NORTH SEA – Belgian part of the North Sea
PILOT LEAD PARTNER:
– Since 2014 Belgium has disposed of a legally binding MSP and is currently implementing a second cycle (2020-2026).
– Good database which contains spatially integrated data layers.
– Some biodiversity aspects are not yet fully considered in the prevailing conservation measures.
– Lack of spatial strategy for pelagic biodiversity conservation (habitat mapping, assessment of vulnerability of pelagic ecosystems to local pressures and climate change, etc.).
– Lack of geographical assessment units for pelagic biodiversity needed for monitoring and reporting in the MSFD.
– While BE MSP is TRL 8-9, MPAs management plans integration in MSP is TRL 6-7, the TRL of the tools that take into account the dynamic nature of MPA’s is at TRL2-3.
MSP4BIO OBJECTIVES AND IMPACTS
– Identify possible additional conservation priorities to underpin the set-up and the efficiency of the current network of MPAs also considering climate change scenarios and potential shifts in ecological responses with a focus on the pelagic ecosystem;
– Test and demonstrate applicability and effectiveness of decision support tools, focussing on the consideration of data on the pelagic ecosystem.
– Support a better inclusion of additional biodiversity, climate change and socio-economic aspects in MPA and MSP process and management
– Contribution to the identification of priority areas for protection of pelagic ecosystems and allocation of research effort and a spatial framework for the monitoring, evaluation and reporting of pelagic biodiversity (as required by the MSFD);
– TRL could be improved to 5-6 in the course of the MSP4BIO.
National MPA/MSP responsible authorities – FPS Environment – Marine Environment, technical and scientific bodies – RBINS (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences), monitoring and MSFD reporting, civil society – 4Sea (WWF België, Greenpeace België en Bond Beter Leefmilieu, Natuurpunt), industry, Blauwe Cluster (stakeholders from the blue economy active on the BPNS), regional level – OSPAR.