ICES Annual Science Conference 2023

Theme session O

A region to be managed: The case of the Bay of Biscay and the Iberian Coast under environmental and socio-economic stressors

Tuesday 12 September
10:30–12:00 and 13:00–15:30
Room 0D

​​​​​​​​​The Bay of Biscay (Bob) and the Iberian Coast (IC) ecoregion, which covers the southwestern shelf seas and adjacent deeper eastern Atlantic Ocean waters of the EU, faces some management and governance challenges to be dealt over the coming years to ensure the sustainability and provision of the services offered by this ecosystem. The EU's Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (MSPD) calls on Member States (MS) to promote Blue Growth while maintaining the good environmental status (GES) of maritime areas. However, the governance of this ecoregion is fragmented into different uses - shipping, oil and gas, renewable energies, fisheries, tourism, etc. - which are in many cases managed as separate units. To ensure that human activities are compatible with the conservation of marine ecosystems and inhabiting species a detailed spatial-temporal knowledge of both the marine ecosystem and the human activities is needed. This is especially relevant in the Bay of Biscay and around the Iberian Peninsula, where due to the limited extent of the continental shelf the demand for space for human activities is critical.

This theme session aims to lay the foundations to promote Blue Growth, understanding the environmental status in the Bay of Biscay and Iberian Coast by providing knowledge of the most important pressures and possible impacts linked to the following human activities: fishing, shipping, tourism and recreation, land-based industry, and agriculture. Other pressures to be considered are the introduction of contaminating compounds, the introduction of non-indigenous species, greenhouse gas emissions, noise, and marine litter. All this, in a framework of global change, particularly significant in this region located in the south of Europe where it might cause the regression of cold-water species, the incursion of subtropical species and the rise in sea level.​
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Arantza Murillas (Spain)
María Gómez Ballesteros (Spain)
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Theme session O

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