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Energy, Climate change, Environment

EMODnet services underpin science-based, data-driven Maritime Spatial Planning and Marine Protected Area networks

27 Mar 2024

The user organisation

The " MSP4BIO project"  Improved Science-Based Maritime Spatial Planning to Safeguard and Restore Biodiversity in a coherent European MPA network) is a Horizon Europe project involving 17 partners across Europe running from August 2022 to July 2025. MSP4BIO develops and demonstrates the ways in which knowledge-based, data-driven Marine Spatial Planning becomes a vehicle and a tool for the protection and recovery of marine ecosystems, thereby supporting the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030, the Convention on Biological Diversity Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, as well as the EU Green Deal. It engages MSP planners and MPA managers to develop an integrated flexible socio-ecological management and validate its concrete applicability in 6 pilot sites in 5 European Sea Basins. MSP4BIO’s final output will be an integrated and modular Ecological-Socio-Economic (ESE) management framework for the protection and restoration of marine ecosystems, within its more general objectives of promoting sustainable blue growth and integrating maritime policies. The ESE looks at the compatibility between maritime/coastal uses and protection measures.

Challenges faced by the user

MSP4BIO’s ESE management framework, and MSP in general, requires a huge amount of data on a wide variety of topics, including marine ecology, physics, socio-economics, anthropogenic impacts, and climate. Relevant data are scattered across different data sources, are not always openly accessible, and often do not exist, making data-driven MSP an especially complex task. EMODnet, as a major provider of European- and sea basin-scale data, has therefore been invaluable to the project. At the start of the project, MSP4BIO assessed the availability of the data required by the six test sites and created a compilation of relevant data. Data availability was found to vary greatly, and in many cases, especially in the data-poor test sites, EMODnet provided the only available data. EMODnet has therefore reduced the number of data gaps encountered by the project. To build the ESE management framework, MSP4BIO is currently using data from nearly all of EMODnet’s thematic lots across the project’s six test sites, in addition to data from other sources such as national data infrastructures and Copernicus. MSP4BIO’s data compilation, which includes many EMODnet data products, can be browsed at "" 

EMODnet services used

Europe-wide layers such as bathymetrical, physical, and chemical data, have provided useful background knowledge for the ESE management framework. Test site-specific interactions with stakeholders have extensively used EMODnet data products, such as habitat maps from EMODnet Seabed Habitats and spatial data on anthropogenic activities from EMODnet Human Activities, to collect data on trade-off scenarios. This will help optimise the ESE framework and improve the designation, implementation, and management of Marine Protected Areas.

Impact of EMODnet

As a “one-stop shop” for European marine data, EMODnet has increased the efficiency of MSP4BIO. Effective MSP requires a huge variety of data with different thematic, spatial, and temporal coverages, much of which EMODnet is able to provide. Many MSP4BIO partners see EMODnet as the go-to data provider for marine researchers, planners, and managers.