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

  • Cumulative impact assessment in the Adriatic-Ionian Sea

    Outcomes:  Researchers were able to produce maps showing the cumulative impacts of human activities across the Adriatic Sea.  Alongside this, the gaps in data availability were analysed and statistical outputs of impact scores for single sea uses and environmental components were generated.  

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: EMODnet Seabed provided the extent of vulnerable seagrass habitat (Posidonia oceanica) in the study area.

    Who used it:

    ADRIPLAN Project

    When was it used: 2015

    What product was used: Essential ocean variables - seagrass extent

    How was the product used: Data on the location and extent of Posidonia habitat were combined with geospatial datasets on human activities (including offshore industries, fisheries, transport and tourism) and environmental components (such as seabed habitats, fish nursery areas and marine species sightings).  Sensitivity scores were determined by associating a pressure generated by human use and the target environmental component, considering the extent, level and recovery time of the impact.  The impacts of pressures were combined to visualise the cumulative impact of pressures across the study area.

     

    Read more here

  • A blue carbon audit of Orkney waters

    Outcomes:  As part of the Scottish Government's objective to be world leaders in adopting evidence-based policies in the mitigation of climate change, an audit of blue carbon resources was undertaken for waters around the Orkney Islands.  A number of biological and sedimentary environments were identified as being key blue carbon stock areas, including maerl beds, kelp forests and seagrass beds.  Knowledge gaps were also identified and suggestions made to prioritise future research, and the audit will go on to inform the Orkney Islands Marine Region: State of the Environment Assessment.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: EUSeaMap 2016 provided both the substrate and biozone data for the study area, from which blue carbon habitats were identified.

    Marine Scotland Science – Marine Scotland Science, Scottish Government

    When was it used: 2020

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2016, both substrate and biozone data

    How was the product used:  Spatial data for each habitat and substrate type were extracted, categorised by blue carbon category and standing stock of carbon estimated for each habitat.  Blue carbon estimates were calculated from contributions of biological material to fixation of carbon (also termed 'production') and contributions of sediments to blue carbon storage.  This allowed for regional-scale estimation of habitat extent, providing an estimate of blue carbon associated with habitats and surface sediments.

                                                                                                      Read more here

  • Spatial Analysis of MPA Networks in European Seas

    Outcomes: The ETC/ICM found Aichi target 11 was met for all European MPAs protecting infralittoral regions, mostly met for MPAs protecting circalittoral and bathyal regions, but were completely missed for MPas protecting abyssal zones.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Provided the only source of evidence for Distribution of broad habitats and biozone distribution at pan European scale.

    Who used it:

    ETC/ICMEuropean Topic Centre on Inland, Coastal and Marine waters 

    When was it used: 2017

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2016

    How was the product used: Using the biological zones within EUSeaMap, the ETC/ICM were able to provide the percent coverage of each European MPA against Aichi target 11. Each statistic could then be summarised by region and sub-region to give a more high-level statistic.

     

    Full report available here

  • A data-driven framework for ecosystem-based Maritime Spatial Planning in Danish marine waters

    Outcomes: Successfully quantifying the overall condition of European seas, authors were able to conceptualise indicator-based spatial tools to apply ecosystem-based approaches to human activities and provide practical solutions to marine governance. The report is considered a contribution to the MSFD Article 20.3 reporting and provides material which can be used to the 8th Environment Action Plan.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Contained habitat data at the resolution and coverage required.

    Who used it:

    EEA -European Environment Agency

    When was it used: 2019

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2016

    How was the product used:Sensitive habitats extracted from EUSeaMap were collectively stacked with other data on species and anthropogenic pressures to provide an index on combined effect assessment (CEA).

     

    Full report available here

  • A Methodology and Tool for Mapping the Risk of Cumulative Effects on Benthic Habitats

    Outcomes: Users were able to apply a demonstrator tool able to map the Risks of Cumulative Effects (RCE) of different pressures, using benthic habitats within France as an example.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Coverage of benthic habitats was sourced for the entire French Exclusive Economic Zone.

    Who used it:

    IFREMER - French research institute for the exploration of the sea

    When was it used: 2020

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2016

    How was the product used:Data on benthic habitats were synthesised, gridded and fed into an equation to calculate the Risk of Cumulative Effects.

     

    Full report available 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

     

  • Assessing Europe's Marine Protected Area networks

    Outcomes: Authors were able to propose methods for assessing representativity across European MPA's, suggesting the use of biozones and benthic habitats within EUSeaMap as a primary data source. Moreover, assessment habitat classes (revised broad habitats) are proposed based on the crosswalk of MSFD broad habitat types with respect to EMODnet Folk 5 substrate and seabed biological zone classes

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: EUSeaMap was most exhaustive spatial dataset available containing benthic broad scale habitat distribution in Europe’s seas.

    Who used it:

    EEA- European Environment Agency

    When was it used: 2017

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2016

    How was the product used: EUSeaMap was displayed alongside regional sea areas to demonstrate the availability of habitat and biozone data in Europe.  

     

    Full report available here