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Title: Yes, We Can! Large-Scale Integrative Assessment of European Regional Seas, Using Open Access Databases
Authors: Borja, Angel; Mike Garmendia, Joxe; Menchaca, Iratxe; Uriarte, Ainhize; Sagarminaga, Yolanda
Abstract: Substantial progress has been made in assessing marine health in an integrative way. However, managers are still reluctant in undertaking such assessments, because: (i) lack of indicators; (ii) absence of targets; (iii) difficulty of aggregating indicators from different ecosystem components, habitats, and areas; (iv) absence of criteria on the number of indicators to be used; (v) discussion on the use of ``one-out, all-out�� (OOAO) principle in aggregating; and (vi) lack of traceability when integrating data. Our objective was, using open access databases with indicators across all the European seas with agreed targets, to demonstrate if the Nested Environmental status Assessment Tool (NEAT), can be used at the European scale, serving to managers and policy-makers as a tool to assess the environmental status under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). We have used MSFD Descriptor D3 (commercial fish) from 341 stocks, 119 species and two indicators from each of them (years 2013-2015); D5 (eutrophication) with 90th percentile of Chlorophyll-a (years 2009-2014); and D8 (contaminants), with Anthracene, Fluoranthene, Naphthalene, Cadmium, Nickel, and Lead as indicators (years 2009-2013). We have calculated the environmental status for each European subdivision, subregion, and regional sea, nested at different levels. The analyses include weighting and no-weighting by each assessment area; for ecosystem component (water column, phytoplankton, fish, crustaceans, and molluscs); descriptor (three), and habitat (pelagic, demersal/benthic), with the confidence value of the status. A sensitivity analysis was undertaken to determine a minimum number of indicators to include for a robust assessment. We demonstrated that using NEAT in assessing the status of large marine areas, by aggregating indicators, ecosystem components and descriptors, at different spatial scales, can remove at least four out of the six barriers that managers and policy-makers confront when undertaking such assessments. This can be done by using open-access databases and already established targets. Aggregating indicators of different origin is possible. Around 40 indicators seem to be enough to obtain robust assessments. It is better to integrate the assessment items using an ecosystem-based approach, rather than using the OOAO principle. Using NEAT, this approach supports identifying the problematic environmental issues needing management attention and measures.
Keywords: ecosystem-based approach; Marine Strategy Framework Directive; NEAT; aggregation methods; one-out; all-out; large scale assessment; SEDIMENT QUALITY GUIDELINES; ENVIRONMENTAL STATUS; ECOLOGICAL STATUS; FRAMEWORK; INDICATORS; BIODIVERSITY; WATERS; AGGREGATION; CHLOROPHYLL; MATTERS
Issue Date: 2019
Type: Article
DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00019
E-ISSN: 2296-7745
Funder: AZTI
Basque Water Agency (URA)
project MEDCIS: Support Mediterranean MSs toward Coherent and Coordinated Implementation of the second phase of the MSFD
European Commission, DG EnvironmentEuropean Commission Joint Research Centre [11.0661/2016/748067/SUB/ENV.C2]
Appears in Publication types:Artículos científicos

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