Marine Strategy 2012: A Review of Current Practices in Integrated Ecosystem Assessments
From 13 to 15 May 2012 in Copenhagen, Denmark, Aarhus University, supported by DHI and ICES, hosted "Marine Strategy 2012", the first European conference on research and ecosystem-based management strategies in support of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). Susanne Altvater was invited to present the findings of a review of international approaches to the integrated assessment of aquatic ecosystems conducted by Ecologic Institute for the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA). The presentation is available for download.
The overarching aim of the conference was to take stock of progress in the implementation of the MSFD and to consider next steps with regard to the implementation process. Of particular interest was the discussion on how a good environmental status can be achieved in all European seas.
Marine Strategy 2012 presented a mix of key note speakers and invited presentations as well as other oral contributions and poster presentations. The conference started with an overview of the promises and challenges of marine ecosystem-based management, focusing on the MSFD descriptors. The audience participants could then choose between different sessions focusing on different aspects of the MSFD, such as modeling, spatial planning, protected areas or linking multiple indicators and pressures for assessment of good environmental status. The conference ended with key note speeches surrounding the questions "Where are we now? And where are we going?"
Speakers mainly focused on the European situation. However, presentations about non-European approaches were also given, in order to gain insights from an "outside" perspective. Ecologic Institute's review of current practices in integrated ecosystem assessments [pdf, 2 MB, German], with best practice recommendations and three case studies, was presented by Susanne Altvater in this context. The presentation led to a lively discussion about the added value of approaches in the Pudget Sound (USA), the Australian Great Barrier Reef and the Eastern Scotian Shelf in Canada.
Over 150 participants attended the event, including marine scientists, persons and institutions implementing the MSFD in EU Member States as well as senior officials of DG Environment (Marine Environment Unit), the Danish Ministry of the Environment, ICES, UNEP or HELCOM and decision makers.