1 National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark2 Section for Coastal Ecology, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark3 unknown4 Cefas5 Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche6 AZTI-Tecnalia7 Institute of Marine Research8 AquaBiota Water Research9 Wageningen IMARES10 Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences11 Hellenic Centre for Marine Research12 Heriot-Watt University13 University College London14 Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs15 Ghent University16 Polish Academy of Sciences17 Deltares18 Senckenberg Research Institute19 Norwegian Institute for Water Research20 Institute of Marine Research21 Hellenic Centre for Marine Research22 Heriot-Watt University23 Ghent University24 Deltares25 Norwegian Institute for Water Research
This study introduces a framework for the monitoring and evaluation of spatially managed areas (SMAs), which is currently being tested by nine European case studies. The framework provides guidance on the selection, mapping, and assessment of ecosystem components and human pressures, the evaluation of management effectiveness and potential adaptations to management. Moreover, it provides a structured approach with advice on spatially explicit tools for practical tasks like the assessment of cumulative impacts of human pressures or pressure-state relationships. The case studies revealed emerging challenges, such as the lack of operational objectives within SMAs, particularly for transnational cases, data access, and stakeholder involvement. Furthermore, the emerging challenges of integrating the framework assessment using scientific information with a structured governance research analysis based mainly on qualitative information are addressed. The lessons learned will provide a better insight into the full range of methods and approaches required to support the implementation of the ecosystem approach to marine spatial management in Europe and elsewhere.