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Current and future environmental policy needs for the North Sea Richard Moxon Marine Strategy and Evidence team Defra.

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Presentation on theme: "Current and future environmental policy needs for the North Sea Richard Moxon Marine Strategy and Evidence team Defra."— Presentation transcript:

1 Current and future environmental policy needs for the North Sea Richard Moxon Marine Strategy and Evidence team Defra

2 Overview of presentation Brief overview of current policy needs and how we address them Policy needs arising from the Marine Strategy Framework Directive How might EMECO contribute ?

3 UK Government’s Shared Vision Clean, Healthy, Safe, Productive and Biologically Diverse Oceans and Seas. Key policy goals: How can we achieve this vision for UK Seas, and how can we demonstrate we are achieving it ?

4 through applying the ecosystem approach ! this is now a key driver for the protection, use and management of the UK marine UK environment. At heart of global and European marine policy as well. the comprehensive integrated management of human activities based on the best available scientific knowledge about the ecosystem and its dynamics, in order to identify and take action on influences which are critical to the health of marine ecosystems, thereby achieving sustainable use of ecosystem goods and services and maintenance of ecosystem integrity” Main difficulty we have is to change current management practices from a sectoral, short-term perspective with humans independent of ecosystems to ecosystem-based, long-term perspectives where humans are integral to ecosystems.

5 Key principles that underpin our policy of applying the ecosystem approach to the marine environment are: sustainable development – the needs of future generations should not be compromised by the needs of people today; integrated management – looking at the wider picture so that all those who manage or influence the marine environment work together at all levels with a common understanding; conservation of biological diversity – conserving and enhancing biological diversity within the UK and contributing to the conservation of global biodiversity; robust science – understanding the processes and influences that impact on the marine environment and using research to inform policy-making and marine management; the precautionary principle – sensibly erring on the side of caution where the scientific evidence is not conclusive; and stakeholder involvement – involving all stakeholders so that they are an integral part of the decision-making process.

6 To demonstrate whether our seas are clean and safe, we need to do monitoring programmes Metals and organics : in water, sediment and biota Biological effects: e.g. EROD, imposex, fish disease Microbiological contamination : bathing waters and shellfish growing areas Eutrophication: nutrients, chlorophyll, oxygen, nuisance species Radionuclides Oil and chemical spills Litter Noise Need assessment criteria to decide whether status is good and AQC to show results are reliable.

7 Monitoring Programmes to understand ocean processes and establish whether the seas are Healthy and Biologically Diverse circulation, pH, temperature and salinity sedimentary processes, and nature of the seabed benthic habitats the state of the pelagic marine food web (microbes, plankton up to those at the top end such as birds and cetaceans and turtles) AQC and assessment criteria less developed

8 Periodic assessments to demonstrate progress towards our vision

9 To achieve the vision, need to know what the main pressures are and how to reduce them. Recent OSPAR assessment of pressures on the 5 OSPAR regions points to climate change, fishing and habitat damage and loss

10 Actions to control the activities likely to cause harm impact assessments before a marine industry can operate, and licenses to minimise impact national regulations and spatial planning A whole range of EC legislation requires monitoring programmes and measures Water Framework Directive Birds and Habitats Directive PPC Directive Common fisheries policy Marine Strategy Framework Directive Consolidated into a Marine Bill

11 The UK Marine Bill UK’s first comprehensive marine planning system Efficient licensing of activities A Marine Management Organisation Network of marine protected areas Better local fisheries and environmental management Better protection for migratory and freshwater fish EEZ

12 To put in place measures to achieve Good Environmental Status in Europe’s seas by 2020 ‘Good Environmental Status means the environmental status of marine waters where these provide ecologically diverse and dynamic oceans and seas which are clean, healthy and productive within their intrinsic conditions, and the use of the marine environment is at a level that is sustainable, thus safeguarding the potential for uses and activities by current and future generations...’ What does the Directive commit us to?

13 The structure, functions and processes of the constituent marine ecosystems, together with the associated physiographic, geographic, geological and climatic factors, allow those ecosystems to function fully and to maintain their resilience to human-induced environmental change. Marine species and habitats are protected, human-induced decline of biodiversity is prevented and diverse biological components function in balance; hydro-morphological, physical and chemical properties of the ecosystems, including those properties which result from human activities in the area concerned, support the ecosystems as described above. Anthropogenic inputs of substances and energy, including noise, into the marine environment do not cause pollution effects

14 2008202020102012201420152016 Directive transposed Initial assessment of UK seas GES defined, including targets and indicators Monitoring programme established Programme of measures implemented GES achieved for UK seas Summary: Directive’s requirements

15 What are the regional requirements? OSPAR currently reviewing its priorities to ensure it supports the delivery of the Directive “Member States sharing a marine region...shall cooperate to ensure that... the measures required to achieve...this Directive...are coherent and coordinated across the marine region...” UK keen to use the Oslo and Paris Convention (OSPAR) as the forum to deliver all key regional elements of the Directive

16 Monitoring Programme – 2014 Monitoring programme to measure progress toward achieving GES to be set up by 2014 focus for 2014 will be on filling any gaps rather than creating a whole new monitoring programme Standardised methods for monitoring and assessment to be developed across the EU Challenge for EMECO

17 Determination of Good Environmental Status – 2012 11 high level descriptors of GES set out in the Directive Member States to set out how GES will be defined for their marine waters by 2012 Common criteria and standards to underpin GES across the EU to be agreed with Commission and other Member States by 2010. ICES/JRC looking at each descriptor of GES “Concentrations of contaminants are at levels not giving rise to pollution effects” “Populations of all commercially exploited fish and shellfish are within safe biological limits” “Biological diversity is maintained”

18 Regional Coordination aspects Member States need to make every effort to ensure that: (a)assessment methodologies are consistent across the Marine Region or Sub ‑ Region; (e.g. OSPAR CEMP) (a)transboundary impacts and transboundary features are taken into account. (e.g. Modelling ) In OSPAR, considerable experience available (e.g. On the eutrophication modelling work - ICG EMO) Opportunities for EMECO ??

19 DescriptorsNew monitoring: can EMECO help ? (1) Biological diversity is maintained. The quality and occurrence of habitats and the distribution and abundance of species are in line with prevailing physiographic, geographic and climatic conditions Biodiversity-related monitoring at an early stage. More will be needed. (2) Non-indigenous species introduced by human activities are at levels that do not adversely alter the ecosystems More monitoring and research needed. (3) Populations of all commercially exploited fish and shellfish are within safe biological limits, exhibiting a population age and size distribution that is indicative of a healthy stock CFP monitoring need enhancement ? (4) All elements of the marine food webs, to the extent that they are known, occur at normal abundance and diversity and levels capable of ensuring the long-term abundance of the species and the retention of their full reproductive capacity Research needed, and associated criteria and methodological standards required

20 DescriptorsNew monitoring: can EMECO help ? (5) Human-induced eutrophication is minimised, especially adverse effects thereof, such as losses in biodiversity, ecosystem degradation, harmful algal blooms and oxygen deficiency in bottom waters Established monitoring programmes and assessment criteria, but temporal and spatial coverage weak (6) Sea floor integrity is at a level that ensures that the structure and functions of the ecosystems are safeguarded and benthic ecosystems, in particular, are not adversely affected Research and good assessment criteria needed. (7) Permanent alteration of hydrographical conditions does not adversely affect marine ecosystems What does this mean ? (8) Concentrations of contaminants are at levels not giving rise to pollution effects Some established monitoring programmes and some assessment criteria, but temporal and spatial coverage weak

21 DescriptorsNew monitoring: can EMECO help ? (9) Contaminants in fish and other seafood for human consumption do not exceed levels established by Community legislation or other relevant standards Levels established under relevant directives (10) Properties and quantities of marine litter do not cause harm to the coastal and marine environment Knowledge of litter in sea and on seabed is poor. Understanding of harm to biota also poor. Research needed ? (11) Introduction of energy, including underwater noise, is at levels that do not adversely affect the marine environment Understanding of impacts of noise poorly understood. Assessment criteria lacking. Research needed

22 Integrated Assessment of the marine environment Until recently, the focus was on the impacts of individual activities. What policy-makers want to know now, and what the MSFD also requires, is an assessment of how all the various natural and anthropogenic pressures act together to get a better appreciation of the overall status of the marine environment. Charting Progress, the first integrated assessment of UK Seas done in 2005, showed how difficult this is !!

23 Difficulties with making Integrated Assessments: Can EMECO help ?? Lack of monitoring data (plus poor spatial and temporal coverage) e.g. sampling done at hotspots during infrequent cruises Lack of information on pressures and impacts e.g. How much litter is on the sea floor and is it causing harm Difficulty in combining different types of information to estimate overall status (one out all out principle a fallback ??) Lack of scientific knowledge on how ecosystems function and inter-relate

24 New Monitoring Tools to enhance assessments of status Still a heavy reliance on discrete measurements which involve people going out in boats to take samples. These techniques and associated methods frequently built into EC Directives. However, new monitoring tools that can provide continuous information are now becoming better established. e.g. Smart buoys, side-scan radar, satellites, continuous plankton recorder. Models: getting better, particularly when ground-truthed regularly with real data. These new tools can help address the temporal and spatial limitations of traditional monitoring programmes

25 OSPAR Eutrophication assessment of the North East Atlantic. Mainly using traditional monitoring of nutrients, chlorophyll, nuisance species and oxygen concentrations

26 Chlorophyll a, April 2005 (Merged SeaWifs-Modis-Meris image).

27 Chlorophyll a concentration estimated from the MERIS satellite sensor presented as monthly means for (top-right) for March 2008 (centre) right June 2008 and (top-right) October 2008 and (bottom) as 90 percentile for the growing season March-October 2008. Data from European Space Agency and ACRI- ST processed by MUMM for MARCOAST project.


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