Working Group 2

Present challenges and limitations in marine conservation

The objective of this WG is to capitalize on the experience of previous European and non-European efforts to address relevant gaps in marine conservation and to identify the most critical actions to significantly improve the protection of the marine biodiversity of the region. The results will be of critical importance considering the need to meet the growing demand for sustainable exploitation of marine resources. The information collected in WG2 will feed into WG1 and WG4 in terms of prioritization of actions and spatial data for conservation planning analyses.

Tasks

  • T2.1 Review of present conservation state and trends in European waters using the outcomes of existing efforts. The analysis will focus on the following criteria: geographical distribution, ecological coherence, habitat representativeness, effective management, data availability. The potential for ecological connections will be investigated aiming to identify the most effective design (in terms of layout/size/spacing/connectivity) of networks of MPAs.
  • T2.2 Fine scale spatial analyses of the distribution and intensity of threats affecting MPAs in European waters capitalizing on the already existing information in selected case studies. This information will be used (1) to identify potential ecological and socio-economic mechanisms that can enhance the resilience of natural systems to multiple stressors, and (2) to predict the outcomes of alternative management scenarios for natural and social-ecological systems exposed to multiple stressors.
  • T2.3 Analysis of synergies and conflicts between conservation and other human uses (e.g. fishery, aquaculture, tourism, energy exploitation, and transport) in selected case studies.
  • T2.4 Incorporating deep sea ecosystems into conservation planning and identification of hot spots of deep-sea biodiversity.

Activities

  1. The participants will be involved in a systematic data collection through former and existing efforts, databases, projects (e.g. Coconet, Perseus) and organizations (e.g. EEA, RAC/SPA).
  2. Guidelines will be provided regarding the needed management actions for a more effective conservation of European marine ecosystems. Such actions are to be decided case by case.
  3. Scientific publications for broad dissemination (national and international), and divulgative papers/brochures for various stakeholders.
  4. Extended summaries of the most relevant reports of WG2 will be published in English and in a selected number of other European languages and disseminated, in order to support the implementation of the approaches and recommendations.

Milestones

  • M2.1 Workshop on the present conservation state and trends in European and contiguous seas and on the analysis of the different protection levels (year 1).
  • M2.2 Workshop of threats affecting MPAs in European and contiguous waters (year 2).
  • M2.3 Workshop on synergies and conflicts between conservation and other human uses (year 3)
  • M2.4 Workshop on the potential of deep sea ecosystems to be included into conservation plans in European and contiguous waters (year 4).

Deliverables

  • D2.1 Review paper: the present conservation state and trends in European and contiguous seas. 
  • D2.2 A paper synthesising ecological and socio-economic mechanisms that can enhance the resilience of natural systems to multiple stressors.
  • D2.3 A paper analysing the synergies and conflicts between conservation and other human uses.
  • D2.4 A paper on methodological approaches to include the conservation of deep-sea ecosystems.