Work Package 5 - Identify and assess sectoral pressures on the marine environment

Partner responsible - Fundación AZTI – AZTI Fundazioa
The importance of marine resources for economic development has come to the forefront with the focus on the Blue Growth agenda. Most of the reports on Blue Growth have focused on the job and value added creation potential of the maritime sectors. This growth depends on healthy marine ecosystems. Following the implementation of the MSFD, EU member states started to assess the environmental status of their marine waters. The goal of the MSFD is to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) of EU marine waters.

The MSFD provides descriptors, associated criteria and indicators that include biological, physico-chemical and pressure indicators to interpret what GES means. However, and as highlighted by the European Environment Agency following the initial assessments under the MSFD, more effort is needed to improve understanding of the linkages between marine economic activities and their pressures and impacts on marine waters.

The aim of this work package is therefore to define a set of activity-specific pressure indicators and, where appropriate, identify cross-sectoral pressures that, in addition to the state indicators, can be used to implement a sustainable management regime. Developing a common set of pressure indicators that can be used in the whole Atlantic Arc area requires coherence, coordination and cooperation, in order to provide an inter-regional comparative analysis of the environmental impact of the blue economy across the Atlantic area. AZTI will coordinate the research within this WP. Currently there are no homogeneous pressure indicators available that combine the multi-sectorial and supranational elements of blue growth in a meaningful way. The production of such indicators is only possible under the framework of a common international project such as MOSES. The developed indicators should be adaptable by other Member States in other regional seas as well.
WP5 Actions and Outputs

Action #
Description of Action

Action 1:
Develop method to assess the maritime sectors’ pressures on the marine environment
Action 1 determines the potential contribution of marine related activities (pressures) to changes in the marine environment. A literature review of pressure assessment models will be carried out and an interdisciplinary methodology will be proposed to assess the pressures generated by maritime sectors on the marine environment in the Atlantic Area. Information from Member State Initial Assessments under the MSFD will also be used to generate a matrix of pressures by sectors and region.

Action 2:
Identify and collect the missing pressure data
This action will cross-check the output from action 1 and data available from WP4, data available from Member State assessments under the MSFD and mapping exercises under the EU MAES project in order to establish a dataset that contributes to assessing the maritime sectors’ pressures on the marine environment. The analysis will provide support for the continued implementation of the MSFD and the achievement of blue growth across marine sectors by identifying the pressure-impact pathways.


Action 3:
Identification of best sectorial management practices that minimize pressures and regional gaps
This action will use the information generated in action 1 and 2 to analyse the pressures from different marine activities and determine how the pressures vary in sectors across the different regions of the Atlantic Arc. This will allow us to identify best sectorial management practices and regional gaps. The results will be applied to the development of heat maps in WP6 and provide policy feedback through the case studies of WP 7, marine sustainability toolkit of WP 8 and capitalization of WP 3