CORDIS - Forschungsergebnisse der EU

Monitoring and Evaluation of Spatially Managed Areas (MESMA)

Final Report Summary - MESMA (Monitoring and Evaluation of Spatially Managed Areas (MESMA))

Executive Summary:
MESMA (2009-2013) has produced guidance and tools to support the implementation of marine spatial planning in Europe’s seas and beyond. In essence, MESMA developed a framework that aims to monitor and evaluate spatially managed marine areas. That is, in areas where there is a spatial management plan in place or under development, this method allows you to analyse the effectiveness of it, and come up with recommendations.
The MESMA framework -published in Marine Policy- provides guidance on the selection, mapping, and assessment of ecosystem components and human pressures, using a natural science approach (quantitative). It also addresses the evaluation of management effectiveness and potential adaptations to management. Moreover, it provides advice on the use of spatially explicit tools for practical tasks like the assessment of cumulative impacts of human pressures or pressure-state relationships. Governance is directly linked to the framework through a governance analysis, using a social science approach (qualitative), that can be performed in parallel and feeds into the different steps of the framework. The framework was tested by applying it to 9 different MESMA case studies that represent 6 EU marine regions, and a range of national and international aspects of marine spatial planning. In addition, a collection of tools and geodatasets was made available, that should help to perform the analyses. In the following chapters, you will find more detailed information per subject, including references to the MESMA project reports and scientific articles that resulted from the work done.
The MESMA methods, tools, geodata, case study examples and publications have all been collected in a website dedicated to the MESMA framework:

Project Context and Objectives:
Humans depend on marine ecosystems for important and valuable goods and services, but human use has also altered the marine environment through direct and indirect means. The human activities vary in their intensity of impact on the ecological condition of communities and in their spatial distribution across the seascape. Today no areas of the ocean are completely untouched by human activities and European seas are amongst the most heavily affected environments (Halpern et al., 2008).

Spatial management of regions of the sea involves designating areas for particular allowable uses in both space and time. The premise is that spatial planning can reduce conflict among users of different services through imposing a certain degree of control and the use of specific management interventions, often with an aim to maintain or improve the conservation values or natural resource stocks of the area under consideration and the capacity of marine ecosystems to support products and services valued by society.

In this process the understanding and quantification of the spatial distribution of human pressures is needed in order to be able to evaluate trade-offs (or compatibility) between human uses of the seas and protection of ecosystems and the services they provide. Whereas the European Marine Framework considers marine spatial management inevitable it is not known what actually constitutes best practice and prerequisites for effective marine spatial management are. The MESMA project was tasked to explore these basic questions with a view to develop a set of strategies, guidelines, standardized methods and tools that can assist member states in the effective spatial management of the marine environment.

In order to understand how Spatially Managed Areas (SMA) should be managed, it is important to first of all recognise the various impediments and problems experienced. An important drawback of many management efforts, is that until now, they have targeted a single human pressure or sectoral interest. Cumulative impacts of different types of human activities are much more difficult to quantify and solutions how to address these are poorly developed and not yet internationally agreed upon and accepted.

Another problem concerns the available scientific information. It appears as if the establishment, design and evaluation of SMAs so far is based rather on opportunity than on scientific criteria and ecological information. Spatial management aimed at sustainable use of the marine resources, ecologic development and conservation would gain from spatial data on ecosystems and the relative ecosystem service value of different habitats, and the distribution and intensity of human activities and the overlap of their impacts. For certain regions of the European seas such information is available while for other areas this is lacking or access is difficult. Flexible tools are needed to deal with spatial and temporal scales, reflecting local and regional differences in economic interest, conservation goals and obligations. A first step to harmonize and standardize methods and strategies in Europe in support of marine spatial management was made in the Interreg IIIb project MESH ( that largely focussed on the North Sea region. Other initiatives that followed include the BALANCE ( project for the Baltic Sea and the MAREANO project ( covering Norway’s coastal and marine regions. These efforts have demonstrated the usefullness of a systematic collection of information on the marine environment in terms of habitat quality, presence of particularly important marine habitats and human pressure on them.

Other shortcomings of current spatial management efforts are that monitoring and evaluation often fail to account for the inherent natural variability in time and space, the lack of scientific understanding and disregard to the confounding effects of external forcing (e.g. climate change) on the phenomena of interest. Detecting and predicting the present state and changes in coastal and marine environments in such a situation is intrinsically difficult.

It thus follows that policy makers and management authorities concerned with spatial planning of the marine environment across Europe commonly face a situation in which there is a lack of data; with issues of data discovery and access to be resolved; where the analysis of data sets requires an inordinate length of time (often 5 years or more) and large number of experts; and where scientific understanding continually changes over time. This is further complicated by the need for nationally and internationally accepted indicators of ecosystem condition that are useful to decision makers responsible for public health and well-being and sustaining and restoring healthy marine ecosystems and the resources they support.

Another deficiency of spatial management efforts is the lack of systematic evaluation. The management process of SMA basically follows the various steps of the policy cycle: planning, design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, communication and adoption. An effective management of SMA requires feedback of information to achieve objectives. And in order for this evaluation and monitoring to take place there is an increasing need for standardized, transparent and widely applicable adaptive management tools for SMA as recognized in the case of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) by e.g. the World Conservation Union (IUCN) (Pomeroy et al., 2005), The United Nation Foundation and the World Bank which led to the production of guidebooks for MPA evaluation (Himes, 2007). Within Europe the lack of MPA assessment guidelines has been recognized within the EU projects EMPAFISH ( or PROTECT.

The effectiveness of management is defined as the degree to which management actions are achieving the stated SMA goals (Himes, 2007). To achieve these goals, specific and measurable objectives must be defined in terms of what outcomes are being sought. This in turn requires that well-defined management plans be developed, measures of success be identified and defined in advance, impacts of management actions be monitored and evaluated, and that the results of these activities be fed back into the planning process to revise objectives, plans and outcomes (Pomeroy et al., 2005) , i.e. ‘adaptive management’.

The results from monitoring should be used to adapt management, so that management actions have the intended effects in the long-term. Yet, if SMAs are to be sustainable, almost continuous evaluation and learning is required. Evaluation must address two broad questions: a) what has been accomplished by the SMA and learned from its successes and failures and b) how has the context (e.g. environment, governance) changed since the programme was initiated?

The lack of effective governance is another reason why current spatial management efforts fall short of success. Effective governance is about more than promoting stakeholder participation, as the resource exploitation objectives of the users of an SMA often conflict with strategic biodiversity conservation objectives. Such conflicts lie at the heart of challenges in developing effective networks of SMAs. The development of approaches to address such conflicts must begin with a recognition that effective governance involves a combination of top-down and bottom-up approaches, this being a key element of the IUCN Guidelines on MPAs, but what does this combination mean in practice? Jones and Burgess (2005) consider this question by first recognising that stakeholder participation must be balanced with the ‘controlling’ role of the state, needed to ensure strategic biodiversity objectives are fulfilled, and also by recognising that such objectives raise challenges that go beyond those of sustainable natural resource exploitation. By contrast, much of the previous research on natural resource governance has been premised on the assumption that the state should adopt a neutral facilitator role to promote collective cooperation amongst local users, and has been focused more narrowly on sustainable resource exploitation case studies. This is but one element of governance that needs to be considered. In fact, governance involves achieving a balance in relation to various other elements:
• Top-down approach - bottom-up approach
• Biodiversity conservation objectives - (Sustainable) resource exploitation objectives
• Science-based approach - faith-based approach
• Use of ‘expert’ knowledge - use of local knowledge
• Precautionary approach - pragmatic approach
• Environmental justice - social justice

The MESMA project endeavoured to assess how balanced governance can be achieved by an analysis of the potential of different incentives to address conflicts between top-down and bottom-up priorities. This is a novel approach as most previous studies have either focused on ‘structure’ issues, e.g. how management structures can be matched to ecosystem structures and how certain adaptive management cycles can be used, or on ‘agency’ issues, e.g. how stakeholder participation and empowerment can be maximised. Much of the existing ‘good practice’ guidance on marine governance is based on either structure or agency-focused research. The MESMA approach avoided the ‘structure or agency’ divide by taking a more ‘realist’ approach in assessing how structure and agency approaches can be combined and how incentives can be used to address conflicts between top-down and bottom-up priorities and achieve an appropriate balance between the above elements.

Many facets need to be looked at in detail across European marine waters in order to arrive at a coherent and widely applicable set of guidelines, tools and methodologies for the evaluation and monitoring of Spatially Managed Areas. Therefore an important component of MESMA has been on the compilation and interpretation of different types of information, such as species distribution, seabed habitat distribution and their associated biodiversity data and geological information to assess the relative values of different marine habitats, as well as institutional mechanisms and socio-economic settings taking into account the geographic diversity that exists in European marine waters.

Key in the approach is the development of a generic framework that can be applied to both local and regional scales and that serves as a useful template to evaluate the effectiveness of SMAs, even if they are still on the drawing board. This will be supported by newly developed science-based management tools (concepts, models, criteria, maps and guidelines) for monitoring, evaluation and implementation. These management tools will be developed taking into account the specific requirement of local and national management authorities and policymakers.

Ultimately, MESMA will contribute to the identification of best practices in spatial management aimed at implementing ecosystem-based management and reducing the negative impacts of human activities. It focuses on the preservation of habitat quality to sustain the multi-sectoral anthropogenic activities. MESMA will advance the spatial component of the management of resources in the marine environment.

MESMA furthered evaluation and monitoring of SMAs by:

1. providing an inventory of state-of-the-art spatial management approaches, strategies and processes world-wide for the marine environment, leading to the distillation of key issues, opportunities, threats, gaps, drivers and developments in science and policy.
2. collecting and integrating information concerning the distribution and quality of seabed habitats, the health status of species and ecosystems, geological structures and anthropogenic activities in an integrated geographic information system and knowledge base for both the surface and the subsurface.
3. developing a generic framework for monitoring and evaluation of Spatially Managed Areas (SMAs) which comprises guidelines for:
i) the selection of goals, objectives and indicators of progress,
ii) the monitoring and evaluation, and
iii) the feedback process to deliver an adaptive management of multiple objectives of multiple components, taking into account interactions between ecological, economical and societal factors.
4. demonstrating the applicability of the framework through case studies in which different scenarios and strategic options for spatial management are tested.
5. developing a set of tools that can be used:
(i) in support of an evaluation of the effectiveness of SMA from the perspective of ecosystem-based management and in the context of climate change,
(ii) to reduce or resolve conflict between different users,
(iii) to combine information on and predict the response of indicators such as, but not limited to, the presence of key species, biodiversity, representativeness, degree of fragmentation and connectivity, sediment and water quality against changes in drivers such as (multiple) human uses and geophysical conditions (climate change, geohazards).
6. facilitating a platform for discussion, in order to generate input from all relevant parties (stakeholders) to this process through the establishment of consultative committees, substantiating the analysis and generating support to both the process and the outcome.
7. disseminating the results of the project through stakeholder workshops, (scientific)publications, leaflets and a website.

Project Results:

This report summarizes the main S & T results of the MESMA project (2009-2013). For each work package information is provided on the main products, key findings and lessons learned. Seperately the scientific publications of the project are reported under section 4.2 of this report.

MESMA project set-up 8

MESMA project set-up

Figure 1. The MESMA Framework for the monitoring and evaluation spatially marine managed areas (SMAs) is the central part of the MESMA project. The governance analysis is run in parallel and feeds into the framework. A selection of tools help to perform the analysis and the geoportal stores all datasets used in the case studies. The MESMA case studies served to test the framework. A run through the MESMA framework will result in a set of recommendations for the marine spatial management under study.


1 The MESMA Framework. The MESMA framework is a step-wise approach to the evaluation and monitoring of spatially managed marine areas. The framework -published in Marine Policy- provides guidance on the selection, mapping, and assessment of ecosystem components and human pressures. It also addresses the evaluation of management effectiveness and potential adaptations to management. Moreover, it provides advice on the use of spatially explicit tools for practical tasks like the assessment of cumulative impacts of human pressures or pressure-state relationships.
2 A governance analysis that can be performed in parallel to the Analytical Framework and feeds into the different steps of the framework.
3 MESMA Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). The MESMA SDI consists of a set of interconnected web services and two main components: the Metadata catalogue and the Geoportal. The metadata catalogue is powered by Geonetwork, using the INSPIRE compliant MESMA Metadata Profile (MMP), It contains over 900 metadata records pertaining to datasets that are relevant to the MESMA case studies, and provides a shared vision of the collective data holdings relevant to the MESMA objectives. The MESMA Geoportal is a richly featured web-mapping system that offers three main functions: data discovery (through browsing and search), visualisation, and access (download). Through this users can browse and (in some cases) download geospatial datasets that are classified in accordance with INSPIRE.
4 MESMA tools collection. Over 70 tools that can be used in combination with the MESMA framework have been collected during the MESMA project. Case studies have worked with tools and provided feedback on tool use and an evaluation. The tools can be accessed per framework step, or per category. In addition several tools were either modified or developed as prototypes during the MESMA project.
5 MESMA Case study reports. The MESMA analytical framework and governance analyses were tested in 9 different case studies. The case study reports contain all information collected.
6 MESMA Central Exchange ( is the main access hub which provides structured access and guidance for end-users to navigate all the MESMA web services and associated information, methods and results.
7 Peer reviewed publications on (1) Ecosystem Based Marine Management, (2) on the MESMA framework (analytical framework, governance framework), (3) the results of the application of the framework in MESMA Case studies, (4) on Governance issues, such as the emerging policy landscape for marine spatial planning in Europe, and some others and (4) on newly developed tools (uncertainty analysis).
8 MESMA Final Conference (Lisbon, 2013) in which all MESMA findings were presented and put into the wider context.
9 A network of practitioners via LinkedIn.


The first task in the MESMA project was to compile and analyse existing information on the concepts, objectives and policy frameworks related to the implementation of spatial management areas. This work formed the basis for the development of the MESMA Framework (see next chapter). We identified the relevant policy objectives and parameters linked to the success or failure of the different spatially managed areas (SMA) regimes. We found that practical implementation of ecosystem-based marine spatial management (EB-MSM) faces a number of challenges such as major science and knowledge gaps, constraints in policies and legislation, institutional fragmentation, and difficulties in coupling environmental safety and sustainable use of resources with stakeholder’s needs and expectations.

The relative value of seabed biotopes, evaluated on the basis of goods and services, is an important starting point for the spatial management of marine areas. In MESMA, we compiled different types of European seabed biotopes and their related goods, services, sensitivity issues, and conservation status, the latter referring to management and protection tools which currently apply for these biotopes at European or international level. Many of the assessed biotopes appeared to be quite vulnerable to many human activities and have been facing substantial deterioration, with fishing activities, especially by benthic trawls, and marine pollution constituting the main threats.

• Three scientific articles related to ecosystem based management, monitoring and seabed biotopes:
- Ecosystem-based management: a review of concepts, policies, approaches, and critical issues (Katsanevakis et al. 2011)
- Monitoring marine populations and communities: methods dealing with imperfect detectability (Katsanevakis et al. 2012).
- Assessment of goods and services, vulnerability, and conservation status of European seabed biotopes: a stepping stone towards ecosystem based marine spatial management (Salomidi et al. 2011)
• A Review Document on the Management of Marine Areas with particular regard on Concepts, Objectives, Frameworks and Tools to Implement, Monitor, and Evaluate Spatially Managed Areas (PDF).
• A Catalogue of European seabed biotopes that describes the goods and services of 67 biotopes at EUNIS-4 level (including Black Sea), and 27 sub-biotopes at EUNIS levels 5 and 6 (PDF).

Key findings and lessons learned

• Ecosystem-based marine spatial management (EB-MSM) is a promising multidisciplinary approach to achieve a sustainable use of the marine environment.
• Early stakeholder engagement in the management process, rather than final consultation, is a distinctive feature of EB-MSM.
• Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), Ocean Zoning (OZ), Marine Protected Area (MPA) networks, and
socioeconomic valuation techniques are among the most important tools for Ecosystem-based marine spatial management (EB-MSM).
• Any EB-MSM framework must be flexible and able to incorporate changes.
• Through EB-MSM, the assessment of the impacts of human activities and their spatial reallocation to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives appears to be the only effective way towards sustainable development.


Figure 2. MESMA Framework, consisting of the MESMA Analytical Framework (inner scheme) and
Governance analysis (Stelzenmüller et al. 2012).

The MESMA Framework is the central part of the MESMA project. The framework, which represents the outcome of an iterative process, provides guidance on the selection, mapping and assessment of ecosystem components and human pressures, the evaluation of management effectiveness and potential adaptations to management, in order to monitor and evaluate spatially managed marine areas (SMAs) in a systematic way. The suggested stepwise process is based on existing concepts of adaptive management and considers a number of practical examples. To support the implementation of an ecosystem based marine spatial management approach, the framework considers interactions between ecosystem components, management sectors, institutions and key actors, as well as the cumulative impacts of human activities. The framework was tested by the MESMA case studies and their feedback was used to further refine the protocol.


• MESMA Analytical Framework (Stelzenmüller et al. 2013).
• MESMA Protocol for the Application of the Generic Framework – Paper manual (protocol) and electronic manual or ‘e-manual’ that guide the user through the steps of the framework.

Key findings and lessons learned

• The MESMA framework and its guidance provide systematic and structured scientific guidance on how to monitor and evaluate a spatially managed area (SMA). The tools and methods suggested are directly applicable to SMAs with an overarching marine spatial plan, a partial plan or plan in preparation and SMAs with one or more (often sectoral) management plans and initiatives (but no overarching spatial plan).
• The MESMA framework consists of seven key steps. The steps involve the (1) definition of desired outcomes and management objectives, (2) mapping of relevant ecosystem components and human activities (pressures), (3) identification of performance indicators, (4) monitoring and risk analysis, (5) assessment of findings in relation to objectives, (6) evaluation of current management and (7) recommendations for adaptation.
• Nine case studies tested the protocol and their feedback was subsequently used to refine the protocol based on their experiences.
• Some case studies worked closely to the framework structure, whilst others adapted the framework to suit their individual needs. The framework can, therefore, be used as guidance to a lesser or greater degree depending on the requirements of the user, data and expertise available and desired aim or outcome.
• The most common factors identified as driving the need for this type of assessment are the
European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), Water Framework Directive (WFD), Habitats Directive and/or other regional incentives.
• The MESMA analytical framework is data driven and the robustness of the assessment therefore relies on:
o The quality and quantity of input data;
o Assessor expertise – a number of steps require use of expert judgement for completion (particularly where data are lacking) and this can introduce a degree of subjectivity into the assessment.
• International cooperation is of key importance to tackle cross-boundary issues.
• SMART objectives and indicators are important for the successful monitoring and evaluating of spatially managed marine areas (SMAs).
• Case study researchers testing the MESMA framework reported better management of data and better communication between organisations and stakeholders (with the generation of new links) as a result of undertaking the analysis.
• The framework provides a mechanism to communicate specific findings and recommendations to policy and decision makers.


MESMA’s main aims included the production of a generic framework that can help in the monitoring and evaluation of spatially managed areas (see previous chapter) and the construction of a governance analysis framework (see chapter on work package 6), both to be applied in European Marine Waters. These conceptual tools needed to be tested for their applicability in the real world. The ”real world” consisted of 9 case studies, distributed over the European marine regions, and reflecting the complexity of the marine spatial planning process in Europe. To test the applicability of the developed tools outside Europe, two non-European case studies were selected as well. Case studies applied the prototypes of the MESMA Framework analysis and governance analysis and through a structured process, provided the feedback needed for improvement. During the testing, tools were compiled and tested (see next chapter) and spatial data were delivered to the MESMA Geonetwork. As such, the MESMA case studies were considered the laboratories in the heart of MESMA.

Key findings

As MESMA Case Studies were delivering input and data to other MESMA WPs, the main findings with regard to the analytical framework are reported in the sections in the previous chapter on work package 2 (WP2). Key findings for the governance analysis are reported in the chapter on work package 6 (WP6). Therefore, we limit ourselves to a rather technical description of the lessons learned from a case study perspective.
• The MESMA generic framework and MESMA governance analysis framework are applicable to the real world.
• Data needed to conduct the MESMA generic framework analysis are often incomplete or fully lacking.
• Tools developed by MESMA actually help to produce the data and or maps needed to perform an analysis of the effectiveness of marine spatial plans.


Figure 3. An overview of the tools is available at

MESMA collected and described over 70 tools such as models, databases and decision support tools that are relevant for the monitoring and evaluation of spatially managed areas. The tools are linked to the MESMA Framework steps or can be explored by category. This inventory of tools can be found on the MESMA central exchange ( It also includes a brief description of MSP- specific conceptual tools and guidelines.


• MESMA tool inventory (
• Online tool database (
• Web-based tool related to the MESMA framework (
• Uncertainty methodology (Stelzenmuller et al., 2013)
• Testing of tools within the case studies
• An Inventory of Tools for Marine Spatial Management (PDF)
• Tests of set of management tools (PDF)
• Selected set of management tools and recommendations for improvements (PDF)


Figure 4. The Geoportal is available at

Reliable monitoring and evaluation of spatially managed areas requires the use of reliable geospatial information covering a broad range of themes at a variety of temporal and spatial scales and with varying resolution depending on the level of detail being considered. Typically available data are fragmented, dispersed, and often poorly documented. MESMA has applied best available practice in the development of a project wide spatial data infrastructure (SDI) which is compliant with EU (INSPIRE) and international standards. By this means all project participants now have the knowledge and facilities to fully document and effectively share (internally and externally) both their own (and other available) geospatial data. As core components in the MESMA central exchange the Geoportal, distributed geodatabase and associated metadatabase are also the prime mechanism for disseminating selected thematic layers to a wider audience.


• The MESMA GeoNetwork catalogue:
• The MESMA Geoportal:
• A Guide to MetadataTools, Data Access Portal and Data Inventory (PDF) in which it is described how MESMA deals with spatial data, how such data is described with metadata and how data can be found on a geoportal.
• A Data model and ontologies.
• An Interconnected Geographic Database

Key findings

• Developed and documented an INSPIRE and ISO compliant metadata catalogue using the MESMA metadata profile (MMP)
• Developed the distributed INSPIRE categorised geodatabase containing thematic layers relevant to the MESMA case studies and identified monitoring issues.
• Adapted and documented a common data model to accommodate relevant geospatial data to a very fine level of granularity. Documented the extent to which many key datasets are subject to restrictions on use and hence are not publicly available for general use.


The emerging policy landscape for marine spatial planning in Europe was analysed and this revealed some significant synergies and tensions amongst different EC policies that are affecting MSP initiatives in member states in a variety of ways. In order to explore such MSP initiatives, a MESMA governance analysis framework was developed, which provides a systematic and structured approach to analysing governance issues in marine spatial planning. This was applied 13 MSP case studies which represent a variety of contexts, scales, objectives and issues. The findings of these case studies reveal that the realities of MSP are very different to the concept of MSP.


• A Typology of conflicts in MESMA case studies (PDF)
• Selection of approaches for addressing conflicts in MESMA case studies (PDF)
• A Tool box of incentives for the governance of spatially managed marine areas (PDF)

Key findings

• The emerging policy landscape for marine spatial planning in Europe’ (Qiu and Jones, 2013)
discusses some of the synergies and tensions amongst different EC policies that affect MSP;
• The MESMA governance analysis framework and the related thematic issues provide a systematic and structured approach to analysing governance issues in MSP case studies;
• The 13 MSP case studies represent a variety of contexts, scales, objectives and issues;
• The findings of these case studies reveal that the realities of MSP amongst the case studies are very different to the concepts of MSP.
• The MESMA governance analysis framework and the related thematic issues can be used to analyse governance issues in other MSP case studies.

Potential Impact:
The seas around us are home to an exceptionally wide range of marine habitats which must also support a variety of marine industries. The challenge for marine spatial management is to find an optimal balance between the competing demands of economic use, ecological development, and nature conservation while at the same time maintaining sensitivity towards traditional practices.

Over the period 2009 – 2013, the EU funded project MESMA (Monitoring and Evaluation of Spatially Managed Areas) has developed integrated management tools (concepts, models and guidelines) for monitoring, evaluation and implementation of spatially managed marine areas. MESMA has produced innovative methods and integrated strategies for governments, local authorities, stakeholders, and other managerial bodies for planning and decision making at different local, national, and European scales, for sustainable development of European seas.

MESMA has developed a generic framework (‘MESMA Framework’) for the monitoring and evaluation of the process of marine spatial planning. The framework provides guidance on the selection, mapping, and assessment of ecosystem components and human pressures. It also addresses the evaluation of management effectiveness and potential adaptations to management. Moreover, it provides advice on the use of spatially explicit tools for practical tasks like the assessment of cumulative impacts of human pressures or pressure-state relationships. Governance is directly linked to the framework through a governance analysis that can be performed in parallel and feeds into the different steps of the framework. Linked to these analyses are tools that can help in the implementation of monitoring and evaluation of Spatially Managed Areas (SMAs) and datasets.

The targeted users of these analyses are governments, local authorities, stakeholders and other managerial bodies with the scope of planning and decision making at different local, national, and international scales, for sustainable development of seas under changing environmental conditions.
A comparable product is the UNESCO guide on marine spatial planning. That guide is a generally recognized handbook for marine spatial planning provided by UNESCO. It is a step-by-step approach starting from scratch towards an integrated management plan. MESMA provides the following step: the evaluation of the effectiveness of management plans.

Currently the main product consists of the MESMA analytical framework and the manual guiding users through the step by step analysis of monitoring and evaluating spatially managed areas. During the course of the MEMSA project an electronic prototype version of the framework and manual have been developed ( These electronic products are advanced prototypes/demonstrators which require further investment to make them ready “for the road”. This additional investment will be sought for in the form of a project proposed for funding.

Potential customers
Potential customers include governments, local authorities, stakeholders, fellow scientists and other managerial bodies.

How does it satisfy their needs?
Marine spatial planning (MSP) is becoming more and more important with the EU now working on the MSP Directive. In general, MSP is an iterative process, in which improvement is obtained through cycles of planning. The monitoring and evaluation of such planning cycles is what MESMA focuses on. The MESMA framework provides a flexible generic evaluation and monitoring methodology and a set of tools that can assist in every step of the planning cycle. For each step the framework also provides examples of how the steps can be implemented.

Next to the more environmental aspects of monitoring and evaluating marine spatial plans and spatially managed areas the framework also provides a toolbox for the governance aspects of marine spatial planning. This allows the use of the framework to focus explicitly on the issues in a certain specific case.

From the data end of the framework some valuable lessons can be learnt on how to organise an structure data at the level of the ecosystem and across geo-political areas.

Main dissemination activities
Through the provision of newsletters and flyers the community that was attracted to the project implementation were kept informed. Through Linked-in a dedicated group of followers of the project and discussion platform was created.
• Newsletter 1 - February 2011 (PDF)
• Newsletter 2 - February 2012 (PDF)
• Newsletter 3 - April 2013 (PDF)
• General flyer (PDF) (June 2010)
• EU factsheet (PDF) (Dec 2009)
• General powerpoint (PDF) (March 2010)
In addition a video was produced and made available through internet ( ). This video provides a general overview of the scope and implementation of the MESMA project and the importance of monitoring and evaluation of SMA

Next to publications of peer reviewed scientific papers (11) a series of poster presentations and presentations at conferences and workshops was undertaken.
• 'A close look at marine spatial management in the Southern North Sea.' By Ellen Pecceu, Kris Hostens et al. (ILVO: an ocean of Opportunity, 11 Feb 2011; Vliz Young marine scientists’ day, 25 feb 2011; Studiedag: Mariene Aggregaatextractie, 17 Oct 2011)
• Wadden Sea Governance Analysis (International Symposium on the Ecology of the Wadden Sea, Texel, 10-14 Oct 2011) (PDF)
• MESMA: un progetto europeo per la gestione spaziale delle risorse. Il caso dello Stretto di Sicilia (42nd Congr Italian Soc Mar Biol, Olbia, 23-28 May 2011) (PDF)
• 'Marine Spatial Management - Climate Change' (PDF) (ICES Ann. Conf. Nantes, Sept 2010)
• 'It's all about weighing interests' (PDF) (ICES Ann. Conf. Nantes, Sept 2010)
• MCZs in England: Evidence, uncertainty, and flawed process design. L. Lieberknecht (UCL), P. Jones (UCL), 2 June 2013, Coastal & Marine Management & Development Evidence: Trends, Issues and Solutions, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, UK (PDF)
• Governing Marine Protected Areas - resilience through diversity. P. Jones (ULC). Global Marine Protected Area Enforcement conference, 26 November 2012, San Fransisco, USA (PDF)
• MESMA and the Wadden Sea. S. Vöge, A. Slob, T. Geerdink, C. Röckmann. Wadden Sea Forum 21th meeting, 13-14 November 2012, Leck, Germany (PDF)
• MPA's in England: context and challenges'. Dr. Peter Jones (UCL) at the conference on Marine Conservation: Marine protected Area implication: working together to achieve sustainable development (London, 8th Nov 2012) (PDF)
• MESMA dissimination strategy. Presentation at the 'Open Stakeholder Workshop to Explore the Challenges to Effective Knowledge Capture and Transfer', organised by EU project MarineTT ( Brussels, 23 May 2012.
• MESMA: An integrated tool box to support an ecosystem based spatial management of marine areas. Presentation at ICES conference 'Marine Strategy 2012', 14-16 May 2012, Copenhagen (PDF)
• 'Effective governance frameworks to implement ecosystem-based management: ecological connectivity through institutional connectivity' at the UNEP Global Conference on Land Ocean Interactions (Manila, The Philippines, Jan 2012) (PDF)
• 'Governance, Planning and the European Ambition for Marine Space' at the Conference of Coastal Management 2011 (Belfast, Nov 2011) (PDF)
• 'MESMA: for sustainable use of European seas and coastal areas' at the Wadden Sea Forum – ICES WGICZM (Hamburg, Sept 2011)
• 'What social values are held for our seas and how can they be taken into account in management decisions?' at the Coastal Futures 2010: Review and future trends (London, Jan 2010)

Through the website ( all public deliverables are made accessible. This includes the detailed descriptions and analyses of the case studies. In addition via the website a series of technical publications are available:
• MESMA Glossary (webpage) (June 2011)
• MESMA Glossary (PDF) (June 2011)
• Marine Spatial Planning Tools (webpage)
• MESMA spatial data: GEONETWORK (webpage)
• Overview of emerging EU policies for MSP (PDF) (Nov 2011)
In October 2013 the MESMA final conference was organised. During this three day conference the results of the MESMA project were presented and discussed with a wide audience from the science, policy, NGO and industry community

For the near future a number of scientific publications are expected to be published.

List of Websites:

Project leader Dr Ir Luc van Hoof
Visitors address: IMARES, Haringkade 1, 1976 CP IJmuiden, The Netherlands

Mail address: PO Box 68, 1970 AB IJmuiden, The Netherlands,
T: 0317 - 480900
F: 0317 - 487326