A working session hosted by ICES and entitled 'Science input to the implementation of EU directives' at the Baltic Maritime Spatial Planning Forum in the Latvian capital Riga, 17-18 June, saw several ICES experts engage an audience on topics from Maritime Spatial Planning opportunities for ICES advice to data storage.
Just as the two-day conference accommodated 200 practitioners, researchers, stakeholders, and decision-makers in the field, Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) is process that sees the bringing together of multiple human users of the ocean in a bid to identify and reduce conflicts to sustain the ecosystem. It's important to ICES both in its own right and as a key component of the ecosystem approach to management of human activities at sea.
After ICES First Vice President Cornelius Hammer had set the tone to over 40 workshop attendees with an overview on what ICES has to offer in terms of MSP, Advisory Programme Professional Officer Anne Cooper made a presentation which focused on ICES infrastructural capacity to support MSP initiatives through spatial data, which is freely and openly accessible. Her talk also emphasized the role MSP plays in the building of a scientific foundation for a more multi-layered approach to advice and advancing ecosystem-based management of the ocean.
Professional Projects Coordinator Wojciech Wawrzynski then gave an overview of lessons learnt from the enactment of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) in light of ICES being able to provide input to the EU's MSP Directive. The directive – endorsed by the European Parliament and to be adopted by the Council in July – aims at establishing a pan-European framework for management of maritime activities at sea and management of coastal zones; it is related to other European policy areas such as Blue Growth, the long-term plan for sectorial prosperity, the Common Fisheries Policy, and Integrated Coastal Management.
Other input was provided by the ICES Working Group for Marine Spatial Planning and Coastal Zone Management (WGMPCZM), through which relevant work and research is facilitated, and by Periklis Panagiotidis of ICES Data Centre on available data products and services.
Maritime Spatial Planning in the Baltic; © WWF Germany