with future implications towards the Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessments.

     How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: As well as saving time and resources on data collection, the supply of confidence maps enabled users to provide more detailed and transparent predictions to their deliverables. 

    Spatial distribution of aggregated disturbance from bottom-contact fishing using the 2010–2015 data series across OSPAR sub-regions (from OSPAR Assessment portal)

    Who used it:

    OSPAR Oslo/Paris Convention (for the protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic)

    When was it used: 2017

    What product was used: Habitat maps from survey in the North East Atlantic, EMODnet broad-scale habitat maps (EUSeaMap 2016) and EUSeMap 2016 confidence map

    How was the product used: EMODnet Seabed Habitatmaps were used in conjunction with the user’s data on fishing pressures and habitat sensitivity to produce an overall disturbance map of the North East Atlantic.

     

    Read more in the OSPAR Assessment portal

  • Supporting implementation of transboundary Maritime Spatial Planning in the Celtic Sea

    Outcomes: Authors identified EMODNet’s broad-scale habitat maps as the best data source to represent marine benthic marine habitats in the Celtic Sea, with potential to support the implementation of a Maritime Spatial plan, as part of EU Directive 2014/89/EU.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Data are easily accessible and in a standardised format (INSPIRE compliant) which would allow for any transboundary or transnational implementation.

    Who used it:

    SIMCeltSupporting Implementation for Maritime Spatial Planning in the Celtic Seas

    When was it used: 2017

    What product was used: EUSeaMap2 (2016) Broad-Scale Predictive Habitat Map

    How was the product used: Users compiled an inventory of available datasets that could be readily used for a proposed Maritime Spatial Plan in the Celtic Sea, as part of a two-year €1.8 million project.

     

    Read more here

  • HELCOM ‘State of the Baltic Sea’ report: potential cumulative impacts on the Baltic Sea

    Outcomes: EUSeaMap and other habitat maps were used in the assessment of cumulative pressures and impacts by several human activities in the Baltic Sea during the years 2011-2016. In particular the results informed the latest HELCOM holistic assessment of the ecosystem health of the Baltic Sea (“State of the Baltic Sea report”, HELCOM 2018a).

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: EUSeaMap was a key data source for defining ecosystem components in the Baltic Sea to compute:

    • Pressure Index, giving information on areas where the greatest pressure from human activities are likely to occur; and
    • the Baltic Sea Impact Index showing the distribution of potential cumulative effects from these pressures

    Who used it:

    NIVA DenmarkWater Research

    SKYEFinnish Environment Institute

    When was it used: 2018

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2016

    How was the product used:  Habitat shapefiles were merged, recategorized and used as an input to spatially depict cumulative impact stressors in Baltic Waters.

     

    Read more here

  • European IUCN Red Listed Marine Habitats

    Outcomes: Contributing parties were able to evaluate and quantify the level of threat to marine benthic habitats across four regional seas of Europe, identifying specific EUNIS habitats at greatest risk.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Collated data were available in the EUNIS classification system allowing a transboundary evaluation to be made.  

    EC European Commission

    When was it used: 2016

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2012 and Habitat Maps from Survey

    How was the product used: Benthic datasets classified to EUNIS level 4 (or higher where available) were assessed against 5 Red List criterion per regional sea. Criteria included:

    • Habitat reduction
    • Geographic restriction
    • Reduction in abiotic quality
    • Reduction in biotic quality
    • Overall probability of collapse

    Read more here

  • Ecological coherence assessments of Marine Protected Areas network in the Baltic

    Outcomes: The assessment indicated that although the target of 10% MPA coverage in the Baltic was met, further development is needed to achieve ecological coherence across the MPAs network. This was the first quantitative integrated approach for assessing ecological coherence in HELCOM MPAs network. It proved to be a straightforward and transparent method and is recommended to be used in future HELCOM MPA assessments.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Data was freely available and covered the whole of the Baltic (including Kattegat)

    Who used it:

    HELCOMBaltic Marine Environment Protection Commission

    When was it used: 2016

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2016

    How was the product used:  Broad-scale habitats were translated into thirty landscape categories using light, substrate and salinity within the Baltic – and used as a proxy for diversity.

     

    Read more here

  • Mapping potential cumulative impacts of multiple anthropogenic stressors in Danish marine waters

    Outcomes: Results showed an impaired status for the Danish marine environment and, therefore, a greater need for co-ordination and harmonization to implement the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Water Framework Directive.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: EUSeaMap was a key data source for defining benthic habitats in Danish waters

    Who used it:

    NIVA DenmarkWater Research

    When was it used: 2017

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2016

    How was the product used:  Habitat shapefiles were merged, recategorized and used as an input to spatially depict cumulative impact stressors in Danish marine waters.

     

    Read more here.

  • Mapping habitats and biotopes to strengthen the information base of Marine Protected Areas in Scottish waters

    Outcomes: Authors were able to generate seabed habitat maps for locations coinciding with Scottish Marine Protected Area (MPA) proposals with full coverage acoustic datasets. These maps contributed to the evidence base for the presence and extent of MPA conservation features underpinning the selection of MPA proposals in Scotland’s seas.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Acoustic datasets were ground-truthed or verified with existing physical variables from EUSeaMap, such as biological zone, seabed energy levels and light attenuation models.

    Who used it:

    JNCC - Joint Nature Conservation Committee Envision Mapping Ltd

    When was it used: 2013 and 2014

    What product was used: UKSeaMap and EUSeaMap 2012

    How was the product used: The data was processed using a top-down/rule based approach based on the methods developed by MESH, UKSeaMap and EUSeaMap, using updated seabed substrate information provided by the British Geological Society and bathymetric and wave base data. A bottom-up approach was also investigated using point sample data and bathymetry and backscatter data sets and took an object-based approach supplemented by supervised classification and categorisation.

     

    Read more here and here

  • Predictive mapping to support inshore wintering waterfowl and pSPA designation in Scotland

    Outcomes: Authors were able to create predictive mapping relating to the supporting seabed habitats for inshore wintering waterfowl (IWW) in Scotland. The results identified the location and extent of some prey species and habitats that support the inshore wintering waterfowl, and these will, in turn, inform the management of proposed marine Special Protection Areas (pSPA).

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: A wide range of data regarding marine habitats and marine taxa was available with extensive predictive habitat data. These data were geographically extracted for pSPA areas and queried to show the location of prey species and habitats within several pSPAs. It was then possible to compare these with other data sets such as point sample data and bathymetry data sets.

    Who used it:

    SNH - Scottish Natural Heritage Envision Mapping Ltd

    When was it used: 2018

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2016

    How was the product used: The data was reviewed and compared to the principal prey species and associated habitats/biotopes for each waterfowl species which are considered as proposed features within each pSPA. The marine habitats data and point records for marine taxa, along with bathymetry data sets, were used to create maps displaying indicative foraging areas and records of principle prey species and habitats.

  • Mapping the distribution of marine ecosystem service capacity across European seas

    Outcomes: The production of maps illustrating a potential distribution of the capacity of the European waters to provide ecosystem services.  The maps highlight continental shelves and oceanic elevations as potential hotspots, where higher numbers of services could be held.  This information is of value to policy makers at European or Member State level seeking spatially-explicit ecosystem service information
    for marine spatial planning and environmental management.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Publicly available datasets currently provide the best available information for mapping and assessing marine habitats in European waters.  

    Who used it:

    JRC - Joint Research Centre (European Commission)

    When was it used: 2016

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2016

    How was the product used: Geospatial data on the distribution of subtidal seabed habitats were combined with information on the capacity of these habitats to provide ecosystem services.  Using this information, a total of 30 common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (ICES) categories were mapped. From this information, area-based indicators of ecosystem service capacity (i.e. the extent where each service is potentially provided) were extracted for various sub-regions, and used to identify potential hotspots.

     

    Read more here

  • Contributing to the debate on the decommissioning of offshore infrastructure

    Outcomes:  The authors have been able to contribute to the ongoing discussion regarding the legislation surrounding the decommissioning of offshore Oil and Gas (O&G) platforms and Offshore Windfarms (OWFs), with a particular focus on the potential ecological impacts of the current "complete removal" requirements.  It was identified that in certain areas the complete removal of structures could conflict with environmental policies relating to the goal of protection and restoration of reefs and hard substrate habitats and species within the region.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Benthic habitat data were publicly available across the North Sea study area.  

    Who used it:

    University of Technology Sydney

    Eco-Effective Strategies

    When was it used: 2019

    What product was used: EMODnet Seabed Habitats

    How was the product used: Data on benthic habitats across the North Sea were categorised according to substrate type and compared to the locations of offshore O&G and OWF installations within the study area.  This information was used to identify locations in which offshore installations provide unique hard substrate habitat in otherwise soft substrate areas, leading to the discussion of the potential ecological impacts of removing these unique habitat locations.  

     

    Read more here

  • MESH Project (2004-2008) Case Study Library
    One of the 2004-2008 INTERREG-funded MESH project's key aims was to illustrating the value of having good spatial habitat maps for sustainable marine resource planning and development. So case studies were brought together to demonstrate: 
    • good spatial planning / decision making where good habitat data was available;
    • bad spatial planning / decision making where inadequate habitat data was available; and,
    • the use of habitat mapping in environmental or conservation management.

    Policy-related case studies collated by the project can be found below:

    Sound of Arisaig - candidate SAC

    Eastern Channel Regional Environmental Assessment and monitoring for aggregates

    Multiple use zoning in UK and Manx waters of the Irish Sea

    Sea fisheries and European marine site, Flamborough Head

    Habitat mapping at different scales as predictors of socio-economic activity - Highland shellfish management

    Marine sand extraction in the Netherlands

    Marine spatial planning pilot - scenario tidal stream energy

    Nested survey design

    Sussex Sea Fisheries management