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 1:
Develop method to assess the maritime sectors’ pressures on the marine environment
Develop an instrument that assesses the pressure intensity and cumulative impacts using indices; identifies the spatial, physical and economic scale and frequency of activities as well as the degree of interaction with other activities in the Atlantic area.
Action 2: 
Identify and collect the missing pressure data
A set of data that contributes to assessing the maritime sectors’ pressures on the marine environment. The database will provide an overview of main pressures on different marine ecosystems types.
Action 3:
 Identification of best sectorial management practices that minimize pressures and regional gaps
A policy and strategic instrument that analyses the pressures from different marine activities and determines how the pressures vary in sectors across Atlantic Member States.