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Implementation Period:

Total cost: € 3 587 828,75
EU contribution: € 3 587 827

About the Project:

The new EU-funded project on Improved transdisciplinary science for effective ecosystem-based maritime spatial planning (MSP) and conservation in European Seas (MarinePlan) has recently started. The 14-17 November 2022 marks the official launch and kick-off meeting for the MarinePlan project in Naples, Italy. The project will be led by the Thuenen Institute of Sea Fisheries from Germany.

The MarinePlan project aims to develop the science base for ecosystem-based MSP and to provide guidance for its practical implementation in European Seas to support the European Green Deal and the Biodiversity Strategy. The project contributes to the EU demand for guidance on integrated planning to safeguard biodiversity loss and ecosystem functioning by developing tools and best practice standards.

The project will run for three years (until September 2025), and it will develop a Decision Support System (DSS) for ecosystem-based maritime spatial planning (EB-MSP) together with a guide on best practices to enhance the effectiveness of spatial conservation and restoration measures for marine biodiversity in European Seas. Tools will be comprised of operational criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSA), enabling the allocation of conservation and restoration areas at various scales in complex sea areas with multiple uses, while including the effects of climate change. This main goal will be achieved through four specific objectives:

#1 Co-develop the conceptual elements of the DSS (guidelines and tools) with stakeholders and derive the best practices for EB-MSP implementation

#2 Develop quantitative metrics to operationalise ecological or biological significance and their application at various spatiotemporal scales

#3 Implement and apply the DSS based on objectives #1 and #2, its guidelines, metrics and tools at Planning Sites representing the diversity of European marine areas

#4 Provide recommendations and improvements in relation to the shortcomings, impediments to and opportunities for prevailing governance processes to enhance the implementation of EB- MSP

The project team consists of 14 project beneficiaries, 3 associated partners and an advisory board.

Beneficiaries include:

Thuenen Institute of Sea Fisheries (Germany)
Marine Institute (Ireland)
University of the Aegean (Greece)
Fundación AZTI (Spain)
Ecopath International Initiative Association (Spain)  
University of Naples (Italy)
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (Belgium)
Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC) (Spain)  
IMAR Insituto do Mar (University of the Azores) (Portugal)
Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn (Italy)
Universität Hamburg (Germany)
Helmholtz-Zentrum HEREON GMBH (Germany)  
National Institute of Aquatic Resources - DTU Aqua (Denmark)
Stichting Wageningen Research (Netherlands)


Associated partners are:

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Canada)
International Estuarine & Coastal Specialists Ltd. (United Kingdom)
The Queen's University of Belfast (United Kingdom)

The project website is accessible here

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme HORIZON-CL6-2021-BIODIV-01-12 under grant agreement No 101059407 and by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under the UK government’s Horizon Europe funding guarantee grant numbers 10038951 & 10050537.