Broad-scale predictive habitat maps for over 2 million square kilometres of European sea bed was produced in the EuSeaMap-project.
Building on the highly successful INTERREG IIIB-funded MESH and BALANCE projects, EUSeaMap aimed at improving and harmonising predictive benthic habitat layers across the Celtic, North and Baltic Seas under the EUNIS classification, as well as undertaking broad-scale mapping of the western Mediterranean for the first time. Among the objectives were:
- revision and analysis of existing broad-scale marine habitat mapping efforts;
- development of a common methodology for broad-scale seabed habitat mapping across Europe;
- introduction of better quality habitat maps and
- demonstration of how the Marine Strategy Framework Directive Annex III requirements can be used in characterising the marine environment.
EUSeaMap consisted of a consortium of seven partners from five countries working to develop data layers and thresholds under the lead of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, JNCC. AquaBiota participated in all parts of the project and has contributed with a fully covering data layer of wave energy (fetch, modelled with SWM) for all coastal areas of the Baltic Sea (see AquaBiota Report 2010:02) and Kattegat. We were also leading the threshold development for the Baltic Sea region and as a part of this we work on a common biotope classification system for the Baltic Sea (see AquaBiota Report 2010:06).
The final report of EUSeaMap: Cameron, A. & Askew, N. (eds.), 2011: EUSeaMap – Preparatory Action for development and assessment of a European broad-scale seabed habitat map final report.
This contract was funded by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, with the primary aim to support the implementation requirements of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), specifically the Initial Assessments which all Member States must undertake in 2012. EUSeaMap is itself an integral part of the EC’s preparatory actions for a European Marine Observation Data Network (EMODnet). Swedish EPA is co-financing the Swedish cooperation in the project.