Identify and assess vulnerability of coastal areas/features to sectoral pressures

Partner responsible – Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco

While WP5 focused on the sectoral pressures this WP focuses on the vulnerability of marine ecosystems to such pressures. Most literature on vulnerability indicators related to the marine environment is concerned with risk assessment in ecosystems. In many cases, Relative Risk Models apply (Landis-Wiegers 1997). The WP involves the construction of a synthetic index of vulnerability to be calculated for all NUTS3 Eurostat geographical areas and, by aggregation, for all regions and countries in the European Atlantic Arc. For this, we propose that vectors should be considered related to issues such as marine spills and water quality. External data sources will be used in order to construct primary indicators for the different vectors making up the synthetic index. Information gathered from WP5 and MS information from the first round of the MSFD assessments will also facilitate this process. Up to six NUTS3 rankings and GIS based maps are to be delivered plus one report analyzing the physical vulnerability of coastal areas/features to marine activities where the results obtained are analyzed from different physical, environmental and socio-economic perspectives. The mapping exercise will document vulnerable zones of the Atlantic Area, based on primary indicators and a final index. Metadata will characterize data sources and primary indicators. Compliant with spatial information standards, the maps will allow the visualization of vulnerable zones at different spatial scales. This WP is innovative given that firstly, data on vulnerability of European coastlines have not been collected before in an organized and extensive manner. Secondly, the data will be statistically analysed to produce vulnerability rankings and GIS based maps at the coastal EU NUTS3 regional level. This will permit active collaboration between different local stakeholders and regional authorities in a way that has not been possible before as they that can use the primary indicators and vulnerability index to gauge the relative risks faced by each coastal region and, as a result, better design appropriate policies for their coasts’ protection.

Action #

Description of Action


Action 1:
Data gathering and compilation of indicators

Database of indicators from external sources such as MSFD initial assessments, the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited (ITOPF), the EEA and Eurostat among others. Information from WP5 will also feed into this database.

Action 1 cover

Action 2:
Data processing and construction of synthetic index

NUTS3 rankings on a number of vectors and a final Index. Likely candidates for vectors include marine spills risk, port impacts, protected coastal areas, water quality, etc.

Action 2 cover

Action 3:
Analysis and dissemination of results

Analysis and assessment of the physical vulnerability of coastal areas/features to marine sector activities in with the results will be analysed from different perspectives.

WP6 Cover

Action 4:
Develop heat maps of vulnerability/capacity of Atlantic regions to grow while preserving the marine environment

Map services will comply with ISO, OGC and Inspire rules: access to catalogue, data visualization (using WebGIS interface), mapping, downloading, filtering and extraction will be available through web services (WMS, WFS and WPS protocols).