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Step 2

Development and implementation of monitoring programmes

MSFD requirements

By 2014, EU countries are required to develop and implement monitoring programmes for the “ongoing assessment of the environmental status of their marine waters”. Monitoring programmes must consider transboundary impacts and features, and be compatible with others already in place, including those under other EU legislation (e.g. Natura 2000). Countries must cooperate to ensure programmes are consistent across borders.

Implementation in the Celtic Sea project area

Monitoring programmes are being developed by the UK, Ireland and France for their waters. Initial work suggests that this will involve extending or modifying existing programmes. The primary focus of MSFD monitoring programmes is environmental. However, there is growing interest in a more integrated approach to monitoring that includes other parameters (e.g. related to the performance and impacts of measures).

Monitoring needs coordination at the sub-regional scale, particularly for transboundary issues (e.g. marine pollution and noise, habitat loss and fisheries sustainability). OSPAR is developing a framework by 2013 to coordinate monitoring programmes within sub-regions.

How stakeholders could be affected by this step

Monitoring provides stakeholders (and governments) with an indication of progress towards objectives and targets, and provides a basis for subsequent evaluation and adaptation of measures (Step 5).

The scope of monitoring affects stakeholders. Monitoring of parameters other than those related to environmental status would potentially require a higher degree of participation from stakeholders.

Marine monitoring is expensive and labour intensive, and requires specific expertise. Stakeholders could support monitoring, for example through involvement in research or leasing vessels for survey work. There is growing interest in the role of stakeholders in monitoring, but also recognition of the need for a robust and scientifically sound evidence base. Stakeholder participation in monitoring fosters greater trust and greater support for subsequent changes in measures.

There is a need for monitoring to be coordinated. When operating in the Celtic Sea we come across a wide range of different users from different countries, so it is very important that we can operate together in a fair way.” (Fisheries sector)

How stakeholders can influence this step

Case study 2: Monitoring of marine mammals in the oil and gas sector

The Broadhaven Bay gas project is one of the most significant engineering projects ever undertaken in Ireland. As part of the planning for the development, Enterprise Energy Ireland Ltd (now part of Shell) commissioned a marine mammal monitoring programme in the Broadhaven Bay area. The area is important for marine mammals and other species, and is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the EU Habitats Directive. The monitoring programme, led by the Coastal and Marine Research Centre since 2008, has built up a valuable dataset on abundance, population and behaviour of marine mammals in the area.

The monitoring programme and mitigation measures (which include having marine mammal observers on board construction vessels and a code of conduct within the SAC) have helped the developer to meet the terms of the required development consents. The data has also contributed to the understanding of these key marine species and helped the state authorities cost-effectively meet their commitments under national and international law (e.g. for determining the distribution of protected species in the SAC).

Further information: http://cmrc.ucc.ie (see publications / reports)

Stakeholders can add value by participating in the step in a range of ways, for example:

  • Providing views and ideas on monitoring programme design, e.g. parameters, methodology, data collection, data analysis and quality assurance.
  • Providing/helping to validate monitoring data, including from commercial activities e.g. fisheries catch/effort data, baseline research and EIAs (see case study 2).
  • Identifying where data collection can usefully be carried out on platforms other than research vessels (e.g. oil/gas platforms, wind farms, buoys, fishing vessels and other commercial traffic) and collaborating on joint data collection.
  • Conducting aspects of monitoring themselves (see case study 3).
  • Formally reviewing and commenting on proposed monitoring programmes, and on monitoring data and its interpretation on an ongoing basis.

Case study 3: Fishing for Litter

Fishing for Litter (FFL) aims to reduce marine litter by involving one of the key stakeholders, the fishing industry. Fishing boats are given free bags to collect any marine debris they catch during fishing operations and are provided with free disposal facilities in port. As well as removing litter from the water, the scheme helps raise awareness of the problem of marine litter and the need for better waste management. Litter is weighed and, where possible, composition recorded, providing data that may be useful in subsequent policy development and management.

One of the original FFL schemes was set up in the Netherlands in 2000 by KIMO International (an association of local government authorities) and has been replicated since in the UK and beyond. Fishing for Litter South West (UK) launched in 2009 and now operates in six ports in Cornwall and Devon, with around 110 vessels taking part. More ports are expected to join shortly. In the first year of the current scheme (2011–2014), around 16 tonnes of litter was landed.

Similar projects are running in Ireland and Scotland, and there is considerable potential to expand this initiative in the Celtic Sea and elsewhere. KIMO International is working with local stakeholders to explore options for FFL in Ireland, France and Spain. In 2010, OSPAR recommended all member states promote and develop FFL initiatives.

Further information: www.fishingforlitter.org

PISCES recommendations

Stakeholders should...

  • Participate in the design, development and implementation of monitoring programmes.
  • Find mutually beneficial opportunities to participate in government monitoring programmes: add value by being involved rather than consulted.
  • Assist in monitoring the effectiveness of measures and impacts of activities.
  • Seek and support coordinated monitoring for the Celtic Seas sub-region to link countries and ensure a coherent and joined-up approach.

Governments should...

  • Involve stakeholders throughout the process, to build support, save public resources and meet targets.
  • Identify opportunities for direct stakeholder assistance in monitoring, e.g. training vessel owners to monitor environmental conditions.
  • Monitor the effectiveness of measures and impacts of activities, as well as the environmental condition of the seas.
  • Instigate initiatives and projects to support sub-regional cooperation on monitoring, involving stakeholders.

Crab fishing boat