BSAC report on the MPA Europe stakeholder briefing – Baltic

MPA Europe stakeholder briefing – Baltic

12.07.2023, attended online by the BSAC secretariat

The meeting was a short briefing to present the scientific project.

MPA Europe is one of 3 projects funded by Horizon Europe under the call for projects on MSP and MPA.

The projects starts from the perspective of what the ocean might need. The overall objective is to map the optimal location for MPAs in Europe for a network including as high biodiversity of species, habitats, and ecosystems as possible, and blue carbon stores.

In practice it will Map with optimal locations for protecting biodiversity for all European seas to support transboundary Marine Spatial Planning; Improve the basis for national authorities to include marine areas in climate change mitigation plans and design optimal MPAs including expanding Special Areas of Conservation and increasing levels of protection in existing areas. A further outcome of the project is to maximise the inclusion of species, habitats, and ecosystems within 30% of the area.

The project is divided into Work Package. It will use data from Copernicus observations, EMODNET data, records of species distribution. The project will look at connectivity and climate change’s impact on distribution changes.

It will create a database of carbon stores in the seabed. It will be based on data from scientists from around Europe and will lead to the publication of a peer reviewed paper. Finally, a blue carbon scoring system will allow to support the management of blue carbon.

A mapping atlas of the optimal MPA network will be produced and will be flexible with scenarios to be used by stakeholders by 2025. It is to be used as a tool for Member States and it recognizes that there is human activity at sea that needs to be taken into account when working on marine spatial planning.

The project will also engage with Member States trying to look at case studies.

Stakeholders for the project are divided depending on the area (ATL-NS/Baltic/Med/Black Sea), they include ICES, HELCOM, VASAB, Member States administration doing MSP, MPA scientific projects, WWF.

The stakeholder process of engagement starts now in summer 2023. Stakeholder interested could take part in a sea basin panel providing input and feedback to the output. Online workshops on blue carbon and species data are scheduled in 2024, and in 2025 in person workshop along with an international conference on the topic.

Date Posted: July 12, 2023

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