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Multi-Use in European Seas

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MUSES (Multi-Use in European Seas)

Reporting period: 2017-11-01 to 2018-10-31

MUSES was a two-year H2020 funded project that explored the opportunities for Multi-Use (MU) in European Seas across five EU sea basins (Baltic, North, Mediterranean, Black and Eastern Atlantic Seas). MUSES built on existing knowledge to explore the real opportunities for MU in European Seas, including the scope for innovation and Blue Growth potential and to present practical solutions on how to overcome existing barriers and minimise risks associated with MU development.

The objectives of the MUSES project were to:
• Explore the opportunities for MU in European Seas, including the scope for innovation and Blue Growth potential
• Provide an understanding of environmental, spatial, economic & societal benefits of co-location
• Highlight inappropriate regulatory, operational, environmental, health and safety, societal and legal aspects
• Present practical solutions on how to overcome existing barriers and minimize risks associated with MU development whilst maximising local benefits

The overall goal of MUSES was to develop an Action Plan (AP) to further promote the MU concept across Europe. The research undertaken within the MUSES project, throughout all European sea basins, has revealed that a much wider range of opportunities for creating positive synergies among different maritime uses exist compared to what has been previously associated with the MU concept. The AP shows that some of the MUs researched are already a reality today. Even though such combinations may not substantially impact general economic growth, they may provide economic benefits at the local scale and other socio-cultural added values for coastal communities, as well as a shift of perspective on how different uses and users can work together rather than being separate. A wider recognition and active promotion of such small scale and local MU combinations is needed to advance MU implementation. This can build confidence in the MU concept and pave the way for future MU combinations, which require joint planning and development efforts to become a reality in the future. Also, new technological solutions such as floating offshore wind farms, hydrogen energy storage or wave energy generation technologies can tap into a wider range of socio-economic and environmental benefits if MU solutions are considered in their designs right from the outset, through the application of the life cycle assessment, systems design approach or circular economy principles. This would increase the R&D competitiveness of the European market as benefits can be derived from its recognition and promotion as an innovation hub for MU through technology and knowledge transfer to other parts of the world.
This summary focuses on three main areas of work.

MU Sea Basin Analysis
The Final Report represents the culmination of the Regional Sea Basin Analysis for the MUSES project, with the findings directly influencing the final AP. This report was informed by Country Fiches of nations adjacent to the basins and utilised the methodology developed under this work stream to identify the most important MUs at the sea basin level together with their key DABIs (Drivers, Added Value, Barriers & Impacts). Work at the Sea Basin level focused on the examination of the theoretical understanding and practical experience of MU in European Seas and it comprised of the following steps: (i) identification of MUs (the type of combinations and where geographically they occur), (ii) identification of the most important real and perceived barriers and drivers as well as impacts and added values of these MUs, and (iii) depiction of similarities and differences through comparative analysis of MU specificities in various EU seas and oceans.

MU Case Study Analysis
Ten distinct case studies were considered across European seas using a Case Study Methodology which was developed in combination with the Sea Basin Analysis methodology to ensure consistency across work-packages to provide a complete spectrum of advantages in combining different uses of the sea. The case studies engaged stakeholders to identify MU potentiality, opportunities and limitations. Along with identifying and evaluating DABIs, the case studies included a Focus Area Analysis, whereby a list of Key Evaluation Questions were considered. The main conclusions from the analysis at the case study level are:

1.Renewable Energy-driven and Tourism-driven MU combinations demonstrate the greatest potential for implementation.
2.Tourism-driven combinations - most promising MUs are with other soft sectors
3.Renewable Energy-driven combinations most promising MUs with other hard sectors.
4.MUs located nearshore have higher potential.
5.MU is a scalable concept: MU starting with two uses may be expanded to other uses.
6.Effective spatial management has greater demand in areas experiencing greater competition among uses, and thus these are the areas where MU is viewed more positively

Action Plan
The AP builds on the work undertaken at the Sea Basin and Case Study level drawing on the expertise of many stakeholders. The AP consists of three parts:

Part 1 – introduction to MU concept, policy background and MUSES methodology. Summarises stage of development, possible benefits and, opportunities for MU, as well as what kind of support the MU concept receives across Europe.

Part 2 - actions required for the 9 MU combinations the project focused on: These nine MU combinations were:

1.Tourism fisheries & environmental protection
2.Tourism underwater cultural heritage & environmental protection
3.Tourism and aquaculture
4.Offshore wind farm and tourism
5.Offshore wind farm and fisheries
6.Offshore wind farm and aquaculture
7.Oil and Gas and Decommissioning – Repurposing
8.Offshore wave energy and aquaculture
9.Offshore wind and marine renewable energy

Part 3 - Conclusions and recommendations: These cover seven areas:
•Integration & Coordination
•Marine Spatial Planning
•Policy & Regulation
•Capacity Building
•Promotion & Dissemination
•Research Priorities
Combining maritime uses can reduce spatial pressures on European Seas and create new opportunities for socio-economic development, along with potential environmental benefits. Further development of MU requires actions mainly from the users themselves, but also backed by research, policy and legislation at all levels. The AP details what actions are required and by whom in the coming years to turn the concept of MU in European sea basins into real life implementation. Development of future actions can also rely on the wide analysis developed at the sea basin and case study levels, which provide detailed information on MU opportunities and related drivers, added values, barriers and impacts for the consider region and specific location.

MUSES has sought to facilitate a positive socio-economic and environmental impact by proposing solutions for Blue Growth and innovation which maximize the capture of economic benefits within adjacent coastal communities while maintaining the health of the ecosystems in which these activities rely upon for operation. The exploration of how to overcome barriers and enhance added values for geographic, human, biological, and technical MUs supports both the marine development agendas and ecosystem protection agendas of coastal nations in Europe, while providing a strategic direction to nations around the globe seeking to develop and implement marine spatial plans and policies.