What is KnowSeas?
The Knowledge-based Sustainable Management for Europe's Seas (KnowSeas) project is supported by the European Commission under the Environment (including climate change) Theme of the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. The 4 year project started in April 2009, has 32 partners from 15 countries and is coordinated by the Scottish Association for Marine Science.
KnowSeas Third Scientific Workshop delegates at the House of the Estates, Helsinki, December 2011
A two-sided and a general article about the project are available to download.
Europe’s four regional seas (Baltic, Black, Mediterranean and NE Atlantic) have suffered severe environmental degradation due to human pressure. Existing measures to manage pressures have proven inadequate and the EU Member States have recently responded by adopting a new policy (Blue Book for Maritime Policy) and environmental legislation (Marine Strategy Framework Directive). These instruments rely on the Ecosystem Approach, a management paradigm that encompasses humans and the supporting ecosystem. But the science base for this approach needs strengthening and practical tools must be developed and tested for policy implementation. In particular, criteria for assessing costs and benefits of management actions are poorly developed in the complex marine environment where multiple uses and management conflicts are common. There is a strong need for a “joined up” systems approach between natural and social science that delivers the knowledge base to support management for sustainable seas.
Europe's Regional Seas, EEZs and Drainage Basins (click to view in Google Earth then zoom in for partner information)
The overall objective of the project is to provide a comprehensive scientific knowledge base and practical guidance for the application of the Ecosystem Approach to the sustainable development of Europe’s regional seas. This will increase the evidence base available for decision makers and facilitate the practical implementation of the Ecosystem Approach, currently seen by some stakeholders as confusing and nebulous. It will be delivered through a series of specific sub-objectives that lead to a scientifically based suite of tools to assist policy makers and regulators with the practical application of the Ecosystem Approach. It is also expected to deliver high quality scientific outputs that advance our understanding of coupled social and ecological systems.
Ecology, Economics, Governance and Policy
The KnowSeas consortium brings together key natural and social scientists with unique experience of the marine environment. The project team has developed a new approach of Decision Space Analysis to investigate mismatches of scale between human drivers and the consequences to the marine environment. KnowSeas will work at the two geographical scales envisaged for new EU policy: the Regional Sea Scale and Member State Economic Exclusive Zones (EEZs). Core teams examining and modeling the causes and consequences of ecosystem change, costs and benefits, and institutional and social aspects, will interact with cross cutting case studies in the regional seas in order to develop a systems approach. Knowledge created through the earlier FP6 European Lifestyles and Marine Ecosystems project (ELME) will be augmented with necessary new studies of climate effects, fisheries and maritime industries. New research will examine and model economic and social impacts of changes to ecosystem goods and services and costs and benefits of various management options available through existing and proposed policy instruments. Institutional and social analysis will determine conflicts of interest and examine governance as well as stakeholder values an perceptions. Our research will be participatory, engaging with stakeholders through Regional Liaison Groups and a multisectoral Project Advisory Board.