Periodic Reporting for period 3 - MERCES (Marine Ecosystem Restoration in Changing European Seas)
Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2020-11-30
The main objectives were:
1. Developing new and specific restoration/rehabilitation methodologies and pilot studies on European marine habitats (shallow soft, hard bottoms and deep-sea ecosystems);
2. Providing tools and guidelines for the integration of the Restoration Agenda (“developing a Blue Agenda”);
3. Developing measures to increase the resilience to climate change;
4. Enhancing EU conservation capacity and preserve the natural capital;
5. Providing robust contributions to EU ‘2020 BS’, ‘MSFD’ and ‘MSPD' objectives;
6. Conducting cost-benefit socio-economic analyses for marine restoration measures;
7. Identifying the benefits of establishing a network of restoration sites;
8. Identifying the policy/legal/governance frameworks facilitating the success of restoration actions;
9. Creating new employment opportunities offered from new professions to develop the “restoration industry”.
MERCES allowed to set up and test the first standardized protocols for restoring a suite of degraded marine habitats and to measure the potential consequences and implications across EU seas. MERCES also investigated the impact of ecological restoration under different socio-economic settings and explored the governmental drivers and models.
Standardizing the current restoration approaches in different marine habitats has been certainly challenging, but the results of the multidisciplinary approach of the MERCES Consortium have surpassed the expectations in many ways. MERCES demonstrated that marine ecological restoration is possible and feasible, and should be encouraged in terms of policies, economic implementation and new job opportunities. MERCES provided an important contribution to the potential perspective of the European Green Deal. This was acknowledged in an European Marine Board policy brief (5, 2019) and MERCES was included in the list of EU-funded Nature Based Solution projects supporting implementation of EU biodiversity policy.