Using a systematic conservation planning approach to enhance the marine spatial planning process in EuropeInternal


Activity Overview

Type: Other
Start Date: April 18, 2016
End Date: April 22, 2016
Venue: VAC Virginie Loveling, Ghent (Belgium)
Contact: Ellen Pecceu
E-mail: ellen.pecceu [at]
Funding Call: EuroMarine 2015 Call for Proposals
Decision Body: EuroMarine Steering Committee
Total Budget: €6,220
Funds Granted: €4,000

Manager(s): Kris Hostens, Ellen Pecceu

Decision support tools which map human uses and nature conservation can assist in overcoming spatial planning problems in an integrated management way. Moving to a co-ordinated management approach to coastal and maritime areas ensures an efficient use of marine resources. Eight participants will meet at the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO) to address this area.

Participants will test the usefulness of the decision support tool Marxan to underpin and enhance the Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) process in Europe. The objectives will be to compare the results and lessons learnt from applying Marxan to different spatial planning problems in different case studies, and to evaluate and guide the application of Marxan at European scale in support of conservation when implementing the MSFD. The Marxan output can help determine the choices of policy makers for sustainable management and protection of the marine ecosystem.

The main outcome will be a paper synthesising the main findings of the workshop. This will address the main challenges encountered across EU Member States and Associated Countries to implement MSP at local and regional levels, and whether Systematic Conservation Planning, in particular the decision support tool Marxan, can help to overcome these challenges. The outcomes will be useful for the local and European MSP process and for decision makers. This project will also contribute to up-to-date data, databases and useful GIS layers across participating organisations, which is in line with the need to manage maritime space stated in European legislation, as well as potentially contributing to the ADRIPLAN and DEVOTES projects.

The core of this workshop was the use and evaluation of Marxan within the marine spatial (and conservation) planning process in (at least) five of the above mentioned European case studies. The five case studies were: the Bay of Biscay (Spain), the Skagerrak (Norway), the Strait of Sicily (Italy), the Ionian Sea (Greece) and the Belgian Part of the North Sea (Belgium). An overview of all the different case study runs were presented in the first days. Problems which arose were discussed in group and solved as much as possible.

After discussing the specific case study issues, the next steps for the project were discussed in plenary.The outcome will be a comparison paper, synthesizing the main findings of the separate case studies. By September almost all the case studies finished the work in the individual case studies. The paper is underway.

Some of the work has already been presented on scientific conferences (Ibon Galparsoro. Application of a systematic conservation planning approach in the Basque Country. Poster. Anthropogenic effects; quality assessment and ecosystem management session. ISOBAY 15, 22-24 June, Bilbao)(Ellen Pecceu. Using a systematic conservation planning approach to enhance the marine spatial planning process in Europe. Oral presentation 7-10 November, North Sea Conference, Ostend Belgium). Once the publication is drafted more events will follow.



  • (Oct 2017): The comparison paper is still under development. The work has been presented at the conferences mentioned in the outcome section above.