Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost

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Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost
Proposed UK Targets for
achieving GES and Cost-Benefit
Analysis for the MSFD:
Final Report
Appendix
February 2012
Proposed UK Targets for achieving
GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for
the MSFD:
Final Report
Appendix
This report describes expert advice to support the development of proposals for UK
targets and indicators of Good Environmental Status, including an initial cost benefit
analysis for the implementation of the MSFD. A large number of contributors from
the marine science community have helped with the development of these
proposals, coordinated by expert panels and the Evidence Groups of the UK Marine
Monitoring and Assessment Strategy. Significant input to this Cefas project report
(ME5405) has been provided by the HBDSEG Drafting Team and eftec.
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Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report
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Table of Contents
Appendix 1 – Target Templates ................................................................................. 4
Descriptor 2 - Non-indigenous species introduced by human activities are at levels
that do not adversely alter the ecosystem ............................................................... 4
Descriptor 3 - Populations of all commercially exploited fish and shellfish are within
safe biological limits, exhibiting a population age and size distribution that is
indicative of a healthy stock. ................................................................................. 10
Descriptor 5 - Human-induced eutrophication is minimised, especially adverse
effects thereof, such as losses in biodiversity, ecosystem degradation, harmful
algal blooms and oxygen deficiency in bottom waters. ......................................... 16
Descriptor 7 - Permanent alteration of hydrographical conditions does not
adversely affect marine ecosystems ..................................................................... 29
Descriptor 8: Concentrations of contaminants are at levels not giving rise to
pollution effects. .................................................................................................... 36
Descriptor 9 - Contaminants in fish and other seafood for human consumption do
not exceed levels established by Community legislation or other relevant
standards) ............................................................................................................. 65
Descriptor 10 - Properties and quantities of marine litter do not cause harm to the
coastal and marine environment. .......................................................................... 74
Descriptor 11 - Introduction of energy, including underwater noise, is at levels that
do not adversely affect the marine environment ................................................... 89
Appendix 2 - Target-indicator template .................................................................... 96
Descriptor 2 - Non-indigenous species ................................................................. 96
Descriptor 3 - Commercial fish and shellfish ......................................................... 98
Descriptor 5 - Eutrophication............................................................................... 100
Descriptor 7 – Hydrographical conditions............................................................ 102
Descriptor 8 - Contaminants ............................................................................... 104
Descriptor 9 - Contaminants in fish and shellfish ................................................ 106
Descriptor 10 - Marine litter ................................................................................. 108
Descriptor 11 - Underwater noise ....................................................................... 110
Appendix 3 - Targets and Potential Management Measures.................................. 112
Appendix 4 - Biodiversity components: species & habitat lists ............................... 113
Appendix 5 - Supporting information for the Benthic Habitats Section 3.2 ............. 115
Appendix 5A - Distribution of Benthic Habitats throughout UK waters. ............... 115
Appendix 5B - Relationship between predominant habitats, and Special (listed)
habitats and EUNIS habitat classes. ................................................................... 120
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Appendix 5C - Draft Regional Seas (2009). ........................................................ 121
Appendix 5D - Summary of the possible baseline-setting and target-setting
approaches ......................................................................................................... 122
Appendix 5E - Sensitivity matrix and pressure thresholds .................................. 123
Appendix 5F - Background to sensitivity matrix information ................................ 126
Appendix 5G – Rock and Biogenic Reef Habitats – Additional detail .................. 131
Appendix 5H – Sediment Habitats – Additional detail ......................................... 137
Appendix 6 - Pelagic habitats report....................................................................... 142
Appendix 7 - Birds report........................................................................................ 157
Appendix 8 - Marine mammals report .................................................................... 172
Appendix 9 - Fish report ......................................................................................... 187
Appendix 10 - Detailed targets and indicators for each biodiversity descriptor ...... 229
Appendix 11 - CBA spreadsheets of biodiversity targets, pressures and measures:
............................................................................................................................... 230
Appendix 12 - Background information on Baseline ............................................... 234
Appendix 13 - Analysis of Impacts of Potential Management Measures ................ 251
Appendix 14 - Method and data used for estimating the economic costs of the
potential management measure to ban use of mobile demersal gears (MDGs)..... 321
Appendix 15 - Analysis of Fuel Tax Subsidies ....................................................... 327
Appendix 16 - UK Marine Valuation Studies .......................................................... 330
Appendix 17 - Note of workshop on Disproportionate Costs Analysis .................... 335
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Appendix 1 – Target Templates
Descriptor 2 - Non-indigenous species introduced by human activities
are at levels that do not adversely alter the ecosystem
There are some non-indigenous species (NIS) currently present in the marine
environment and there are many examples from throughout the world of
unsuccessful attempts to remove these. It therefore has to be accepted that for the
most part the species already present cannot be eradicated.
GES for non-indigenous species (NIS) in UK waters can therefore best be achieved
by preventing new introductions. Management-based targets should be set such
that the risk from pathways and vectors which facilitate the introduction and spread
of NIS have been significantly reduced. The impact from and spread of invasive
alien species (IAS, a minority subset of NIS, which are demonstrated to have an
adverse effect on biological diversity, ecosystem functioning, socio-economic values
and/or human health) will be reduced as a consequence of this approach. This
approach also allows for the fact that it is not always possible to predict which NIS
will become AIS. Also, management measures will be more effective if they are
applied at least at regional seas (if not international) level and so ideally they should
be coordinated between Member States.
Although understanding of the main pathways and vectors of introduction are
improving, a better assessment of current status is needed to provide a basis for
future measures.
There is some uncertainty that targets based on implementing management
measures to reduce impacts will be acceptable to the Commission.
Criterion 2.1 - Abundance and state characterisation of non-indigenous
species, in particular invasive species
Indicator 2.1.1 - Trends in abundance, temporal occurrence and spatial distribution in
the wild of non-indigenous species, particularly invasive non indigenous species,
notably in risk areas, in relation to the main vectors and pathways of spreading of
such species
Type of targets

It will not be possible to develop robust targets on the basis of numbers and
distribution of NIS in UK waters, due to the lack of sufficiently detailed
knowledge on current status that arises from the difficulty of obtaining up to
date information. Such targets are also constrained by the difficulty of
removing these species once they have become established in any location.
There will have to be an acceptance that non-indigenous species, including
invasive species, will remain in the marine environment and that new
introductions will never be entirely prevented.
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

Trend based targets, based on long term monitoring at high risk sites for
introduction, for example selected marinas or ports, and in marine protected
sites identified as vulnerable to introduction and spread of particular IAS,
could be developed.
Pathway / vector management targets to prevent or at least minimise the risk
of introduction of new non native species and spread of new and existing non
native species should be adopted. Given that only a proportion of new
species that are introduced become established and only a very small
proportion of these become invasive (IAS) these measures will maximise the
potential to reduce adverse impacts and associated costs.
Define the targets


Reduction in the risk of introduction of non native species through improved
management of the main pathways / vectors.
o There are several generic routes which are perceived as common
pathways for the introduction of non-native species into the marine
environment. These are shipping, aquaculture and fisheries,
recreational boating, marine industries and ship decommissioning.
There is also more direct human mediated spread; this includes
deliberate release (mainly live bait, live food and aquarium species)
and accidental spread. Various management measures are available,
particularly development of mandatory codes of practice, strengthening
and better enforcement of existing legislation, including an element of
increasing awareness amongst industry, government and the public of
the problem, and possibly new legislation.
 It is recommended that a thorough review is conducted detailing
each of the pathways, together with potential methods of
mitigation of the risk of introduction and spread of NIS. Some
work has already been carried out in this area, e.g. for
Didemnum vexillum, and so the review could build on this. This
review should provide recommendations on the measures that
should be implemented to significantly reduce the risk of
introduction and on means of auditing compliance with these
measures.
 It is recommended that further public awareness campaigns,
similar to the ‘Be Plant Wise’ campaign run by the GB Non
Native Species Secretariat (GBNNSS) be initiated. The focus
for these campaigns will emerge from the recommendations of
the review detailed above.
Reduction in the incidence of severely fouled ship hulls.
 It is recommended that support is given to international
guidelines on this problem that have been developed by the
International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Direct monitoring for
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
this target would be impractical on any scale, but trend analyses
on rate of establishment of new NIS would be a proxy measure.
An audit of compliance with the guidelines would also be
applicable.
Trend analysis to show a reduction in the rate of establishment of new NIS.
 It is recommended that, where feasible, further monitoring
studies are conducted, to build on information from previous
studies (see below) at high risk sites for introductions (ports and
marinas) and in marine protected areas.
 It is also recommended that a review is undertaken of all current
marine species monitoring programmes in the UK with a view to
adapting these programmes to more effectively record and
report NIS, to provide data for trend analysis. It will be important
to include programmes that examine all habitat types to ensure
full coverage of where non-native species may occur. It is
probable that some taxonomic training to aid identification on
non indigenous species will be required.
 It is envisaged that by better co-ordination and collation of data
from existing monitoring programmes to report NIS that very
little additional monitoring will be necessary to provide data for
trend analysis.
 It will need to be recognised that secondary spread of species
present in neighbouring Member States may occur by natural
dispersal.
Baseline for targets

Lack of data and full understanding of NIS in respect to abundance,
distribution, introduction (vectors and timing) and ability to survive in new
environments means that assessments have been limited, leading to a lack of
baseline information. There is, however, some baseline information from the
Aliens I and II programmes in which marinas in the UK were surveyed for NIS.
Also, some further secondary spread of these species may occur due to
human mediated dispersal via local vectors e.g. regional shipping, shellfish
movements or via natural dispersal, facilitated by climate change. An
important feature of the above recommendations is that the proposed
measures act as a proxy for the Descriptor in that they will help to prevent
transfer of all species and this will inevitably lead to a much lower incidence of
new introductions of IAS, despite the difficulties in identifying a trend through
monitoring.
Scale of targets

Any targets and/or measures introduced must be considered on a regional
seas level to be fully effective. National controls in place in the UK will be less
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effective if operated in isolation, depending on the methods of introduction
and international distribution of the species concerned.
Criterion 2.2 - Environmental impact of invasive non-indigenous species
Lack of data and understanding of IAS in respect to their abundance, distribution and
ability to survive in new environments and ultimately their environmental impact
means that assessments have been very limited in the marine environment. It is for
this reason that targets that focus on Criteria 2.1 are proposed and that the two
Indicators associated with Criteria 2.2 are considered together, below.
Indicator 2.2.1 - Ratio between invasive non-indigenous species and native species
in some well studied taxonomic groups (e.g. fish, macroalgae, molluscs) that may
provide a measure of change in species composition (e.g. further to the
displacement of native species)
Indicator 2.2.2 - Impacts of non-indigenous invasive species at the level of species,
habitats and ecosystem, where feasible
Type of targets


Trend based targets based on the bio-pollution index may be feasible in some
cases. Such targets could for example be developed from monitoring at sites
of high conservation value (Marine Protected Areas). They are constrained
by a limited amount of baseline data, although there is already some species
monitoring in a range of programmes, including Marclim, N2K site monitoring
and Water Framework Directive (WFD) Water Body Monitoring. There is also
some guidance available on assessment of alien species pressures by the UK
Technical Advisory Group of the WFD.
Management targets to minimise both the introduction and spread of new NIS
(as a consequence this will lead to fewer introductions of IAS and so prevent
the impact of these species on the environment) and as described below
should be adopted.
Define the targets

Reduction in the impact of non native species through implementation of
effective management measures.
o Risk assessments carried out, and species specific management
measures implemented where appropriate, for all IAS identified as
already present in or likely to be introduced into the UK in place by
2020. This might include control of some species by removal.
 Some risk assessments have been carried out by the WFD
UKTAG group and by the GBNNSS to determine the potential
threat posed by non-native species currently present in GB
waters. It is recommended that this process is built on and
extended to cover all NIS in UK waters and, where species are
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
considered as high risk, extended to suggest potential
management measures, where appropriate and feasible.
 It is also recommended that a horizon scanning exercise be
conducted to identify potential new threats and
contingency/rapid response plans developed for species
indentified as at high risk of being introduced.
Application of bio-pollution index at selected sites to show a declining rate of
increase of impacts.
 It is recommended that “fit for purpose” indices for selected
species / sites, are developed, using as a basis the bio-pollution
index assessment method devised for the EU and building on
current species monitoring programmes. It is likely that such
work would have to be carried out at sites with long term
monitoring data in order for such indices to be effective.
Baseline for targets

Lack of data and full understanding of NIS in respect of impact in new
environments means that assessments have been limited, leading to a lack of
baseline information. Management measures based targets may depend on
early detection in order to have some chance of success.
Scale of targets

Any targets and/or measures introduced must be considered at the scale of
habitats, particularly sensitive areas, usually of designated high conservation
value, e.g. marine protected areas.
Evaluation
Evaluate each indicator against all the criteria in the attached spreadsheet.
MSFD GES indicator
assessment template.
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Criteria
Targets
Commission Indicator
Management
Measures
Indicator
thresholds
based on
initial
assessment
Prevalence
of invasive
nonindigenous
species
Abundance and
state
characterisation
of nonindigenous
species, in
particular
invasive
species (2.1)
Reduction in the risk
of introduction of
non native species
through improved
management of the
main pathways /
vectors, including
human mediated
spread and ship hull
fouling
Trend analysis
to show
reduction in the
rate of
establishment
of new IAS
Effects of
invasive
nonindigenous
species
Environmental
impact of
invasive nonindigenous
species (2.2)
Trends in abundance,
temporal occurrence and
spatial distribution in the
wild of non-indigenous
species, particularly
invasive non indigenous
species, notably in risk
areas, in relation to the
main vectors and
pathways of spreading of
such species (2.1.1)
This is the main indicator
for invasive non
indigenous species.
Ratio between invasive
non-indigenous species
and native species in
some well studied
taxonomic groups (e.g.
fish, macroalgae,
molluscs) that may
provide a measure of
change in species
composition (e.g. further
to the displacement of
native species) (2.2.1)
AND
Impacts of nonindigenous invasive
species at the level of
species, habitats and
ecosystem, where
feasible (2.2.2)
Reduction in the
impact of non native
species through
implementation of
effective
management
measures, including
reducing the risk of
introduction and
spread (as for 2.1.1)
Application of
bio-pollution
index at
selected sites
to show a
declining rate
of increase of
impacts
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Descriptor 3 - Populations of all commercially exploited fish and
shellfish are within safe biological limits, exhibiting a population age and
size distribution that is indicative of a healthy stock.
“Commercially exploited fish and shellfish stocks” - is interpreted as applying to the
finfish and Nephrops stocks currently managed within the Common Fisheries Policy
(CFP) and also stocks of fin and shellfish that would be included on the basis of their
socio-economic importance. The latter comprise stocks managed within UK inshore
waters (e.g. cockle, lobster) and also shared offshore stocks (e.g. crab, scallops).
Fish stock management within the CFP currently utilises “safe biological limits” within
the Precautionary Approach (PA). They are defined in terms of thresholds for the
upper level of fishing mortality and lower level of spawning stock (adult) biomass.
Scientific evaluation of each stock’s status relative to its safe biological limits is
published annually by scientific organisations such as the International Council for
the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). With relatively minor adjustment the
Precautionary Approach framework is appropriate for the definition of GES under
MSFD. Apart from Nephrops stocks, which have defined safe levels, shellfish stocks
would require the development and adoption of stock specific safe limits.
There is no scientific agreement on whether “exhibiting a population age and size
distribution that is indicative of a healthy stock” can be defined. Size distribution
indices have been developed to provide advice on the status of ecosystems
containing a range of species and size groups, but they have not been developed for
single species/stocks in isolation. Their utility for stock specific management advice
and their response time following management actions is unknown. This part of the
GES definition may be redundant as the protracted low rates of fishing required to
achieve “safe biological limits” will invariably result in a “healthy” age and size
distribution.
Types of targets
Data rich stocks
In general MSFD targets will be based on avoidance of thresholds. Two forms of
threshold are currently used to define the PA safe biological limits:
1. Fishing mortality or exploitation rate thresholds – rates which exceed the
thresholds will eventually reduce the stock to levels at which its
reproductive potential is impaired
2. Spawning stock (adult) biomass thresholds - below which the reproductive
potential of the stock is considered to be impaired
To be within the PA safe biological limits the fishing mortality imposed on the stock
must be below and the spawning biomass above their respective thresholds. The
status of stocks relative to their individual thresholds is reported annually by ICES.
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ICES and others are continually undertaking research into stocks which do not
currently have defined thresholds and also alternative metrics (e.g. survey indices)
for stocks which have limited information on the fishery and biomass.
In addition to defining the PA limits which prevent reproductive failure, ICES has also
agreed stock specific targets for fishing mortality rates that are likely to achieve high
levels of average yield (maximum sustainable yield, MSY). It has been suggested
that achieving this lower level of fishing mortality for all stocks is equivalent to
“ecosystem safe biological limits” and it is suggested that they should therefore be
linked to GES. While moving towards MSY fishing mortality targets is appropriate,
their use as thresholds is not currently advisable. The current values are derived on
a single stock basis, they have not been calculated taking into account species
interactions; for instance the maximum yield from a prey species will be dependent
on the rate at which its predators are exploited.
Data limited/ data poor stocks
For the many fish stocks and the majority of shellfish stocks there are currently no
agreed indices of exploitation rate and biomass status due to limited data availability.
Studies are being conducted to derive the required proxy indicators and the level of
their targets/thresholds but it will take time and resources to evaluate, test and agree
their use for the determination of GES.
Scale of targets
The number of stocks
Stock specific targets will be required for the assessment of GES status in each sea
area. For example, thresholds for the rate of fishing and the minimum spawning
stock biomass for the North Sea cod are related to the productivity and geographic
extent of that stock and therefore would not be suited to other cod stocks. For the
UK, which utilises many fish and shellfish stocks, this could imply monitoring of a
large number of GES indicators (>100), dependent on the interpretation of “all
commercially exploited populations”. The list of stocks expands as less abundant,
but still commercially valuable, by-catch species (e.g. lemon sole, turbot, brill) and
numerous inshore shellfish stocks (cockles) are included. It is reduced by assuming
that species which are caught when targeting others in mixed fisheries achieve GES
when the target species achieve GES.
It is obviously both impractical and too costly to monitor all of the fish stocks
exploited by UK fisheries, consequently criteria such as the following could be
adopted to define stocks that will be monitored to determine GES for each fisheries
region and make the process practicable:
1) GES status will be determined for predefined finfish and Nephrops stocks of
importance to the UK based on ICES annual scientific advice.
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2) Other fish stocks that are caught in association with the stocks in (1) will be
assumed to be at GES when specified indicator species in (1) achieve GES
unless they are highlighted by scientific advice as having particular issues that
require individual attention (e.g. vulnerable species such as skates and rays).
3) Eight areas with crab and lobster “stocks” that have regional differences and
the major scallop stocks would have GES thresholds for exploitation rate
developed and where required agreed internationally.
4) The major cockle stocks would have GES thresholds determined and
monitored by the UK.
Spatial scale
The large spatial range of fish stocks, which often overlaps the Economic Zones of
other Member States, ensures that information to determine GES status and
management actions to achieve it will be required at the international level.
Internationally agreed data sets and corresponding indicators will be required to
avoid confusion and conflicting interests. Management actions to achieve GES by
one Member State are unlikely to be effective for a stock with a wide geographic
distribution if other fisheries do not impose similar or equivalent measures.
GES targets should be derived and applied at the scale of the stock spatial
distribution. In the majority of cases for finfish this applies to the current
management units. For shellfish there are management units that contain several
biological stocks (e.g. Nephrops) and status will be derived for each of the specific
stocks, contributing to the GES status of the management unit. This may require
stronger global management action than if areas were considered in isolation, due to
the requirement to protect the most vulnerable components.
Inshore shellfish stocks would be controlled to a greater extent by unilateral UK
management action.
Temporal scale
Finfish and Nephrops stock management under the CFP follows an annual cycle of
adjustments to the fishing mortality rate by regulating landings to achieve target
levels. Current CFP management requires achievement of the fishing mortality
corresponding to MSY (the likely candidate for the GES status) for managed finfish
and Nephrops stocks by 2015.
Crab and lobster stock management is carried out multi-annually, during which
minimum sizes and gear selection characteristics are adjusted.
Criterion 3.1 - Level of Pressure of Fishing Activity
Stock specific, quantitative targets: Fishing mortality [or an agreed proxy] is at the
level that is likely to achieve maximum yield in the long-term.
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Indicator 3.1.1 - Fishing mortality (F)
Type of targets
Within the CFP quantitative fishing mortality rates are currently specified as
maximum thresholds below which damage to a stock’s reproductive potential is
avoided and targets for achieving optimum yield from the stock. Similar stock
specific criteria would be required to define GES and for many of the finfish and
Nephrops stocks they could be translated directly from current management metrics.
ICES provides annual advice on the status of the stocks relative to management
indicators which once agreed as the basis for GES, would also establish the stock’s
relative status.
There is a direct linkage between the fishing mortality targets and the SSB targets
described in the next section, they must be estimated simultaneously if used
together to manage a stock. For some stocks fishing mortality targets and
thresholds can be used for management without biomass thresholds, and very
occasionally vice versa.
If fishing mortality is at a level consistent with its target over the long-term then that
should be sufficient to define GES for species where biomass estimates are
impractical, for instance the less abundant but commercially important finfish species
and the majority of widely distributed shellfish stocks.
There are knowledge gaps concerning the current status of many stocks for
instance, the less abundant but commercially important finfish species and the
majority of shellfish stocks. Consequently although a range of suitable fishing
mortality targets can be suggested, the lack of information for many species will
delay the assessment of GES for these species. The majority of the stocks would
fall within the ICES remit, others the remainder (mostly inshore shellfish stocks)
would require UK monitoring and determination of status.
Define the targets
Given the variability inherent in the targets and the difficulty (impossibility!) of
simultaneously maintaining all stocks at their optimum target exploitation rate, a
range within which the exploitation rate is maintained is considered appropriate
rather than using the target values as a specific threshold.
It is proposed that the target would be the exploitation rate is within +/- x% (25%?)
of the agreed management target mortality rate that will achieve long term
maximum yield. Exploitation rate is used in the definition rather than fishing
mortality to allow for the use of proxies.
Baseline for targets
Stocks with analytical estimates of fishing mortality:
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

The agreed management plan long-term target fishing
mortality/exploitation rate
The ICES estimate of Fmsy or optimum exploitation rate
Stocks without analytical estimates of fishing mortality:

An agreed proxy for exploitation rate derived from the stock age/length
structure
Criterion 3.2 - Reproductive capacity of the stock
Stock specific, quantitative targets: Spawning biomass [or an agreed proxy] is above
the threshold that defines safe biological limits.
Indicator 3.2.1 - Spawning stock biomass (SSB)
Type of targets
Spawning stock (adult) biomass (SSB) thresholds have been used to define unsafe
biomass levels in terms of reduced reproductive capacity since the introduction of
the Precautionary Approach in 2005. For Nephrops stocks estimates of total stock
abundance (TSB) are used. There is also the potential to use other proxies such as
survey catch rates to define reference levels of spawning or total biomass.
As with the fishing mortality reference levels the current weakness of the thresholds
is that they have been defined on the basis of single species stock theory, without
including predator-prey interactions or linkages to ecosystem productivity;
consequently they are unlikely to be stable in the long-term and will require
recalculation as stocks rebuild and the balance of predators and prey change over
time.
There is a direct linkage between the fishing mortality targets defined previously and
the SSB targets described in this section, they are coupled and must be estimated
and applied simultaneously, if used together to manage a stock.
There are knowledge gaps concerning the total size of the less abundant but
commercially important finfish species and the widely distributed shellfish stocks
which makes estimation of a biomass threshold impractical. However, the lack of an
SSB or TSB threshold should not prevent the definition of GES for a stock. If fishing
mortality is at a level consistent with its target over the long-term then that should be
sufficient to define GES for species where total biomass or proxy estimates are
impractical, for instance the less abundant but commercially important finfish species
and the majority of shellfish stocks.
Define the targets
It is proposed that the target would be the spawning stock biomass / total
biomass/ biomass proxy is above the agreed stock specific threshold.
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Baseline for targets
Stocks with analytical estimates of spawning/total biomass or proxies for them the
base line would be the agreed, stock specific management threshold. Currently
ICES uses the threshold Btrigger in association with the FMSY target value outlined in
the previous section.
Criterion 3.3 - Population age and size distribution.
Type of targets
Indices that track the structure of the age and size distribution of fish and shellfish
stocks have been published, reviewed and have been used to provide qualitative
advice on trends in the state of the ecosystem; examples are provided in the EU
suggested descriptors e.g.:
1. The proportion of fish older/larger than the mean age/size of first sexual
maturity
2. The mean maximum length across all species found in research vessel
surveys
3. The 95th percentile of the length distribution observed in research vessel
surveys
4. Size at first sexual maturation
Unfortunately, the indicators have not been evaluated for stock specific advice and
the process has not been carried forward to the development of linked operational
reference levels for stock/fisheries management.
The process requires further work to select and define indicators and associated
reference levels that respond to changes in populations subject to fishing.
Simulation studies are required to ensure that such indicators provide suitable
sensitivity in the time-scales required for management and that they are robust to
variation in natural processes such as recruitment variability, regional and seasonal
variation in the spatial distribution of juveniles, adults, small and large species.
An area that has not been explored in detail, but is highly likely, is whether meeting
criterion 3.1 and 3.2 would lead to fulfilment of 3.3 after a time lag, thereby making
3.3 redundant. This would depend on the definition of “population and age structure
that is indicative of a healthy stock”.
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Descriptor 5 - Human-induced eutrophication is minimised, especially
adverse effects thereof, such as losses in biodiversity, ecosystem
degradation, harmful algal blooms and oxygen deficiency in bottom
waters.
‘Human-induced eutrophication is minimised’ is interpreted as being the equivalent of
achieving Non Problem Area status, as described in the OSPAR Common
Procedure, at the scale of the sub-region.
It is widely agreed that Non-Problem Areas status is the equivalent of Good
Environmental Status under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) (and
also Water Framework Directive (WFD) Good Ecological Status with respect to
nutrient enrichment). The characteristics of good environmental status are set out in
the Final Policy Position paper. On that basis, and taking account of the OSPAR
Common Procedure (OSPAR Agreement 2005 -3), the WFD CIS guidance of
eutrophication (CIS Guidance Document No. 23) and relevant European Case Law
(ECJ, 2009), the following overall target is proposed

there should be no undesirable disturbance [adverse effects] at the scale of
the (sub) region resulting from anthropogenic nutrient inputs.
This is in line with our current assessments under which both nutrient enrichment
and accelerated growth may occur but undesirable disturbance to the balance of
organisms or to the quality of the water is not acceptable. This is aligned with the
definition of eutrophication (UWWTD, 1991; OSPAR, 2005) and the ECJ judgement
(ECJ, 2009) makes it clear that all four criteria have to be met to diagnose
eutrophication.
The OSPAR Common Procedure (including Screening and Comprehensive
procedures), as modified to support the MSFD, is the best available method used to
diagnose the eutrophication status of the marine environment. Assessments of
ecological status (resulting from nutrient pressure) in coastal waters covered by the
WFD will need to be taken into account. Consideration should be to be given to the
use of relevant WFD classification tools where these can be shown to be the most
suitable methods available for application to the waters covered by MSFD.
Type of targets
The MSFD (Article 10) requires that environmental targets are set ‘on the basis of
the initial assessment’. This implies a need to set different types of targets with
respect to Non-Problem Areas (equivalent of good status) and Problem Areas. In
essence, the target for Non-Problem Areas will be the maintenance of non-problem
status and for Problem Areas it will be to achieve non-problem area status. In the
case of Non-Problem Areas, it may be appropriate to consider pressure targets (i.e.
relating to nutrient inputs) as part of a risk based approach but prudent also to collect
information about environmental status (such as nutrient concentrations and
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chlorophyll) where this can be done cost effectively. In the case of Problem Areas, it
is also necessary to provide indicators and targets that allow for the tracking of
progress towards Good Environmental Status. It is therefore proposed to set targets
for each of the Commission Criteria and the relevant supporting parameters.
The targets are quantitative and are both trend and state based. However, none of
these targets, for Non-Problem or Problem areas, can be seen as stand-alone
elements which should be tracked in their own right, or assessed on the basis of a
one out- all out principle, as the essence of good assessment and management of
eutrophication is the combination of information that allows a robust evidence based
conclusion about eutrophication status.
Scale of targets
Assessment of eutrophication status is carried out on water bodies that are defined
largely by physical factors such as depth, stratification and salinity. This
[eco]hydrodynamic approach results in large scale [sub]regional water bodies which
are the appropriate scale for target setting under MSFD. The scale equates to subdivisions (2) of each Charting Progress region. There is, as yet, no clear way of
combining assessments at the overall MSFD regional scale but consideration is
being given to this as part of the discussions on co-ordination taking place through
OSPAR.
Most of the Problem Areas identified in the UK are WFD transitional water bodies
and therefore do not often overlap with MSFD requirements. However, there are
WFD coastal water bodies that overlap with the MSFD areas that have been
identified as being less than Good Status as a result of different biological quality
elements and some based on nutrient concentrations alone. These will need to be
taken into account in the broader scale MSFD assessments. A list of the relevant
WFD water bodies is under development in liaison with the Environment Agency (not
yet available).
Pressures and Risks
The risk of eutrophication depends on the presence of a relevant pressure. This is
the input of anthropogenic nutrients from various land-based sources, delivered to
the sea via rivers, ground water and the atmosphere [and sea-based sources,
although the latter are normally relatively small at the [sub] regional scale]. As part
of the risk based approach to the descriptor there is a need to monitor changes in
the loading of nutrients over time, to determine whether pressure on the marine
environment is increasing or decreasing.
The starting point for the management of risks due to eutrophication is the Initial
Assessment (based on the OSPAR Comprehensive Procedure Assessment) for this
descriptor [but will also need to reflect any significant sensitivities related to other
descriptors especially those related to biodiversity, non-indigenous species, food
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webs and sea floor integrity]. Eutrophication status is well established in UK waters
through assessments carried out for OSPAR (published in 2002 and 2008) and
assessments for the purposes of the Urban Waste Water treatment Directive, the
Nitrates Directive and the Water Framework Directive. The 2002 OSPAR
assessment entailed a screening procedure which identified obvious non-problem
areas and areas to be assessed using the Comprehensive Procedure. The outcome
of this assessment was the identification of non-problem areas, potential problem
areas and problem areas. Most of the problem areas were small estuaries and
embayments. The UK assessment also identified some coastal non-problem areas
which were of ‘ongoing concern’ due to high nutrient inputs and nutrient enrichment.
These latter areas were to be subject to enhanced monitoring to increase the
assessed confidence that they were non-problem areas. The second application of
the Common Procedure reported in 2008, confirmed that UK marine waters were all
non problem areas based on a further screening assessment, full application of the
Comprehensive Procedure or assessments conducted for the purposes of the
relevant directives. The pressure from nutrient inputs is decreasing in all regions
apart from the southern North Sea where the pressure has remained the same.
The design of the risk approach should follow both the level of risk and the steps
required to satisfy a diagnosis of eutrophication. For example, if anthropogenic
nutrient pressures are present or increasing then evidence of nutrient enrichment is
required; if nutrient enrichment is present or increasing then evidence of accelerated
growth (elevated chlorophyll concentrations or primary production) is required; if
accelerated growth is present or increasing then evidence of undesirable disturbance
(e.g. changes in floristic composition) will be required. The evidence needed would
differ between areas of unknown status and previously identified Problem Areas,
where a full suite of relevant indicators supporting a Comprehensive Procedure
assessment would be required, and Non-Problem Areas, where selected indicators
would be used to demonstrate that status was being maintained. An integral part of
the approach to managing risk for both problem and non-problem areas would be the
use of models to both guide the application of any measures and define the extent in
both space and time of monitoring required to demonstrate progress towards, or
maintaining, target status. Special attention would be given to areas where one or
more of the overlapping WFD coastal water bodies was at less than good status to
determine the extent to which there is an impact at the larger scale.
Implications for monitoring
To be developed separately following agreement on UK indicators and targets.
Criterion 5.1 Nutrient Levels
Qualitative Criterion Target: Nutrient concentrations arising from anthropogenic
nutrient inputs do not lead to or pose a risk of undesirable disturbance [adverse
effects] resulting from any associated accelerated growth.
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Indicator 5.1.1 - Nutrient concentration in the water column
Type of targets
There is sufficient information available for most waters to set quantitative thresholds
for assessing nutrient concentrations (to diagnose nutrient enrichment). However,
from an ecological perspective and in the context of European case law, nutrient
enrichment alone is not considered sufficient to diagnose eutrophication. Therefore,
although these thresholds are useful for eutrophication assessment, we should not
set a specific concentration target but targets for this indicator will be based on
change over time.
Data would be derived from the OSPAR Eutrophication Monitoring Programme,
where for Non-Problem Areas monitoring is required ‘about every 3 years in winter’
and for Problem Areas, every year. There is a need to review the current monitoring
programme.
Define the targets
It is proposed, therefore, that the target for Non-Problem Areas would be no
increase in the nutrient concentration resulting from anthropogenic nutrient
inputs, assessed using data from periodic surveys and for Problem Areas a
deceasing trend in nutrient concentration resulting from anthropogenic
nutrient inputs over a [10] year period..
Baseline for targets
The baseline for the target is the current nutrient concentration (as defined in the
Initial Assessment), reflecting the outcome of the Second Application of the OSPAR
Common Procedure and described in Charting Progress 2 and the CSSEG Feeder
Report.
Thresholds for assessment are also defined in the OSPAR Common Procedure –
nutrient enrichment is defined using a threshold that is no more than 50% above an
assessment area specific background concentration.
Indicator 5.1.2 - Nutrient ratios (silica, nitrogen and phosphorus), where appropriate
Type of targets
There is sufficient information available for most waters to assess nutrient ratios
against the Redfield ratio and is already reported for nitrogen:phosphorus ratios. It is
a useful assessment parameter as part of the overall methodology but while specific
targets are not proposed, information about changing ratios of nitrogen, phosphorus
and silicon should continue to be collected periodically in Non-Problem Areas and
every year in Problem Areas.
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Criterion 5.2 Direct effects of nutrient enrichment
Qualitative Criterion Target: The direct effects of nutrient enrichment resulting from
anthropogenic nutrient inputs do not constitute or contribute to an undesirable
disturbance [adverse effects].
Indicator 5.2.1 - Chlorophyll concentration in the water column
Type of targets
There is sufficient information available for most waters to set quantitative thresholds
for assessing chlorophyll concentration (to diagnose accelerated growth). However,
setting concentration targets for water bodies would need to be type specific and, if
set, would risk losing sight of the need to weigh a broader range of evidence in order
to diagnose eutrophication. Therefore, we should not set concentration targets but
targets for this indicator will be based on change over time.
Data would be derived from the OSPAR Eutrophication Monitoring Programme
where for Problem Areas monitoring is required every year. There is no requirement
to monitor chlorophyll concentrations in Non-Problem Areas, though it would be
prudent to do so as part of managing risk and if this can be carried out costeffectively using, for example, remote sensing and appropriate ground-truth and if
there is evidence of nutrient enrichment.
Define the targets
It is proposed that the target for Problem Areas would be a decreasing trend in the
chlorophyll 90%ile in the growing season over a [10] year period [linked to
decreasing anthropogenic nutrient input]. In the case of Non-Problem Areas the
target would be no increase in the chlorophyll 90%ile in the growing season
[linked to increasing anthropogenic nutrient inputs] based on periodic
surveys, where monitoring data is available.
Baseline for targets
The baseline for the target is the current chlorophyll concentration, as defined in the
Initial Assessment, reflecting the outcome of the Second Application of the OSPAR
Common Procedure as described in Charting Progress 2 and the CSSEG Feeder
Report.
Thresholds for assessment are also defined in the OSPAR Common Procedure –
elevated chlorophyll is defined as being above the region specific 90%ile threshold.
Indicator 5.2.2 - Water transparency related to increase in suspended algae, where
relevant
This parameter is not currently used in our assessments of eutrophication. For UK
[coastal] waters the relationship between water transparency and increased algal
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biomass is difficult to interpret because of the influence of tidally resuspended
organic matter and terrestrial sources of optically active compounds that influence
transparency. For these reasons, water transparency would be an ambiguous
indicator. No indicators or targets are proposed.
Indicator 5.2.3 - Abundance of opportunistic macroalgae
This indicator will be relevant for intertidal and shallow sub-tidal areas of coastal
waters which are already covered by the WFD. Any identified disturbance would be
managed through WFD programmes of measures. Given that the geographic extent
of the area covered by this indicator is relatively small, consideration will be needed
to determine the weight attached to the indicator in relation to setting targets at [sub]
regional scale.
Type of targets
There is sufficient quantitative information available for many water bodies and the
WFD opportunistic macroalgae classification tool sets thresholds to diagnose less
than good status.
Data would be derived from the relevant WFD monitoring programme1
Define the targets
It is proposed that the target [for Problem Areas] would be to achieve good status
assessed using the WFD opportunistic macroalgae tool. The equivalent concept
in OSPAR is to avoid ‘shifts from long lived species to short lived opportunistic
species’.
Baseline for targets
The baseline for the target is the current status defined in the relevant WFD
classification. The WFD opportunistic macroalgae tool sets out reference conditions.
Indicator 5.2.4 - Species shift in floristic composition such as diatom to flagellate
ratio, benthic to pelagic shifts, as well as bloom events of nuisance/toxic algal
blooms (e.g. cyanobacteria) caused by human activities
This is a critical indicator of undesirable disturbance but requires further technical
development to ensure that it is fit for purpose. There are a of number starting points
including the OSPAR COMPP ‘phytoplankton indicator species’ approach, the WFD
1
Reference to WFD monitoring programme
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phytoplankton tool, and various phytoplankton indices2. We have consistently
rejected the simple ‘phytoplankton indicator species’ approach as there are no
species that can be used as universal indicators for the plankton (though there are
specific species that can be used in specific locations). The last UK application of
the OSPAR Common Procedure adopted an expert judgement approach supported
by the, then developing, WFD Phytoplankton Tool to assess plankton status.
Scientific developments since then have pointed to a number of different
approaches, of which, assessment based on life-form indices is considered to show
considerable utility. In operation, the targets will require the adoption of a
eutrophication relevant plankton index.
Type of targets
There is a developing body of information, particularly for coastal waters covered by
the WFD, including data from long term monitoring stations and the CPR survey that
can be used to address the targets set.
Define the targets
For Non-Problem Areas, the target should be that there is no trend in a
eutrophication relevant plankton index that is attributable to increasing
anthropogenic nutrient loading, winter nutrient concentrations or a trend in
winter nutrient ratios, and for Problem Areas the target should be that there is a
trend in a eutrophication relevant plankton index that is attributable to
decreasing anthropogenic nutrient loading, winter nutrient concentrations or a
trend in winter nutrient ratios
Another possible target relating to harmful algal blooms and biotoxin events in
shellfish may be appropriate, as follows. For Non-Problem Areas a target could be
that there is no increase in the occurrence (frequency, spatial or temporal
extent) of harmful algal blooms and biotoxin in shellfish events that is
attributable to increasing anthropogenic nutrient loading, and resultant winter
nutrient concentrations or nutrient ratios3and for Problem Areas that there should
be a decrease in the occurrence (frequency, spatial or temporal extent) of
harmful algal blooms and biotoxin in shellfish events that is attributable to
decreasing anthropogenic nutrient loading, and resultant winter nutrient
concentrations or nutrient ratios
2
Development work is underway in parallel with consideration with indicators for plankton and pelagic
habitat supporting Descriptors 1, 4 and 6.
3
Opinion is divided as to the usefulness of these targets based on biotoxin in shellfish events as there
is evidence that there is no link to nutrient enrichment in UK waters.
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Data may be derived from the OSPAR Eutrophication Monitoring Programme (with
respect to Problem Areas) [and could be supplemented by information from the
Continuous Plankton Recorder]. Data on the occurrence of toxin producing
phytoplankters (and other harmful/nuisance species) and biotoxins in shellfish are
routinely collected for coastal waters around the UK.
Baseline for targets
The baseline for the targets is the current status, as defined in the Initial
Assessment and described in Charting Progress 2 and the CSSEG Feeder Report.
Some development work is required to make the plankton indices [and biotoxin
related indicators] operational. Due consideration should be given to work already
carried out to support WFD classifications and previous OSPAR COMPP
assessments.
Criterion 5.3 Indirect effects of nutrient enrichment
Qualitative Criterion Target: The indirect effects of nutrient enrichment resulting from
anthropogenic nutrient input do not constitute an undesirable disturbance [adverse
effect].
Indicator 5.3.1 - Abundance of perennial seaweeds and seagrasses (e.g. fucoids,
eelgrass and Neptune grass) adversely impacted by a decrease in water
transparency
This indicator will be relevant for intertidal and shallow sub-tidal areas of coastal
waters which are already covered by the WFD. Any identified disturbance would be
managed through WFD programmes of measures. Given that the geographic extent
of the area covered by this indicator is relatively small, consideration will be needed
to determine the weight attached to the indicator in relation to setting targets at [sub]
regional scale.
Type of targets
There is sufficient quantitative information available for many water bodies and the
WFD macroalgae and seagrass classification tools sets thresholds to diagnose less
than good ecological status.
Data would be derived from the relevant WFD monitoring programme.
Define the targets
It is proposed that the target [for Problem Areas] would be to achieve or maintain
good status assessed using the WFD macroalgae and seagrass tools. The
equivalent concept in OSPAR is ‘shifts from long lived species to short lived
opportunistic species’’.
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Baseline for targets
The baseline for the target is the current status defined in the relevant WFD
classification. The WFD macroalgae and seagrass tools set out reference
conditions.
Indicator 5.3.2 - Dissolved oxygen, i.e. changes due to increased organic matter4
decomposition and size of the area concerned.
Type of targets
There is sufficient information available for most waters to set quantitative thresholds
for assessing oxygen concentration (to support a diagnosis of undesirable
disturbance).
Data would be derived from the OSPAR Eutrophication Monitoring Programme
where for Problem Areas monitoring is required every year. There is no requirement
to monitor oxygen concentrations in Non-Problem Areas though it may/would be
prudent to do so if this can be carried out cost-effectively using, for example, a
combination of in situ instrumentation and models.
Define the targets
The first target should be oxygen concentrations [or 5%ile] in bottom waters
should remain above area specific assessment levels (which for concentrations
are likely to be in the range 4 – 6 mg/l) that are related to anthropogenic input of
nutrients.
The second target should be that there should be no kills in benthic animal
species as a result of oxygen deficiency that are related to anthropogenic
input of nutrients.
Evaluation
Evaluate each indicator against all the criteria in the attached spreadsheet.
MSFD GES indicator
assessment template
4
Organic matter is from increased algal biomass as a result of accelerated growth fuelled by
anthropogenic nutrients. It is not organic matter from terrestrial sources (human derived or natural).
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Summary Table of Targets and Indicators for Descriptor 5.
The three qualitative criterion targets and targets set for the associated indicators, taken holistically, support the overall eutrophication target - there should be
no undesirable disturbance [adverse effects] [at the scale of the (sub) region] resulting from anthropogenic nutrient inputs. Eutrophication status is diagnosed
by application of the OSPAR Common Procedure. Failure with respect to any individual indicator does not, on its own, lead to identification of eutrophication
problems.
Criteria
5.1 Nutrients
levels
Criterion Targets
(describing
desired
conditions)
Nutrient
enrichment arising
from
anthropogenic
nutrient inputs
does not lead to
undesirable
disturbance
[adverse effects]
resulting from any
associated
accelerated
growth.
Commission
Indicator
 Nutrients
concentration in
the water
column (5.1.1)
This is the main
indicator for
nutrient
enrichment.
 Nutrient ratios
(silica, nitrogen
and
phosphorus)
where
appropriate
Indicators - based on the Initial Assessment
Non-Problem Area
2007/2010
 no increase in the
assessed dissolved
inorganic nitrogen
and phosphorus
concentration,
resulting from
anthropogenic
nutrient input using
data from periodic
surveys
Problem Area
2007/2010
 a deceasing trend
in dissolved
inorganic nitrogen
and phosphorus
concentration,
resulting from
anthropogenic
nutrient input, over
a [10] year period.
 no specific target
(information is still
used in diagnosis of
eutrophication)
 no specific target
(information is still
used in diagnosis of
eutrophication)
5
Taken from HASEC 2011 Summary Record, Annex 10. Draft advice document on GES descriptor 5.
Page 25 of 337
OSPAR Area Specific Assessment level
(threshold) 5
Elevated levels of winter DIN and/or DIP
not exceeding 50% from background.
Elevated winter N/P ratio (Redfield N/P =
16)
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report (appendix)
Criteria
Criterion Targets
(describing
desired
conditions)
Commission
Indicator
Indicators - based on the Initial Assessment
OSPAR Area Specific Assessment level
(threshold) 5
Non-Problem Area
2007/2010
Problem Area
2007/2010
 no increase in the
chlorophyll 90%ile in
the growing season
[linked to increasing
anthropogenic
nutrient input] based
on periodic surveys
 a decreasing trend
in the chlorophyll
90%ile in the
growing season
over a [10] year
period [linked to
decreasing
anthropogenic
nutrient input.]
Justified area-specific % deviation from
background not exceeding 50%
 Water
transparency
related to
increase in
suspended
algae, where
relevant (5.2.2)
 Abundance of
opportunistic
macroalgae
(5.2.3)
No indicator proposed
due to difficulty of
interpretation in UK
waters.
No indicator
proposed due to
difficulty of
interpretation in UK
waters.
n/a
 Species shift in
floristic
composition
such as diatom
to flagellate
ratio, benthic to
pelagic shifts, as
well as bloom
If there is evidence of
nutrient enrichment
and accelerated
growth then
(5.1.2)
5.2 - Direct
effects of
nutrient
enrichment
The direct effects
of nutrient
enrichment
resulting from
anthropogenic
nutrient inputs
do not constitute
or contribute to
undesirable
disturbance
[adverse effects].
Page 26 of 337
 Chlorophyll
concentration in
the water
column (5.2.1)
This is the main
indicator for
accelerated
growth.
 no trend in a
eutrophication
relevant plankton
index that is
 WFD opportunistic
macroalgae tool at
good status
Shift from long lived species to short
lived nuisance species (e.g. Ulva).
Elevated levels (biomass or area
covered) of opportunistic green
macroalgae.
 changes in a
eutrophication
relevant plankton
index that is
attributable to
decreases in
anthropogenic
nutrient loading,
Elevated levels of nuisance/toxic
phytoplankton indicator species (and
increased duration of blooms)
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report (appendix)
Criteria
Criterion Targets
(describing
desired
conditions)
Commission
Indicator
events of
nuisance/toxic
algal blooms
(e.g.
cyanobacteria)
caused by
human activities
(5.2.4)
5.3 Indirect
effects of
nutrient
enrichment
Indirect effects of
nutrient
enrichment do
not constitute an
adverse effect
(undesirable
disturbance)
Indicators - based on the Initial Assessment
Non-Problem Area
2007/2010
attributable to
increases in nutrient
loading, winter
nutrient
concentrations or
trends in nutrient
ratios.
 Abundance of
perennial
seaweeds and
seagrasses (e.g.
fucoids,
eelgrass and
Neptune grass)
adversely
impacted by
6
Further work required as indicator has not been tested in operation.
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OSPAR Area Specific Assessment level
(threshold) 5
Problem Area
2007/2010
winter nutrient
concentrations or
trends in nutrient
6
ratios .
 [decrease in the
occurrence of
harmful algal
blooms and biotoxin
in shellfish events
that is attributable
to decreases in
nutrient loading,
winter nutrient
concentrations or
trends in nutrient
ratios]
 WFD tools
(macroalgae and
seagrass) at good
status
Shift from long-lived species to short
lived nuisance species (e.g. Ulva)
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report (appendix)
Criteria
Criterion Targets
(describing
desired
conditions)
Commission
Indicator
Indicators - based on the Initial Assessment
Non-Problem Area
2007/2010
decrease in
water
transparency
(5.3.1)
 Dissolved
oxygen, i.e.
changes due to
increased
organic matter
decomposition
and size of the
area concerned
(5.3.2).
OSPAR Area Specific Assessment level
(threshold) 5
Problem Area
2007/2010
 Oxygen
[concentrations/5%i
le] in bottom waters
should remain
above area-specific
oxygen assessment
levels (e.g. 4 – 6
mg/l).
Decreased oxygen levels
Lowered % saturation
 There should be no
kills in benthic
animal species as a
result of oxygen
deficiency that are
directly related to
anthropogenic input
of nutrients
ECJ (2009) European Court of Justice ruling of 10 December 2009 Case C-390/09 Commission v United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. European Court
Report I-0
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Descriptor 7 - Permanent alteration of hydrographical conditions does
not adversely affect marine ecosystems
Definition of this descriptor is still open to discussion due to the lack of guidance from
the earlier ICES/JRC deliberations. A potential definition (from discussion within
Defra/Cefas) is:
The nature and scale of any long-term changes to the prevailing
hydrographical conditions (including but not limited to salinity, temperature,
pH and hydrodynamics) resulting from anthropogenic activities (individual and
cumulative), having taken into account climatic or long-term cyclical
processes in the marine environment, do not lead to significant negative
impacts on habitats distributions or habitat functioning or on hydrogeomorphological impacts on the seabed/coastline.
Whilst many of these impacts are potentially pertinent to UK waters, it is envisioned
that these are highly unlikely due to the highly naturally dynamic nature of UK waters
and other regulatory mechanisms (e.g. EIA Directive, SEA Directive, Water
Framework Directive, Habitats and Birds Directives, Marine Planning, Marine
Licensing) used to manage anthropogenic activities and ensure that impacts are
within safe environmental limits.
Type of targets
The MSFD (Article 10) requires that environmental targets are set ‘on the basis of
the initial assessment’. A range of high quality quantitative records are available for
key parameters (waves, tidal currents, salinity etc) from a number of established
monitoring programs e.g. SmartBuoy, WaveNet, Marine Scotland Science’s coastal
Long Term Monitoring network, and JONSIS, Nolso-Flugga, Fair Isle-Munken and
Ellett sections which could be converted into a number of indicators. However, these
tend to be spatially limited and vulnerable to budgetary changes.
At present there is insufficient information of this descriptor on which to define
quantitative targets and thresholds. However, operational targets can be described
that set out how GES can be met through existing regulatory mechanisms.
Any assessment of D7 should be undertaken in conjunction with other targets,
especially targets for D1 - Biodiversity, D4 - Food webs and D6 – Sea floor integrity.
Any anthropogenic effects relevant to D7 will be manifested as impacts on D1, D4,
and D6 as well as D7 itself. A potential structure with which to assess targets under
D7 is shown in Figure A1-1.
Firstly, all developments are assessed under existing regulatory mechanisms, which
take into account the impacts of any change in hydrological conditions. Any
assessment of change must already include cumulative effects, and should be
assessed at an appropriate spatial scale under the different regulatory mechanisms.
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If appropriate guidance is given to inform the existing regulatory mechanisms it is
unlikely that any further assessment would be required. Such guidance could set out
what should be assessed with regard to changes in hydrographic conditions and
should cover the spatial extent of any change, the volume of disturbed sediment and
the modification to energy within the hydrographic regime, and could set out
thresholds which would be considered as constituting significant impact. The
impacts on D1, D4 and D6 should also be considered.
Review under National Legislation/EIAs
and existing EU Directives e.g. WFD
Physical Impacts
Biological Impacts
Spatial Extent
Volume of sediment
Modification of Energy
Descriptor 1 - Biodiversity
Descriptor 4- Food webs
Descriptor 6 – Sea floor
Integrity
Modification of Energy
7.1.1 Assessment
required (permanent
changes to Hydrographic
regime)
7.2.1 Assessment
required (Spatial extent
of habitats impacted)
7.2.2 Assessment
required (Habitat
Functioning)
Figure A1-1. A potential structure with which to assess targets under D7
Scale of targets
As with the assessment of eutrophication status, hydrographic assessment is carried
out on units or water bodies that are defined largely by physical factors such as
depth, stratification, tidal forcing and wave exposure. This [eco]hydrodynamic
approach results in large scale regional water bodies which are the appropriate scale
for target setting under MSFD as local effects would be captured in site specific
assessments for individual developments. One example of the potential scales of
assessment is shown in Figure A1-2 delineating the OSPAR assessment
boundaries. There is, as yet, no clear way of combining assessments from
[eco]hydrodynamic zones into an overall assessment at the MSFD regional scale.
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There may be overlaps in the assessment in terms of Water Framework Directive
(WFD) water bodies and River Basin Management Plans as riverine inputs and
coastline developments could impact both WFD and MSFD, i.e. the WFD and RBMP
assessments would be the inputs into a wider scale assessment under MSFD where
larger geographical scale processes may occur (e.g. fronts, shelf mixing events,
seasonal stratification). However, it is envisioned that WFD will capture the majority
of issues associated with any impacts of developments in estuarine and coastal
waters but will not capture offshore locations e.g. Dogger Bank. Regulators should
ensure that any development that has far field impacts considers those impacts
during the marine licensing and planning process.
Figure A1-2. Draft Eco-hydrodynamic zones in the North Sea as modelled by Cefas using GETM (pers
com Dave Mills)
Criterion 7.1 - Spatial characterisation of permanent alterations
Indicator 7.1.1 - Extent of area affected by permanent alterations
Type of targets

There is sufficient information available for only a relatively small number of
key monitoring sites with which a permanent change of hydrographic
conditions could be detected. These sites may not be where potential
[eco]hydrodynamic pressures or impacts may be encountered. Many sites
around the UK exhibit large seasonal and annual natural variations (e.g. river
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
estuaries, frontal regions associated with either seasonally stratified regions
or permanent fronts as well as deep water pumping onto the UK continental
shelf) which will need to be differentiated from anthropogenic impacts. Multi decadal numerical model hindcast datasets may enable annual and climate
trend signals to be differentiated from anthropogenic signals.
Data would be derived from a variety of sources including ICES, regional
observation systems such as North West Shelf Operational Oceanographic
System (NOOS) and national data-centres (including the commercial sector
e.g. Oil & Gas and renewables) and would be integrated using a systematic
approach such as the EMECO tool (www.emecodata.net).
Define the targets

High Certainty of achieving GES
Developments above specific disturbance thresholds (e.g. spatial extent,
volume of disturbed sediment, modification of energy / hydrographic regimes)
would require a more detailed assessment of the area of permanent
hydrographic alteration. Due to uncertainties in data, specific thresholds have
not been set at present. Further work will be required to define these levels.

Probable Certainty of achieving GES
All developments must comply with the existing UK regulatory regime and
guidance should be followed to ensure that regulatory assessments are
undertaken in a way which ensures the full consideration of any potential
cumulative effects at the most appropriate spatial scales to ensure GES is not
compromised.
Baseline for targets


The baseline for the target will need to be assessed both spatially and
temporally due to the large natural variability of physical oceanographic
processes and parameters.
Thresholds for assessment are not defined in the OSPAR Common
Procedure with the exception of Oxygen deficiency in Category III.1. These
thresholds would need to be developed and could be potentially assessed as
exceeding at 5% or 95% annual average.
Criterion 7.2 - Impact of permanent Hydrographic changes
Indicator 7.2.1 - Spatial extent of habitats affected by the permanent alteration
Type of targets

Whilst at first review this indicator is straight forward, closer investigation
uncovers a number of issues. Note in this context a habitat is defined as a
physical habitat e.g. substrate, tidal flow, temperature, etc, rather than either a
distinct biotope or a succession of biotopes. Firstly, only approximately 10%
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of the UKCS has been surveyed in sufficient detail to establish a benthic
baseline. The remainder of the seabed has been predictively modelled to
produce large scale habitat maps. Secondly, very few sites (only localised
areas such as a handful of aggregate extraction sites and Lundy (?)) have
underdone repeated survey to determine the variability in the de-lineation of
the boundaries between habitats. Thirdly, distinguishing impacts from a
reference site may take several years to identify. This indicator overlaps with
indicator 6.1.2 - Extent of seabed significantly affected by human activities for
different substrate types. For these reasons, an operational target is most
appropriate.
Define the targets

High Certainty of achieving GES
Developments above specific disturbance thresholds (e.g. spatial extent,
volume of disturbed sediment, modification of energy / hydrographic regimes)
would require a more detailed assessment of the spatial extent of habitats
affected by permanent hydrographic alteration. Due to uncertainties in data,
specific thresholds have not been set at present. Further work will be
required to define these levels.

Probable Certainty of achieving GES
All developments must comply with the existing UK regulatory regime and
guidance should be followed to ensure that regulatory assessments are
undertaken in a way which ensures the full consideration of any potential
cumulative effects at the most appropriate spatial scales to ensure GES is not
compromised.
Baseline for targets

The baseline for the target is the current JNCC UKSeaMap 2010 which
combines both observations and predictive modelling. The Cefas EARS
(Environment Assessment References Stations (see
http://www.cefas.defra.gov.uk/alsf/projects/mitigation-andmanagement/08p75.aspx) for coarse substrates also provides a framework
for establishing local versus climatic or cyclical changes. Similar reference
sites would be established for the pelagic ecosystem.
Indicator 7.2.2 - Changes in Habitats, in particular the functions provided (e.g.
spawning, breeding and feeding areas and migration routes of fish, birds and
mammals), due to altered hydrographical conditions.
Type of targets

Whilst at first review this indicator is straight forward, closer investigation
uncovers a number of issues. Note in this context a habitat is defined as a
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physical habitat e.g. substrate, tidal flow, temperature, etc, rather than either a
distinct biotope or a succession of biotopes. Firstly, only approximately 10%
of the UKCS has been surveyed in sufficient detail to establish a benthic
baseline. The remainder of the seabed has been predictively modelled to
produce large scale habitat maps. Secondly, very few sites (only localised
areas such as a handful of aggregate extraction sites and Lundy (?)) have
underdone repeated survey to determine the variability in the de-lineation of
the boundaries between habitats. Thirdly, distinguishing impacts from a
reference site may take several years to identify. This indicator overlaps with
indicator 6.1.2 - Extent of seabed significantly affected by human activities for
different substrate types. For these reasons, an operational target is most
appropriate.

Data would be derived from the National mapping initiatives including SEAs,
site specific EIA monitoring and targeted UK Government funded programmes
e.g. CSEMP
Define the targets

High Certainty of achieving GES
Developments above specific disturbance thresholds (e.g. spatial extent,
volume of disturbed sediment, modification of energy / hydrographic regimes)
would require a more detailed assessment of the functioning of habitats
affected by permanent hydrographic alteration. Due to uncertainties in data,
specific thresholds have not been set at present. Further work will be
required to define these levels.

Probable Certainty of achieving GES
All developments must comply with the existing UK regulatory regime and
guidance should be followed to ensure that regulatory assessments are
undertaken in a way which ensures the full consideration of any potential
cumulative effects at the most appropriate spatial scales to ensure GES is not
compromised.
Baseline for targets

No specific baseline for seabed functioning of various habitats exists and as
such any target will probably be determined using ecosystem models. These
models are presently being used to establish long-term variability with 25 and
50 year hindcasts runs which could be used to establish a baseline (having
taken into account natural variability).
Evaluation
Evaluate each indicator against all the criteria in the attached spreadsheet.
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MSFD GES indicator
assessment template.
Implications for Monitoring
A detailed methodology for measuring these targets is a major challenge. There is
an inbuilt tension between requiring the developers to undertake monitoring of their
own construction and beyond their impact zone in order to develop a wider regional
context. Funding for UK Government programmes in order to establish a regional
context is under major pressure and there is unlikely to be major changes in funding.
Further work will be required to define a monitoring programme but this should be
based on existing long-term datasets. Thus, it is proposed to “adopt” a number of
key programmes (see non exhaustive sample list below) as sentinels for
hydrographic monitoring. Consideration should be made for the use of remote
sensing and also the use of numerical models as tools in the assessment process.
Technological solutions may provide a solution through the use of gliders,
Ferryboxes and passive water samplers.
Quality approved data from localised monitoring / assessment by developers
combined with standard national programmes funded by government and other
sources such as remote sensing, international programmes and numerical models
would be integrated using tools such as EMECO at the appropriate temporal and
spatial scales.
Examples of existing Long-term Hydrographic time-series:
AFBINI transects; Cefas Harwich line, SmartBuoy and WaveNet; Met Office MAWS
buoys, Marine Scotland Science - JONSIS line (N. Sea; since 1972) and Fair IsleMunken and Nolso-Flugga lines (Faroe-Shetland Channel; since 1903), Extended
Ellet line, Stonehaven/Loch Ewe ecosystem monitoring stations, coastal Long Term
Monitoring network; SAMS Tiree passage; PML Western Channel Observatory.
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Descriptor 8: Concentrations of contaminants are at levels not giving
rise to pollution effects.
Concentrations of contaminants are assessed using toxicologically-derived limit
values, such as Environmental Quality Standards (EQSs) developed by the EU for
Water Framework Directive purposes or Environmental Assessment Criteria (EACs)
developed within OSPAR for use within their Joint Assessment and Monitoring
Programme (JAMP) and Co-ordinated Environmental Monitoring Programme
(CEMP). Member States may also have set national EQSs for other compounds of
importance in their own waters. As not all contaminants will (or can) be measured,
techniques which detect the biological effects resulting from contaminant exposure,
assessing both exposure to specific contaminants, those with common modes of
action, and broad scale impacts, can be deployed to detect pollution effects.
ICES/OSPAR have developed assessment criteria for a number of biological effects
methods, based upon ranges corresponding to background, exposed and possibly
deleteriously affected (ICES WGBEC, 2010, 2011; ICES/OSPAR SGIMC 2010,
2011). Suites of chemical and biological methods which allow cause/effect
relationships to be established are being developed (within the ICES Working Group
on the Biological Effects of Contaminants; WGBEC and the joint ICES/OSPAR Study
Group on Integrated Monitoring of Contaminants and Biological Effects; SGIMC) to
facilitate an integrated approach to OSPAR monitoring in the future. As outlined in
the Commission Decision, progress towards GES will depend on whether pollution is
progressively being phased out, i.e. the presence of contaminants in the marine
environment and their biological effects are kept within acceptable limits, so as to
ensure there are no significant impacts on, or risk to, the marine environment.
The SGIMC 2011 have suggested a means by which data for a range of chemical
and biological effects measurements may be integrated and used in the assessment
of GES for Descriptor 8 (see Appendix 1. This approach is currently being tested
prior to implementation in the Clean Seas Environment Monitoring Programme
(CSEMP) using data gathered previously. Measurements of various parameters in
various environmental matrices at various stations can be progressively summarized
into simple visual representations of status at different degrees of data aggregation.
At the highest level, data for both contaminant concentrations and their effects can
be represented at MSFD sub-regional level by a single three colour “traffic light”.
The critical boundary for GES assessment should be the green – red boundary,
representing comparisons with EACs and/or EQSs. GES could be expressed as
some high percentage compliance with this boundary. 100% compliance is
impractical, as it amounts to a “one out all out” approach, and is therefore highly
susceptible to perturbations by a small number of errors in sampling, analysis or data
handling, or occasional short term variations in environmental quality. 95%
compliance at the highest level of data aggregation would be an appropriate
threshold level for GES compliance.
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Type of targets
The MSFD (Article 9) requires that environmental targets are set “on the basis of the
initial assessment”. Within WFD monitoring, initial assessments have already been
made and findings within coastal and transitional waters will help to identify individual
compounds which may be of concern under MSFD as they exceed Environmental
Quality Standards and so have the potential to exert effects further offshore; within
CP2 some mixture effects were addressed through bioassay monitoring. Results
from atmospheric monitoring on land may also help to identify other compounds
which will be deposited in offshore areas and so also may be of concern. Measures
to control terrestrial sources (e.g. direct discharges and riverine inputs) of
contamination are likely to be taken under WFD and related Directives rather than
MSFD. An integrated programme of chemical and biological effects monitoring will
be used to assess concentrations and effects of these compounds in the sea.
Scale of targets
Assessments should be made at the sub-regional scale (Greater North Sea, Celtic
Seas) which implies collaboration between Member States in determining GES.
Assessments will also need to be made on the basis of the waters of each Member
State in these sub-regions if measures are needed, to see where they should be
applied. From the assessments made under CP2, hazardous substances pose
some problems in regions 1-5, with few or no problems in regions 6-8. Main sources
to the marine environment are from rivers, the atmosphere, various industrial and
agricultural discharges and emissions. These sources are generally subject to
controls, but in some limited areas marine biota are at risk and sediments are
contaminated, particularly near the main terrestrial sources in historically
industrialised estuaries. Reservoirs of contaminants in sediments due to historical
contamination will take many years to dissipate due to the persistence of many of
these substances. These contaminated estuaries fall within the remit of WFD, but
also have relevance to MSFD assessments of GES beyond 1 nautical mile (or 3
nautical miles in Scotland) from the baseline. Areas identified as having few or no
problems in CP2 may require only occasional surveillance monitoring in the future.
Criterion 8.1 - Concentration of contaminants.
Qualitative Criterion target: Concentrations of contaminants in water, sediment or
biota do not exceed environmental target levels identified on the basis of
ecotoxicological data as outlined within community legislation and other agreements
(such as OSPAR) and are not increasing.
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Indicator 8.1.1 - Concentrations of the contaminants mentioned above (i.e. in
Decision 2010/477/EU)1 should be measured in the relevant matrix (such as biota,
sediment or water) in a way that ensures comparability with the assessments under
WFD (Directive 2000/60/EC).7,8
Type of targets
Environmental Quality Standards are available for the thirty-three substances
classed as priority hazardous substances (PHS) and priority substances (PS) and
the nine certain other pollutants under the Water Framework Directive (WFD
2000/60/EC). Concentrations of the contaminants mentioned above (i.e. in Decision
2010/477/EU) should be measured in the relevant matrix (such as biota, sediment or
water) in a way that ensures comparability with the assessments under Directive
2000/60/EC. EQSs have been set for the different water body types (fresh,
transitional and coastal) and the EQS represents the boundary between Good and
Moderate status. EQSs are required to enable assessments of the chemical status
of a water body to be made. There are two types of EQS; Environmental Quality
Standards expressed as annual average concentration (AA-EQS) and Environmental
Quality Standards expressed as maximum allowable concentrations (MAC-EQS).
Additional EQSs have been set for hexachlorobenzene, hexachlorobutadiene and
mercury in biota. The EQS Directive (2008/105/EC) also requires monitoring for
trend analysis of substances that accumulate in sediments and/or biota. Member
States may also have set national EQSs for other compounds of importance in their
own waters, and these can also be used in assessments. The UK has developed a
number of these, solely in water to date, but, under Directive 2008/105/EC on
Environmental Quality Standards in the Field of Water Policy, it is intended to
7
Those substances or groups of substances, where relevant to the marine environment, that:



Exceed the relevant Environmental Quality Standards set out pursuant to Article 2(35) and
Annex V to Directive 2000/60/EC in coastal or territorial waters adjacent to the marine region
or sub-region, be it in water, sediment or biota; and/or:
Are listed as priority substances in Annex X to Directive 2000/60/EC and further regulated in
Directive 2008/105/EC, which are discharged into the concerned marine region, sub-region or
subdivision; and/or:
Are contaminants and their total releases (including losses, discharges or emissions) may
entail significant risks to the marine environment from past and present pollution in the marine
region, sub-region or subdivision concerned, including as a consequence of acute pollution
events following incidents involving, for instance, hazardous and noxious substances.
8
Progress towards GES will depend on whether pollution is being progressively phased out, i.e., the
presence of contaminants in the marine environment and their biological effects are kept within
acceptable limits, so as to ensure that there are no significant impacts on, or risk to, the marine
environment.
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develop EQS values for some other chemicals in biota and sediments. When
developed, these may take precedence over OSPAR EACs for MSFD purposes.
Further relevant assessment criteria have been developed through OSPAR
processes to permit assessments of state to be made. At present, a set of
Background Concentrations (BCs), Background Assessment Concentrations (BACs)
and Environmental Assessment Criteria (EACs) have been developed for CEMP
determinands in sediment, and biota, where this has been possible. Where the
setting of EACs has not been possible, other assessment criteria have been used
within CP2, including EC Food Regulation limits and Effects Range (ER) values.
These provide two transition points (T0 and T1) for an associated traffic light system
(http://www.ospar.org/v_publications/download.asp?v1=p00461). This traffic light
system was adopted by OSPAR for use in the recent Quality Status Report
(QSR2010) and was also used in the UK in the preparation of Charting Progress 2.
For contaminants, the traffic light system used in the QSR comprises four colours;
blue, green, amber and red. The colours have the following meaning:

Blue:

Green:

Amber:

Red:
Status is acceptable. Concentrations are near background for
naturally occurring substances (e.g. PAHs, trace metals) or
close to zero for man-made substances (e.g. PCBs, PBDEs).
This is the aim of the OSPAR Hazardous Substances Strategy.
Status is acceptable. Concentrations of contaminants are at
levels where it can be assumed that few or no risks are posed to
the environment and its living resources at the population or
community level.
Status is uncertain. Concentrations of metals in biota are lower
than EU regulatory limits for fish and shellfish and above
background, but the extent of risk of pollution effects is
uncertain.
Status is unacceptable. Concentrations of contaminants are at
levels where there is a risk of unacceptable chronic or acute
effects occurring in marine species, including the most sensitive
species.
The first transition points (T0, blue to green) for all contaminants in sediment and
biota are the OSPAR BACs. Where available, the Environmental Assessment
Criteria (EACs) were used as the upper Assessment Criterion (T1, green to red).
The transition from red to green implies a transition from an unacceptable risk, to a
state which is acceptable and poses little or no risk. Therefore the use of “green”
has a relationship to “Good Environmental Status”. Where EACs were not available
alternative approaches were used, such as the US EPA Effects Range (ER) values,
which were used as the second transition point (green/red) for metals and PAH in
sediment. For metals in biota, there are no EACs and so the EU dietary limits were
used as the second transition point, with amber replacing green. The use of amber
rather than green recognises the concern over the relevance of EU dietary limits as
criteria for biological effects assessment.
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However, there is a need to develop additional assessment criteria for the
substances and effects to be addressed under MSFD. Further development of
EACs is underway through a study group (Intersessional Correspondence Group on
Environmental Assessment Criteria- ICG-EACs) of the OSPAR Working Group on
Monitoring and Trends and Effects of Substances in the Marine Environment (MIME)
during 2011. Within this work programme, EACs will be finalised for PAH and metals
in sediments, metals in mussels and oysters, and metals in fish. EACs will also be
developed for polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), dioxin-like CBs, alkylated
PAH, tributyltin (TBT) in biota, perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS), and dioxins and
furans. Proposed EACs will be tabled at the OSPAR MIME meeting to be held in
December 2011. OSPAR has also established an Intersessional Correspondence
Group for the Implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
The assessment criteria currently available for substances currently classed as
PHS/PS by WFD and for OSPAR CEMP and pre-CEMP contaminants are shown in
Table A1-1.
Although the introduction of radionuclides is included as a pressure in Table 2 of
Annex 3 of the MSFD, these substances only need to be addressed for the purposes
of the initial assessment. Advice from the European Commission in its recent Staff
Working Paper9 is that “as indicated in the recitals of Directive, Art. 30 and 31 of the
Euratom Treaty regulate discharges and emissions resulting from the use of radioactive material and the Directive should therefore not address them”. Therefore
targets for radionuclides have not been formulated.
Define the targets

It is proposed therefore that the target for this indicator is: Concentrations of
substances identified within relevant legislation and international obligations
are below the concentrations at which adverse effects are likely to occur (e.g.
are less than EQSs applied within WFD; and/or EACs applied within OSPAR).
OSPAR EACs (sediment and biota) and WFD EQS (water) are the most appropriate
criteria for defining GES. EACs are available for some CEMP determinands (in
sediment and biota) but are under development for others and for pre-CEMP
determinands. EQS (AA-EQS and MAC-EQS), are available for water (but also for
mercury, hexachlorobenzene and hexachlorobutadiene in biota). Further sediment
and biota EQSs are likely to be established within WFD. Concentrations of
contaminants in water are generally below current United Kingdom-set EQSs
9
Relationship between the initial assessment of marine waters and the criteria for good environmental
status: Draft April 2011.
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(Charting Progress 2), but some WFD EQS values may be more stringent. Where
contaminant concentrations in coastal and transitional waters exceed WFD EQSs, or
where other compounds not determined within WFD are of concern or where there
are significant direct inputs to offshore waters (e.g. due to atmospheric transport and
subsequent deposition, or significant discharges from offshore sources such as
produced water) MSFD monitoring will be needed. Contaminant monitoring is
currently undertaken in biota and sediment within the CSEMP to fulfil UK
commitments to OSPAR. Comparison of these measured concentrations and of
levels of biological effects to the upper assessment criteria (EACs, if available) may
be used in the assessment of GES, although spatial coverage may need to be
improved, particularly in offshore areas where data are relatively sparse.
The full suite of OSPAR ecological quality objectives, when developed, are intended
to express the desired qualities of the ecosystem and so are relevant to GES.
Baseline for targets

The MSFD (Article 4) lists 10 sub-regions for monitoring purposes. The
relevant sub-regions for the UK are:

The Greater North Sea, including the Kattegat and the English Channel

The Celtic seas
 Member States may also, if they wish, define smaller sub-divisions for
assessment purposes as the UK has for CP2. A decision will need to be
taken about whether the UK will report on a sub-region or sub-division basis.
 Existing datasets from which an initial assessment could be made at the subregional scale include monitoring for OSPAR purposes, and for CP2 and
associate publications, through the UK Clean Seas Environment Monitoring
Programme (organic contaminants and metals in sediments and biota) and
WFD (mainly contaminants in water, though more monitoring may be
undertaken in sediments and biota in the future, once additional relevant
EQSs have been set), and other research studies. Much of the data will be of
use for Descriptor 8, however, there may be limitations in the spatial coverage
of the datasets, particularly in more offshore areas.
Scale of targets
The appropriate spatial scale for full data aggregation is the MSFD sub-regional
level. In order to include all relevant data in the assessment at this scale,
collaboration with neighbouring Member States will be needed. Depending on the
contaminant, a tendency of increasing, decreasing or stable concentrations may be
observed over various time-scales. Considerable efforts have been made over the
past decades to develop robust procedures for the determination of temporal trends
in contaminant concentrations within OSPAR, and procedures developed for MSFD
purposes should build on that experience. In order not to lose information relating to
temporal trends, concentrations determined must be expressed in absolute terms
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rather than in relation to an environmental standard (above/below a guideline or
assessment value).
Criterion 8.2 - Effects of contaminants.
Qualitative Criterion Target: The effects of contaminants on selected biological
processes and taxonomic groups, where a cause/effect relationship has been
established, are kept within acceptable levels.
Indicator 8.2.1 - Levels of pollution effects on the ecosystem components concerned,
having regard to the selected biological processes and taxonomic groups where a
cause/effect relationship has been established and needs to be monitored.
Type of targets
The process begun within ICES/OSPAR to develop guidelines for integrated
chemical and biological effects monitoring has established assessment criteria
(Background and Elevated Response Levels; analogous to Background Assessment
Concentrations and Environmental Assessment Criteria) for a range of biological
effects techniques, and these can be used as targets within MSFD. The
ICES/OSPAR Study Group on Integrated Monitoring of Contaminants and Biological
Effects, SGIMC (ICES, 2009, 2010, 2011) and its predecessor, the ICES/OSPAR
Workshop on Integrated Monitoring of Contaminants and their Effects in Coastal and
Open-sea Areas, WKIMON (ICES, 2008) have developed a framework of
assessment criteria for contaminant-related biological effects techniques.
Considering the outputs from these expert groups in relation to the requirements of
the MSFD, it is suggested that only biological effects tools that meet the following
standards and have been adopted by the OSPAR Commission10 are considered for
inclusion in monitoring programmes, which aim to deliver outputs for defining GES
under Descriptor 8.
(1) Internationally accepted assessment criteria must be developed (or at an
advanced stage of development), such as those developed under WKIMON
and SGIMC (ICES, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011).
(2) Data collection should be in agreement with OSPAR JAMP /UKMMAS
Guidelines and submission formats should accord with internationally agreed
protocols, such as those developed within ICES.
10
Integrated chemical and biological effects assessment schemes have not so far been adopted by
OSPAR (as at June 2011) but have been proposed to OSPAR in advice prepared by ICES. The
schemes proposed by ICES are being trialled by the OSPAR MIME Working Group to see how they
might best be used in a combined approach.
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(3) An internationally recognised Quality Assurance (QA) programme should
be in place (e.g., such as those run under the auspices of BEQUALM
(http://www.bequalm.org/), and QUASIMEME (http://www.quasimeme.org), or
that are developed/coordinated through ICES WGBEC.
(4) The proposed biological effect tool should have been validated and have
appropriate quality assurance protocols in place.
Biological effect tools that meet these criteria and are currently used under the
existing Clean Seas Environment Monitoring Programme (CSEMP) or in Cefas and
MSS demonstration programmes on the integrated monitoring of contaminants and
their effects include the following, not all of which can yet be carried out on a routine
basis:
Biological Effect
Imposex
VTG in plasma; g/l
EROD
Bile metabolites (1OH pyrene)
DNA adducts; nm
adducts/mol DNA
Lysosomal
Membrane Stability
(mins)
Bioassays;
% mortality
Bioassays;
% abnormality
Fish Disease Index
Elevated
response range
Additional
information
Background
response range
High and cause for
concern
Gastropods
OSPAR Class A
B-C
≥D
Cod
≤0.23
Flounder
≤0.13
>0.23
>0.13
not relevant
not relevant
Dab (males)
147
>147
not relevant
Dab (females)
178
>178
not relevant
Flounder
 24
>24
not relevant
Dab
 0.15
0.15-22
>22
Flounder
 1.3
1.3-29
>29
Dab
1.0
> 1.0
(> 6)
Flounder
1.0
> 1.0
(> 6)
cytochemical
≥20
10-20
≤10
neutral red
retention
≥120
50-120
≤50
Sediment,
Corophium
0-30
> 30-< 60
> 60
Sediment, Arenicola
0-10
> 10-< 50
> 50
Water, copepod
0-10
> 10-< 50
> 50
Water, bivalve
embryo
0-20
> 20-< 50
> 50
Dab
< 2.5% quantile
2.5-97.5 %
quantiles
> 97.5% quantile
It is envisaged that the assessment of GES for Descriptor 8 will be based upon a
combined approach using concentrations of chemical contaminants and biological
measurements relating to the effects of pollutants on marine organisms. Biological
effects tools will be used particularly when there is a need to check whether pollution
effects are occurring in areas where concentrations of the limited range of monitored
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contaminants are at acceptable levels (as unmonitored contaminants may be
present at levels causing biological effects) or whether pollution effects are occurring
in areas where concentrations of monitored contaminants are not acceptable when
assessed against toxicologically relevant assessment criteria.
Monitoring programmes should include the assessment of concentrations of priority
contaminants in environmental matrices (water, sediment, and the tissues of biota).
The data generated can then be interpreted against assessment thresholds (EACs
and EQSs) that are aimed at protecting against the occurrence of pollution-related
effects. Biological effects will be assessed against threshold levels of response that
are indicative of significant harm to the species under investigation across marine
regions. Low levels of biological response provide reassurance that contaminants
which have not been determined by chemical analyses are not present at
concentrations which could result in toxic impacts. Further discussion (extracted
from the 2011 report of ICES/OSPAR SGIMC) of an integrated approach to the
assessment of chemical and biological effects monitoring data is given in Appendix
1.
Define the targets

The intensity of biological or ecological effects due to contaminants is below
the toxicologically-based standards established by combined ICES/OSPAR
processes within WGBEC and SGIMC (listed in Table A1-2) and agreed by
OSPAR.
Biological effect responses should fall below the “high and cause for concern” level
as defined by ICES/OSPAR (ICES, 2009, 2010, 2011).
It would also be possible for the UK to develop additional standards and apply them.
Baseline for targets

As for 8.1.1 above.
Scale of targets

As for 8.1.1 above.
Criterion 8.3 - Impact of acute pollution events
Qualitative Criterion target: Occurrence, origin (where possible), extent of significant
acute pollution events (e.g. slicks from oil and oil products) and their impact on biota
physically affected by this pollution.
Indicator 8.3.1 - Concentrations of contaminants and levels of pollution effects in
areas affected by significant acute pollution events
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Type of targets

Under the UK National Contingency Plan for Marine Pollution from Shipping
and Offshore Installations, there is a requirement to monitor “if a marine
pollution incident [a spill of oil or hazardous chemicals] is expected to have a
significant environmental impact”. A programme of integrated chemical and
biological effects monitoring appropriate to the substances lost will provide
information which will allow the scale of any environmental impact to be
assessed, as well as its potential impact on GES within the affected subregion.
Define the targets





As a wide range of oils and chemicals may be spilled, targets will be incidentspecific and will need to be derived at the time. Similarly, the monitoring to be
undertaken will be incident- and location-specific, depending on the material
spilt and the species, habitats and resources at risk. For spilled chemical
compounds for which they have been established, EACs can be used as
criteria of acceptability.
Data on discharges, emissions and spills from vessels and offshore oil and
gas installations in UK waters are compiled by ACOPS (the Advisory
Committee on Protection of the Sea) on an annual basis. However, this
mainly records the number and location of such events. The Maritime and
Coastguard Agency also issues pollution reports (POLREPs) which generally
give some estimate of the volume spilled in each case. A combination of the
two types of information may enable some assessment to be made.
The environmental quality of affected waters may be influenced by significant
pollution incidents, but the scale of the impact(s) and the spatial and temporal
scale of the pollution will determine whether GES at a sub-regional level
(Greater North Sea or Celtic Seas for the UK) is compromised as a result of
an incident.
The UK has no relevant target on the occurrence, origin and extent of acute
pollution events at the current time, but addresses individual events on a
case-by-case basis.
An OSPAR EcoQO has been set in relation to oil pollution: “The average
proportion of oiled common guillemots in all winter months (November to
April) should be 10% or less of the total found dead or dying in each of 15
areas of the North Sea over a period of at least 5 years”. This is really
targeted at chronic oil pollution (illegal discharges, diffuse inputs) rather than
single spill incidents and so the EcoQO is not appropriate for use in this
context.
Baseline for targets

As for 8.1.1 above.
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Scale of targets

As for 8.1.1 above.
Evaluation

Evaluate each indicator against all the criteria in the attached spreadsheet.
MSFD GES indicator
assessment template.
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List of priority substances in the field of water policy (from Annex II of the EQS
Directive 2008/105/EC)
Alachlor
Isoproturon
Anthracene
Lead and its compounds
Atrazine
Mercury and its compounds
Benzene
Naphthalene
Brominated diphenylethers
Nickel and its compounds
Cadmium and its compounds
Nonylphenols (4-Nonylphenol)
C10-C13 Chloroalkanes
Octylphenols (4-(1,1’,3,3’tetramethylbutyl)phenol)
Chlorfenvinphos
Chlorpyrifos
1,2-Dichloroethane
Pentachlorobenzene
Pentachlorophenol
Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
(benzo[a]pyrene, benzo[b]fluoranthene,
benzo[k]fluoranthene, benzo[ghi]perylene,
indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene).
Diuron
Simazine
Endosulfan
Tributyltin compounds (Tributyltin cation)
Fluoranthene
Trichlorobenzenes
Hexachlorobenzene
Trichloromethane (aka chloroform)
Hexachlorobutadiene
Trifluralin
Dichloromethane
Hexachlorocyclohexane
Certain other pollutants
Tetrachloromethane (aka carbon
tetrachloride)
DDT total (p,p’-DDT)
Endrin
Isodrin
Cyclodiene pesticides
Tetrachloroethene (aka
Tetrachloroethylene)
Aldrin
Trichloroethene (aka Trichloroethylene)
Dieldrin
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Table A1-1. Assessment criteria currently available for substances currently classed as PHS/PS
Type
Trace Metals
Organometallic
compounds
Group of substances / substances
OSPAR
Priority
List
WFD
cadmium
(CEMP)
lead
mercury
Water
Sediment
biota
A
EQS
BAC, ER
BAC, EC (mussels & fish flesh)
(CEMP)
B
EQS
BAC ER
BAC, EC (mussels & fish flesh)
(CEMP)
A
EQS
BAC ER
BAC, EC (mussels & fish flesh), EQS
nickel
B
EQS
copper
C
EQS
Chromium VI
C
EQS
zinc
C
EQS
arsenic
C
EQS
organic lead compounds

B
organic mercury compounds

A
(CEMP)
A

X
(preCEMP)
X
1,2,3-trichlorobenzene

B
EQS
1,2,4-trichlorobenzene

B
EQS
1,3,5-trichlorobenzene

B
EQS
organic tin compounds
Organic ester
neodecanoic acid, ethenyl ester
Organohalogens
perfluorooctanyl sulphonic acid and
its salts (PFOS)
Page 48 of 337
Assessment criteria
EQS
BAC and EAC (mussels only)
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report (appendix)
Type
Group of substances / substances
OSPAR
Priority
List
WFD
Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD)
(CEMP)
X
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers
(PBDEs)
(CEMP)
A
tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBP-A)

X
polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
(CEMP)
X
Assessment criteria
Water
Sediment
biota
BACs EACs
LV & MUS; BACs EACpassive
EQS
(pentaBDE)
LV & FL: EC TEQs for dioxins & dioxin-like
PCBs
polychlorinated dibenzodioxins
(PCDDs)
(preCEMP)
X
short chained chlorinated paraffins
(SCCP)

A
4(dimethylbutylamino)diphenylamine
(6PPD)

X
LV & FL: EC TEQs for dioxins & dioxin-like
PCBs
polychlorinated dibenzofurans
(PCDFs)
Organic nitrogen
compound
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OSPAR
Priority
List
WFD
alachlor
X
B
dicofol

X
endosulphan

A
EQS
hexachlorocyclohexane isomers
(HCH)

A
EQS
methoxychlor

X
pentachlorophenol (PCP)

B
EQS
trifluralin

B
EQS
hexachlorobutadiene
X
A
EQS
diuron
X
B
EQS
hexachlorobenzene
X
A
EQS
pentachlorobenzene
X
A
EQS
chlorfenvinphos
X
B
EQS
Pharmaceutical
clotrimazole

X
Phenols
2,4,6-tri-tert-butylphenol

X
nonylphenol/ethoxylates (NP/NPEs)
and related substances
octylphenol

A
EQS

B
EQS
Phthalate esters
certain phthalates: dibutylphthalate
(DBP), diethylhexylphthalate (DEHP)

B
EQS for
DEHP
Polycyclic
aromatic
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
(PAHs)
 (CEMP)
A
EQS for
some
Type
Pesticides/
Biocides/
Organohalogens
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Group of substances / substances
Assessment criteria
Water
Sediment
biota
EQS
BAC
BAC EAC
EQS
BAC
BAC
BAC ERL
BAC & EAC (mussels)
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report (appendix)
Type
Group of substances / substances
OSPAR
Priority
List
WFD
Assessment criteria
X
B
EQS
X
B
EQS
X
B
Water
Sediment
biota
compounds
Volatile organic
compounds
Chloroform
Dichloromethane
1,2-dichloroethane
benzene
Synthetic musk
musk xylene
B

EQS
X
A, WFD Priority Hazardous Substance (PHS); B, Priority Substance (PS); X, not listed
BAC, Background Assessment Concentration; EAC, Environmental Assessment Criteria; ER, Effects Range; EQS, Environmental Quality Standard, EC,
European Commission food safety levels; TEQ, Toxic Equivalence
EACpassive developed for PCBs in biota using EAC for sediment
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Table A1-2. Assessment criteria for biological effects measurements. Values are given for both background assessment levels (BAC) and environmental
assessment criteria (EAC), as available.
BIOLOGICAL EFFECT
VTG in plasma; g/ml
Reproduction in eelpout;
APPLICABLE TO:
Cod
Flounder
Malformed larvae
BAC
0.23
0.13
1
EAC
mean frequency (%)
EROD; pmol/mg protein
pmol/min/ mg protein S9
* pmol/min/ mg microsomal protein
PAHs Bile metabolites;
(1)
Late dead larvae
Growth retarded larvae
Frequency of broods with
malformed larvae
Frequency of broods with
late dead larvae
Dab (F)
Dab (M)
Dab (M/F)
Flounder (M)
Plaice (M)
Cod (M/F)
Plaice (M/F)
Four spotted megrim (M/F)
Dragonet (M/F)
Red mullet (M)
Dab
pyrene-type g/ml; synchronous scan
fluorescence 341/383 nm
ng/g GC/MS
* 1-OH pyrene
5
178
147
680*
24
9.5
145*
255*
13*
202*
208
16 (1) *
3.7 (1) **
ng/ml; HPLC-F
(2)
(3)
2
4
5
Cod
0.15 (2)
22(2)
21 (1) *
483 (3) *
2.7 (1) **
528 (3) **
35 (2)
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BIOLOGICAL EFFECT
** 1-OH phenanthrene
APPLICABLE TO:
Flounder
BAC
1.1 (2)
EAC
16 (1) *
3.7 (1) **
Haddock
1.3 (2)
13 (1) *
29(2)
0.8 (1) **
DR-Luc; ng TEQ/kg dry wt, silica clean up
DNA adducts; nm adducts mol DNA
Bioassays;
% mortality
Bioassays;
% abnormality
Bioassay;
% growth
Lysosomal stability;
minutes
Micronuclei; 0/00 (frequency of micronucleated
cells)
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1.9 (2)
10
1
1
1.6
3.0
30
10
10
20
35(2)
40
6
6
6
6
60
50
50
50
10
30
50
50
Cytochemical; all species
Neutral Red Retention: all
species
20
120
10
50
Mytilus edulis
2.5 1
Mytilus galloprovincialis
2.5 2
3.9 2
Sediment (extracts)
Dab
Flounder
Cod
Haddock
Sediment, Corophium
Sediment, Arenicola
Water, copepod
Water, oyster and mussel
embryo
Water, sea urchin embryo
Water, sea urchin embryo
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report (appendix)
BIOLOGICAL EFFECT
% DNA Tail
APPLICABLE TO:
Mytilus trossulus
Flounder
Dab
Zoarces viviparus
Cod
Red mullet
Mytilus edulis
Dab
Cod
Stress on Stress; days
AChE activity; nmol.min-1 mg prot-1
Mytilus sp.
Mytilus edulis
1
gills
Mytilus galloprovincialis
2
muscle tissue
3
brain tissue
Flounder
Dab
Red mullet
1
Gill cells
2
Haemocytes
3
Erythrocytes
Comet Assay;
* French Atlantic waters
BAC
4.5 2
0.0-0.3 3
0.5 3
0.3-0.4 3
0.4 3
0.3 3
10
5
5
EAC
10
30 1*
26 1**
291+
15 1++
235 2*
150 2*
155 2+
5
21 1*
19 1**
201+
10 1++
165 2*
105 2*
109 2+
75 3++
52 3++
** Portuguese Atlantic waters
+
French Mediterranean Waters
++
Spanish Mediterranean Waters
Externally visible diseases***
Dab
Fish Disease Index (FDI):
Fish Disease Index (FDI):
F: 1.32, 0.216
Ep,Ly,Ul
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M: 0.96, 0.232
F: NA, 54.0
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report (appendix)
Ep,Ly,Ul
BIOLOGICAL EFFECT
APPLICABLE TO:
BAC
F: 1.03, 0.349
M: NA, 47.7
Ac,Ep,Fi,Hp,Le,Ly,St,Ul,Xc
M: 1.17, 0.342
F: 50.6, 19.2
Ac,Ep,Fi,Hp,Le,Ly,St,Ul,Xc
F: 1.09, 0.414
M: 38.8, 16.1
Ac,Ep,Hp,Le,Ly,St,Ul,Xc
M: 1.18, 0.398
F: 48.3, 21.9
Ac,Ep,Hp,Le,Ly,St,Ul,Xc
EAC
M: 35.2, 16.5
M: males
Italics: ungraded, bold: graded
NA: Not applied
Liver histopathology-non specific
F: females
Dab
NA
Statistically significant increase in mean FDI
level in the assessment period compared to
a prior observation period
or
Statistically significant upward trend in mean
FDI level in the assessment period
Liver histopathology- contaminant-specific
Dab
Mean FDI <2
Mean FDI ≥ 2
A value of FDI = 2 is, e. g., reached if the
prevalence of liver tumours is 2 % (e. g., one
specimen out of a sample of 50 specimens is
affected by a liver tumour). Levels of FDI ≥ 2
can be reached if more fish are affected or if
combinations of other toxicopathic lesions
occur.
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BIOLOGICAL EFFECT
Macroscopic liver neoplasms
APPLICABLE TO:
Dab
BAC
Mean FDI <2
EAC
Mean FDI ≥ 2
A value of FDI = 2 is reached if the
prevalence of liver tumours (benign or
malignant) is 2 % (e. g., one specimen out of
a sample of 50 specimens is affected by a
liver tumour). If more fish are affected, the
value is FDI > 2.
Intersex in fish;
Dab
% prevalence
Flounder
5
Cod
Red mullet
Scope for growth
Joules/hr/g dry wt.
Hepatic metallothionein
Zoarces viviaprus
Mussel (Mytilus sp.)
5
(provisional, further
validation required)
Mussel edulis
0.6 1*
μg/g (w.w.)
2.0 2*
1
0.6 3*
2.0 1*
Whole animal
Mytilus galloprovincialis
2
Digestive gland
3.92*
3
Gills
* Differential pulse polarography
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0.6 3*
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BIOLOGICAL EFFECT
Histopathology in mussels
APPLICABLE TO:
VVbas: Cell type
composition of digestive
gland epithelium; µm3/µm3
(quantitative)
MLR/MET: Digestive tubule
epithelial atrophy and
thinning; µm/µm
(quantitative)
VVLYS & Lysosomal
enlargement; µm3/µm3
(quantitative)
S/VLYS: µm2/µm3
Digestive tubule epithelial
atrophy and thinning
(semi-quantitative)
Inflammation
Imposex/intersex in snails
BAC
0.12
EAC
0.18
0.7
1.6
VvLYS 0.0002
V>0.0004
4
STAGE ≤1
STAGE 4
STAGE ≤1
STAGE 3
(semi-quantitative)
Gastropod molluscs
See OSPAR adopted
See OSPAR adopted criteria
criteria
***: Assessment criteria for the assessment of the Fish Disease Index (FDI) for externally visible diseases in common dab (Limanda limanda).
Abbreviations used: Ac, Acanthochondria cornuta; Ep, Epidermal hyperplasia/papilloma; Fi, Acute/healing fin rot/erosion; Hp, Hyperpigmentation;
Le, Lepeophtheirus sp.; Ly, Lymphocystis; St, Stephanostomum baccatum; Ul, Acute/healing skin ulcerations; Xc, X-cell gill disease.
Full details of the assessment criteria and how they were derived can be found in the SGIMC 2010 and SGIMC 2011 and WKIMON 2009 reports on the ICES
website and in the OSPAR Background Documents for individual biological effects methods.
Data for biomarkers in some northern fish species have been obtained through the IRIS BioSea JIP programme (funded by Total E&P Norge & EniNorge) and
the Biomarker Bridges programme (funded by Research Council of Norway) and have been used to develop EAC and BAC values for Arctic fish.
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2011 ICES/OSPAR SGIMC
Extract from the 2011 ICES/OSPAR SGIMC report providing a worked example of
an integrated approach to the assessment of chemical and biological effects
monitoring data
Technical annex: Integrated assessment framework for contaminants and
biological effects
The development of a framework with which to assess contaminant and biological
effects data together is essential for the delivery of integrated monitoring and
assessment. A multi-step process is proposed which follows on from experience of
the assessment of contaminants data for sediment, fish and shellfish in OSPAR
contexts. The process is informed initially by the individual assessment of
determinands (contaminants or effects) in specific matrices at individual sites against
the defined assessment criteria (BAC and EAC). Such assessment criteria for
biological effects have been developed over recent years and are included in
OSPAR Background Documents, and for contaminants have been used by OSPAR
groups, for example in the QSR 2010. Initial comparisons determine whether the
determinand and site combinations are <BAC (blue), between the BAC and EAC
(green) or >EAC (red). This summarised indicator of status for each determinand
can then be integrated over a number of levels: matrix (sediment, water, fish,
mussel, gastropod), site and region and expressed with varying levels of aggregation
to graphically represent the proportion of different types of determinands (or for each
determinand, sites within a region) exceeding either level of assessment criteria.
Such an approach has several advantages. The integration of data can be simply
performed on multiple levels depending on the type of assessment required and the
monitoring data available. The representation of the assessment maintains all the
supporting information and it is easy to identify the causative determinands that may
be responsible for exceeding EAC levels. In addition, any stage of the assessment
can be readily unpacked to a previous stage to identify either contaminant or effects
measurements of potential concern or sites contributing to poor regional
assessments.
This approach builds on the OSPAR MON regional assessment tool developed for
contaminants. The development of BAC and EAC equivalent assessment criteria for
biological effects, which represent the same degree of environmental risk as
indicated by BACs and EACs for contaminants, allows the representation of these
monitoring data alongside contaminant data using the same graphical representation
approach. The inclusion of biological effects data to the system adds considerable
value to the interpretation of assessments. Where sufficient effects monitoring data
are available, confidence can be gained that contaminants are not having significant
effects even where contaminant monitoring data are lacking. In instances where
contaminant concentrations in water/sediment are >EAC, a lack of EAC threshold
breach in appropriate effects data can provide some confidence that contaminant
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concentrations are not giving rise to pollution effects (due for example to lack of
availability to marine biota). Similarly, the inclusion of effects data in the assessment
framework can indicate instances where contaminants are having significant effects
on biota, but have not been detected or covered in contaminant-specific chemical
monitoring work.
Application to determination of GES for Descriptor 8 of MSFD
The assessment framework described below provides an appropriate tool for
assessment of environmental monitoring data to determine whether Good
Environmental Status is being achieved for Descriptor 8 of MSFD (concentrations of
contaminants are at levels not giving rise to pollution effects). Determinands with
EAC or EAC equivalent assessment criteria provide appropriate indicators with
quantitative targets. The assessment of contaminant and effects monitoring data
against these EAC-level assessment criteria provides information both on
concentrations of contaminants likely to give rise to effects and the
presence/absence of significant effects in marine biota.
Due to the relatively large number of determinands monitored under the integrated
approach, it is inappropriate to adopt an approach whereby EAC level failure of a
single determinand results in failure of GES for a site or region. A more appropriate
approach would involve the setting of a threshold (%) of proportion of determinands
that should be <EAC to achieve GES. Such an approach would avoid the failure of
sites or regions due to occasional outlying, erroneous results for particular
determinands. The setting of an appropriate threshold for overall regional
assessment for MSFD will require consideration and revision in the light of testing
the framework described here with real monitoring data, however an initial threshold
of 95% <EAC (to ensure that the vast majority but not all contaminants/effects
measurements should be <EAC) is proposed here for the purposes of testing the
system.
Example application of the integrated assessment framework
In order to best demonstrate how monitoring data (assessed against BAC and EAC)
can be integrated for matrices, sites and regions and ultimately provide an
assessment that could be useful for determination of GES for Descriptor 8, a worked
example is provided below following a five step process.
Step 1 Assessment of monitoring data by matrix against BAC and EAC
All determinands available for a specific site assessment are compiled with results
presented by monitoring matrix and expressed as a colour depending on whether the
value exceeds BAC or EAC. In the example provided below, determinands and their
status are provided for illustrative purposes only, to show how subsequent
integration can be performed. A red classification indicates that the EAC is
exceeded, blue indicates compliance with the BAC, while green indicates
concentrations or levels of effects are between the BAC and EAC.
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Step 2 Integration of determinands by matrix for a given site
For each of the five matrices, the results of the individual determinand assessments
are aggregated into categories: contaminants, exposure indicators, effects indicators
and for sediment/water matrices also passive sampling and bioassay categories. It
is necessary to separate the biological effects measurements into different
categories depending on whether an EAC-equivalent assessment criterion (AC) has
been set or not. Otherwise aggregated information on the proportion of
determinands exceeding the separate AC will be incorrect. For simplicity, these
categories have been termed ‘exposure indicators’ (where an EAC has not been set)
and ‘effects indicators’ where an EAC (equivalent to significant pollution effect) has
been set for the measurement. On subsequent aggregation / integration of these
indicators across matrices for a specific site, bioassays are considered ‘effects
indicators’ as EAC are available. It should be possible to include data from passive
sampling in both the water and sediment schemes when assessment criteria have
become available. They are nominally included in the example here to show how
they could be included.
The integration by matrix and category of determinand can be expressed by tricoloured bars showing the proportions of determinands that exceed the BAC and
EAC as shown below. Note that for mussels in this instance, no exposure indicators
are used, since all the biological effects measurements have EAC available.
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5) Gastropods
Step 3 Integration of matrices for a site assessment
In order to express the results of assessment for a particular site simply, information
can be aggregated across matrices and expressed by determinand category as
shown below. In order to achieve this, results from passive sampling from sediment
and water categories could be integrated into the contaminant indicator graphic and
bioassays and gastropod intersex/intersex integrated into ‘effects indicators’. Thus
the outcome of assessment of all determinands from all matrices can be expressed
for a whole site. For some assessments, this will be the highest level of aggregation
required. However, for assessments covering larger geographical areas (subregional, regional, national, regional seas for MSFD, etc) where assessments need
to be undertaken across multiple sites, a further level of integration is required (steps
4 and 5).
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For transparency, each determinand grouping is labelled with the matrices from
which it is comprised. Thus it can quickly be determined whether the site
assessment is comprised of all or just a sub-set of the monitoring matrices. In the
example below, all five matrices have been used to determine the overall site
assessment, however only for fish (matrix 3) were there any effects measurements
that did not have available EAC for assessment. Therefore the exposure indicators
graphic is labelled to show that only matrix 3 contributed to the site assessment.
Step 4 Regional assessment across multiple sites
This can be done at multiple levels (aggregation of data at the sub-regional, regional
and national levels) in different ways to express both the overall assessment of
proportion of determinands (across all matrices) exceeding both assessment
thresholds (BAC/EAC) (approach A) and by determinand for the region showing the
proportion of sites assessed in the region that exceed the thresholds (approach B).
Both approaches show the overall proportion of determinand/site incidences of
threshold exceedence. However approach A shows most clearly which
determinands are responsible for any EAC exceedence, while approach B shows a
more aggregated, summarised representation of the same information by
determinand category. Both can be constructed directly from the output of Step 1.
4A Regional assessment of sites by determinand
This shows a graphical representation of the proportion of sites falling into each
status class for each determinand across all relevant matrices (many determinands
are only relevant to one or some of the matrices).
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4B Regional assessment of sites by determinand category
The above regional assessment can be summarised by determinand category as
was demonstrated in step 3 for the site assessment and shown below.
Step 5 Overall assessment
The assessment by region can be aggregated further into a single schematic
showing the proportion all determinands across all sites that exceed BAC and EAC.
This can be used for the purposes of an overall assessment and it is proposed that a
simple threshold figure (e.g. 95%) <EAC is used to determine whether Good
Environmental Status for Descriptor 8 is met in this assessment. The overall
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assessment can be easily unpacked through the steps above to determine which
sites and determinands (effects types or contaminants) are contributing to, for
example, the proportion of red (greater than EAC) data, and thereby potentially
leading to failure to achieve GES for a region.
Conclusion
A potential assessment framework has been presented which integrates across
contaminant and biological effects monitoring data and allows assessments to be
made across matrices, sites and regions. It is simple and transparent and allows for
multiple levels of aggregation for different assessment requirements. Such an
approach has been used with success for a wide range of contaminants data in the
OSPAR QSR 2010. It is proposed that this approach is tested with real monitoring
data and could provide a suit
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Descriptor 9 - Contaminants in fish and other seafood for human
consumption do not exceed levels established by Community legislation
or other relevant standards)
Maximum regulatory limits have been set for a number of contaminants in order to
protect the health of human consumers (see Table A1-3). For a sub-region to
achieve GES, exceedances should be minimised.
Criterion 9.1 - Levels, number and frequency of contaminants
Indicator 9.1.1 - Actual levels of contaminants that have been detected and number
of contaminants which have exceeded maximum regulatory levels and the frequency
with which limits are exceeded.
Type of targets

For a number of contaminants, regulatory levels (Regulations (EC) No
1881/2006) have been set and these maximum threshold values should not
be exceeded. These apply to wild caught and farmed fish, crustaceans,
molluscs, echinoderms, roe and seaweed harvested in the different subregions and destined for human consumption. Species studied should reflect
UK commercial landings, and be taken from fishing grounds in UK waters.
For radionuclides analogous regulations don’t exist. General radiological
protection of human health is provided by maximum permitted daily dose.
EURATOM Regulations apply only in emergency situations and are not
appropriate for GES. Contaminant levels in finfish farmed in marine waters
within WFD limits will not be of relevance for assessing GES under MSFD, as
their primary exposure is via a fed diet and so does not reflect local
environmental conditions.
Define the targets

Monitoring for contaminants for which regulatory levels have been laid down
(lead, cadmium, mercury, benzo[a]pyrene, dibenzo-p-dioxins (plus
dibenzofurans and dioxin-like PCBs) should be undertaken in accordance with
the analytical performance requirements defined in EC/1883/2006;
concentrations should be assessed against the regulatory levels and for
temporal trends.
GES for Descriptor 9 is achieved for contaminants where regulatory levels have
been set, the maximum threshold values should only be exceeded in a small
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statistically agreed number of samples of fish and shellfish (e.g. 5%11) based on
relevant surveys and including samples originating from commercial fishing grounds
in the greater North Sea and the Celtic Seas.





At the assessed scale, the upper-bound (mean + 95% confidence interval)
concentration should be calculated for comparison against the Maximum
Permitted Concentrations (MPCs) for each substance and group of species.
For radionuclides, a suitable target could be that the levels of radioactivity in
seafood do not cause the maximum dose received to exceed the EU and UK
dose limit of 1 milliSievert per year. This dose limit was originally developed
by the International Commission on Radiological Protection and implemented
under the EU Basic Safety Standards Directive 96/29/EURATOM.
Other contaminants are likely to be introduced into 1881/2006 by the end of
2011, notably non-dioxin-like PCBs and three additional PAHs. The limits for
dioxins and total TEQ are under review. Also, the revised PAH limits may
exclude fresh fish.
Currently, FSA conduct annual surveys of contaminants in shellfish from
commercial harvesting areas in Scotland and Northern Ireland only, not in
England and Wales. Other surveys are undertaken on a risk basis and often
utilise market or retail samples. Informal discussions between Defra and the
EU have indicated that these can also be used for MSFD purposes, although
traceability to particular marine areas remains a problem. In order to
surmount this, it will be necessary to supplement sampling for food safety
purposes in order to meet the requirements of MSFD. Additional fish samples
of commercially exploited species and size could be collected on nondedicated cruises (e.g. fishery assessment cruises or those undertaken within
the Clean Seas Environment Monitoring Programme). Another option may be
sampling from fish markets by fishery inspectors, who have access to vessel
fishing records. Hence, although additional chemical analyses will be
required, additional (and expensive) ship time should not be necessary, so a
small additional monitoring burden. Based upon the monitoring costs
provided by FSA, a programme for England and Wales similar to those
operated in Scotland and Northern Ireland might cost £40-80k per annum.
Within current biotoxin monitoring programmes, samples of shellfish are
collected and analysed routinely from shellfish production areas around the
UK. Subsamples of these tissue samples could be composited and
analysed for contaminants on an infrequent basis. This would meet the
11
5% is suggested by the UK but ideally this would need to be agreed with other Member States
sharing the sub-region.
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traceability requirements under MSFD. Again a small additional
monitoring burden. The report of the ICES/JRC Task Group for Descriptor 9
did not consider biotoxins themselves as contaminants as they are produced
naturally.
Baseline for targets

The MSFD (Article 4) lists 10 sub-regions for monitoring purposes, and the
report of the ICES/JRC Task Group for descriptor 9 lists the most consumed
species in each. The relevant sub-regions for the UK are:

The Greater North Sea, including the Kattegat and the English Channel

The Celtic Seas
Member States may also, if they wish, define smaller sub-divisions for
assessment purposes as the UK has for CP2. A decision will need to be
taken about whether the UK will report on a sub-region or sub-division basis.
 Existing datasets from which an initial assessment could be made at the subregional scale include FSA Scotland and Northern Ireland surveys of fish and
shellfish for contaminants, data for radionuclides in seafood collected by the
EA, FSA, NIEA, and SEPA and summarised in the series of RIFE
(Radioactivity in Food and the Environment) reports, CSEMP data held in
MERMAN, and other research studies (e.g. Marine Scotland Science deep
water fish contaminant data). Much of the data (contaminant and
radionuclides) held by FSA will be of use for this Descriptor, however there
are limitations in the spatial coverage of the datasets, especially for fish. FSA
sampling is not designed for the purpose of environmental monitoring, rather it
targets species and locations of highest risk, and therefore could represent a
worst case scenario and may not reflect the true environmental status.
 A review of contaminants and radionuclides in fish and shellfish monitoring
activities is recommended to be undertaken in order to assess the suitability
of these activities in addressing the requirements of Descriptor 9. This should
include the development of a statistical sampling strategy design relevant in
terms of species (importance in the human diet, landings from each subregion) and number of samples. This design should include information on
the amount of fish/shellfish landed from each sub-region and be risk-based in
its approach. It should also take account of species that are exported for
human consumption abroad and which are not widely eaten in the UK but
reflect environmental quality.
Scale of targets

The appropriate spatial scale for reporting against GES is the sub-regional
level, as defined above. Depending on the contaminant, a tendency of
increasing, decreasing or stable concentrations may be observed over various
time-scales. In order not to lose information relating to temporal trends,
concentrations found must be expressed in absolute terms rather than in
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

relation to a regulatory limit (above/below the limit). Assessments may be
made at the level of the UK waters within the Greater North Sea and Celtic
Seas, or appropriate sub-areas (such as those used in Charting Progress 2,
for example).
The range of species, number of samples and size of individual animals
included in the monitoring should be reflective of commercial landings, i.e.
those fish which enter the human food chain.
More frequent monitoring will be required if targets are exceeded.
Although it is clear that individual measurements would be compared to regulatory
limits for specific contaminants, aggregation across contaminants and species will be
required for an overall assessment of GES.
Evaluation
Evaluate each indicator against all the criteria in the attached spreadsheet.
MSFD GES indicator
assessment template.
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Table A1-3. Regulatory limits on the maximum permitted concentrations of certain environmental contaminants in edible portions of fish and shellfish (whole fish
if appropriate). TEQ = Toxic Equivalent Concentration (summed concentrations of certain planar organic compounds based upon their relative toxicity).
Regulation
Compound or
element
Arsenic in
Food Regns
1959
1881/2006
1881/2006
1881/2006
1881/2006
629/2008
629/2008
As
Maximum permitted
concentration (wet
weight)
1 mg/kg
Pb
Pb
Pb
Pb
Cd
Cd
0.3 mg/kg
0.5 mg/kg
1.0 mg/kg
1.5 mg/kg
0.05 mg/kg
0.1 mg/kg
629/2008
629/2008
629/2008
Cd
Cd
0.2 mg/kg
0.3 mg/kg
0.5 mg/kg
629/2008
1881/2006
Cd
Hg
1.0 mg/kg
0.5 mg/kg
629/2008
Hg
1.0 mg/kg
1881/2006
B[a]P
2.0 μg/kg
1881/2006
1881/2006
B[a]P
B[a]P
5.0 μg/kg
5.0 μg/kg
1881/2006
1881/2006
B[a]P
Dioxins & furans*
10.0 μg/kg
4.0 pg/g TEQ
1881/2006
Dioxins, furans &
dioxin-likeCBs*
Dioxins, furans
8.0 pg/g TEQ
1881/2006
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12.0 pg/g TEQ
Species to which the limit applies
Fish, shellfish and edible seaweeds, except where “naturally present”.
S.I. 1959 No. 831 (England & Wales) and No. 928 (Scotland)
Fish and shellfish with the main exceptions indicated below:
Crustacea (excluding crab brown meat & head / thorax of lobster)
Cephalopods (without viscera)
Bivalve molluscs
Fish and shellfish with the exceptions indicated below:
Bonito, common two-banded seabream, eel, grey mullet, horse mackerel or scad
(Trachurus sp.), louvar or luvar, sardine, sardinops, tuna, wedge sole.
Bullet tuna
Anchovy, swordfish
Crustacea (excluding crab brown meat & head / thorax of lobster and similar large
crustaceans)
Cephalopods (without viscera), bivalve molluscs
Fish and shellfish with the exceptions of crab brown meat, head / thorax meat of lobster
(and similar spp.) and the species indicated below:
Anglerfish, Atlantic catfish, bonito, eel, emperor, orange roughy, rosy soldierfish, grenadier,
halibut, kingklip, marlin, megrim, mullet, pink cusk eel, pike, plain bonito, poor cod,
Portuguese dogfish, rays, redfish, sail fish, scabbard fish, seabream, pandora, shark (all
species), snake mackerel or butterfish, sturgeon, swordfish, tuna.
Muscle meat of fish as defined in category (a) of the list in Article 1 of Regulation (EC) No
104/2000.
Smoked fish and fishery products
Crustacea & cephalopods, other than smoked and excluding crab brown meat, head /
thorax meat of lobster (and similar spp.)
Bivalve molluscs
Fish and fishery products, excluding crab brown meat, head / thorax meat of lobster (and
similar spp.)
Fish and fishery products, excluding eel, crab brown meat, head / thorax meat of lobster
(and similar spp.)
Eel
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Regulation
Compound or
element
Maximum permitted
concentration (wet
weight)
& dioxin-like CBs
Dioxins & dioxin25 pg/g TEQ
like CBs
*Individual compounds as listed in 1881/2006
565/2008
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Species to which the limit applies
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Fish and shellfish monitoring programmes undertaken by FSA in Scotland and
Northern Ireland. There are no analogous programmes in England and Wales.
FSA Scotland
Shellfish monitoring programme
As part of statutory monitoring (as detailed in Regulation (EC) 1881 and 854) FSA
Scotland conducts annual monitoring of chemical contaminants in newly classified
shellfish areas and/or shellfish areas which were subject to sanitary surveys. This
monitoring covers:




Heavy Metals (chromium, manganese, cobalt, nickel, zinc, arsenic, selenium,
silver, cadmium, lead and mercury)
PAHs
Dioxins and PCBs
Organochlorine pesticides
The total predicted annual costs for this chemical sampling programme is
approximately £30,000.
FSA research and surveillance programme
Specific project work has been carried out to identify Scottish fishing grounds or
aquatic habitats with a history of exposure to heavy metals or organic pollutants and
the edible species of fish and shellfish that these habitats support. Suitable samples
of fish and shellfish from locations considered to be at risk from contamination were
sampled and analysed to determine the levels of environmental chemicals, including
heavy metals, dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons, brominated flame retardants (BFRs), perfluorinated compounds,
polychlorinated naphthalenes and phthalates. The total cost was approximately
£156,000.
In relation to radionuclides, a project has been carried out to investigate
radionuclides in seaweed. This examined traditional use of seaweed by crofting
communities as a soil conditioner and for sheep grazing & potential pathways for
Sellafield radionuclides to enter the food chain.
FSA in Northern Ireland (FSA in NI)
Live Bivalve Molluscs Chemical Monitoring Programme
Currently the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) collaborate with FSA in
NI to cover chemical monitoring for shellfish flesh to meet requirements of the
Shellfish Waters Directive and the Food Hygiene Regulations. This includes testing
for heavy metals and a number of organic chemicals. In order to determine chemical
contaminants representative for all classified areas, and in accordance with the full
listing of contaminants as detailed in Regulation (EC) 1881/2006, FSA in NI have this
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year commenced a chemical contamination monitoring programme to complement
the work undertaken by NIEA. In addition to the sampling carried out by NIEA, FSA
in NI test live bivalve molluscs biannually for the following contaminants:
Heavy metals
 Lead
 Cadmium
 Mercury
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
Dioxin and dioxin like PCBs
The total predicted annual costs for this chemical sampling programme is
approximately £35,000.
Finned Fish Chemical Monitoring Programme
FSANI also conduct a quarterly sampling and monitoring chemical contaminants
programme for three groups of finned fish – pelagic, demersal and bottom dwellers.
These three groups of fish are collected quarterly from 3 harbour ports in NI
(approximately 36 samples per year) and are analysed for the following
contaminants as detailed in Regulation (EC) 1881/2006:
Heavy metals
 Lead
 Cadmium
 Mercury
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
Dioxins, furans and dioxin-like PCBs
In addition, the fish samples are analysed for the following range of organochlorine
pesticides:
Organochlorine Pesticides
Aldrin / Dieldrin
Reported as Dieldrin
Chlordane α / Chlordane β / Oxychlordane
Reported as Chlordane
Endrin
Heptachlor / Heptachlor Epoxide
Hexachlorobenzene
Hexachlorobutadiene
Hexachlorocyclohexane α
Hexachlorocyclohexane β
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Hexachlorocyclohexane γ
Isodrin
o,p’-DDT / p,p’-DDE / p,p’-DDT / p,p’-TDE
Reported as DDT
The total predicted annual costs for this chemical sampling programme is
approximately £22,000.
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Descriptor 10 - Properties and quantities of marine litter do not cause
harm to the coastal and marine environment.
Marine litter has been defined as any persistent, manufactured or processed solid
material discarded, disposed of or abandoned in the marine environment. According
to Charting Progress 2 significant amounts of litter appear in our seas and on our
beaches. Plastics are the main type of litter found both on beaches and offshore,
including increasing quantities of microscopic pieces of plastics resulting from
degradation of larger plastic products or direct inputs like from, for example,
preproduction pellets or facial cleanser particles flushed into the sea. Plastic litter
can take hundreds if not thousands of years to break down, and it may never truly
biodegrade. International and UK legislation prohibits the disposal of all plastics into
the sea.
Among the beach litter that can be identified in the UK, the main sources are the
general public, fishing, sewage discharges and shipping. In general, there has been
no appreciable fall in the quantities of litter on UK beaches since Charting Progress.
In fact, if we consider data collected since the start of monitoring, there has been a
considerable increase. In 1994, an average of around 1000 items per kilometre was
recorded but, by 2007, this had almost doubled. The majority of this increase
occurred between 1994 and 2003; since then, litter levels have been relatively
steady although still high. Some beaches are not surveyed every year making a
comparison of these sites more difficult and some areas have sparse data sets. Up
to 40% of litter items remain unassigned each year, either because they are too
small or too weathered to identify a source, or because they could have come from a
number of sources. Although it was assigned a ‘red’ status (unacceptable) in some
areas in Charting Progress, the overall ‘traffic light’ status assigned to beach litter is
orange (some problems) in Regions 1 to 5. However, with the exception of Region 3
which has improved, the status has not changed significantly since Charting
Progress.
We found a wide variability in offshore litter between sites and sometimes in
successive years for locations sampled. The presence of significantly higher
densities of litter at Carmarthen Bay, North Cardigan Bay, in the Celtic Deep and in
Rye Bay suggests that these are areas of accumulation, where litter gathers
because of the effects of winds and currents. The frequency of litter ranged from 0
to 17 items per hectare. Rope, polypropylene twine and hard plastics are the most
common forms of offshore litter. However, data are too sparse to allow a meaningful
assessment of changes in quantities of litter either regionally or over time, and we
also know too little about the impacts of litter in the sea to draw any reliable
conclusions about the effects.
Much of the man-made European marine litter ends up in the North-East Atlantic as
a result of land-based and sea-based human activities and causes a reduction in
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social, economic and ecological value. Evidence from passive samplers already
indicated associated release and sorbance of chemicals on polymers, thus mainly
plastics and micro-plastics have a potential to possibly cause long term effects as
they may act as a vector for transferring toxic chemicals to the food chain. This
seems to indicate the principles adopted in the OSPAR hazardous substances
strategy might be relevant in this context. The OSPAR Hazardous Substances
Strategy sets the objective of preventing pollution of the maritime area by
continuously reducing discharges, emissions and losses of hazardous substances,
with the ultimate aim of achieving concentrations in the marine environment near
background values for naturally occurring substances and close to zero for manmade synthetic substances. These principles could apply to litter, especially plastics
which are man-made synthetic substances with hazardous chemical properties that
potentially transfer into the food chain.
There is a direct reference to marine litter in The OSPAR North-East Atlantic
Environment Strategy: “substantially reduce marine litter in the OSPAR maritime
area to levels where properties and quantities of marine litter do not cause harm to
the coastal and marine environment”. In order to manage this specific human
pressure we need to develop appropriate programmes and measures to reduce
amounts of litter in the marine environment and to stop litter entering the marine
environment, both from sea-based and land-based sources, to complement the
actions of Contracting Parties such as under OSPAR Recommendation 2010/19 on
the reduction of marine litter through the implementation of ‘Fishing for Litter’
initiatives, including:
1. by 2012, based on an evaluation of progress made and available data,
establish regionally coordinated targets for marine litter;
2. by 2014, a coordinated monitoring programme for marine litter;
3. Promotion of research to improve the evidence base with respect to impact
of litter, including micro-particles, on the marine environment;
The characteristics of Good Environmental Status (GES) are set out in the UK Final
Policy Position paper. On that basis, and taking account of the OSPAR Hazardous
Substances and North-East Atlantic Environment Strategy, for EU Directives
addressing marine litter issues and relevant international legislation, the overall
aspiration is to substantially reduce marine litter in the UK maritime area to levels
where properties and quantities of marine litter do not cause harm to the coastal and
marine environment by 2020. To achieve this we will aim to continuously reduce
inputs with a desire to reduce the total amounts of marine litter towards levels that do
not cause harm to the coastal and marine environment by 2020. Note that the
European Commission (EC) divided harm into three general categories: social,
economic and ecological.
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It is widely agreed that there should be no adverse effects resulting from human
induced marine litter and its degradation products currently present in, and entering
into UK waters. At present, responsibility for marine litter is spread across a number
of UK agencies. Further co-operation between all organizations responsible for litter
will help coordinate efforts to control marine litter. Marine litter needs to be reduced
over time and not pose any significant risk to marine life, either as a result of direct
mortality or by way of indirect impacts at the scale of the (sub) region. Furthermore
litter should not pose a direct or indirect unacceptable risk to human welfare and not
lead to detrimental economic impacts for industry and coastal communities. The
current evidence base is limited and therefore makes any assessment of whether the
UK is likely to meet GES for this descriptor by 2020 difficult. As such, determining,
and consequently justifying, any necessary targets and measures to achieve GES is
challenging.
Type of targets
Different types of targets are possible; some guidance is given under Annex IV of the
MSFD:
(a) targets establishing desired conditions based on the definition of good
environmental status
(b) measurable targets and associated indicators that allow for monitoring and
assessment
(c) operational targets relating to concrete implementation measures to
support their achievement.
Environmental targets need to be set on the basis of the initial assessment according
to article 10 of the MSFD, which implies a need to set different types of marine litter
targets with respect to clean and accumulation areas (similar to eutrophication). The
target for clean areas will be the maintenance of this status and for accumulation
areas to ultimately achieve the clean status through continuous improvement in
status.
The Environmental Protection Act 1990 (s.87) states that litter is ‘anything that is
dropped, thrown, left or deposited that causes defacement, in a public place’.
For land-based litter it is an offense to dispose of litter. In the UK the Environmental
Protection Act 1990 requires duty bodies to keep land clear of litter and the code of
practice outlines a graduated scheme (levels A-D) of cleanliness which set outs what
is socially acceptable and where remedial action is required. Beach litter on amenity
beaches should be cleared between 1st May and 30th September. The duty under
section 89 of the EPA 1990 extends to the high tide watermark. In all other beach
areas, the Code recommends those responsible for beaches to regularly monitor
them and develop an appropriate cleansing regime. Although the jurisdiction stops
at the high water line, a similar scheme could be developed for the marine
environment including economic and environmental aspects. In the case of clean
areas it may be appropriate to consider pressure targets (i.e. relating to marine litter
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inputs) as part of a risk based approach, strengthened by additional monitoring
information (such as beach and benthic litter assessments) where this can be done
cost effectively. A good example of a pressure target could be to reduce litter from a
specific origin like shipping, fishing, sewage or tourism by implementing measures
related to those pressures. In the case of areas of accumulation, it is also necessary
to provide indicators and targets that allow for the tracking of progress towards Good
Environmental Status. An option would be to use category based targets at
accumulation areas in order to reflect different changes in pressures. This means
that we would follow trends in specific categories, for example plastic bags or fishing
nets.
The targets must be qualitative as there is mostly insufficient evidence to support
quantitative targets. Reflecting the lack of evidence in this area, this paper proposes
a range of options for targets based on current state and pressure. None of these
targets, for either clean or littered areas, can be seen as stand-alone elements which
should be used in their own right as the equivalent of good environmental status. As
our understanding improves it may be possible to move towards more quantitative
thresholds which are directly related to the impact of litter on the marine
environment, but currently we don’t have enough evidence to be able to set targets
for a particular percentage reduction in litter levels. A robust conclusion about
marine litter status and management can only be made based on a combination of
available information.
Changes in patterns of production and consumption over the last 30-40 years have
led to a significant increase in the use of plastics and synthetics thus changing the
nature of litter ending up in the marine environment. Further consideration is
necessary with respect to expected future trends in activity, their impacts, and the
effects of regulatory, technological, or social changes. Once in the environment,
marine litter gradually breaks down into ever smaller pieces which persist for many
years, so that they will continually build up as time goes by. This suggests that
targets related to reduction of items needs to be fixed on a specific size class as
smaller and smaller pieces will continue to be formed over time. Given the
prolonged timeframe for decomposition and the limited amounts of litter actually
removed through, for example, beach clearances or other initiatives, it can be argued
that the overall number of marine litter items in the oceans will only continue to
increase or stabilise.
Some marine litter will persist in the sea for years, decades and centuries, therefore,
evaluations of sources alone will not be enough and long term monitoring in the
marine environment will be required. While marine litter would appear to be largely
preventable, the wide range of sources of litter, the number of pathways by which it
enters the marine environment and the fact that litter can be easily transported by
winds and currents, all make managing the problem highly complex. In order to
prevent items from becoming marine litter, it is important to tackle this problem at its
source. Measures broad enough to significantly impact on the amounts and types of
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litter currently reaching the marine environment are likely to require a mixture of
funding and behavioural step changes. Local authorities, water authorities, industry,
public and government all play their part in reducing and cleaning up litter, which
means that bringing down litter levels significantly by 2020 will be very challenging.
Education is the key to changing behaviour and creating a sustainable solution to the
problem. Further measures to reduce amounts of marine litter could include the
adoption of control measures promoting the application of best available techniques
and associated waste and discharge limit values. Measures could also focus on the
substitution of long lasting marine litter types in combination with bans, restrictions,
and best environmental practices to address marine litter inputs from diffuse
sources, such as consumer products.
Scale of targets
Current monitoring programmes for beach (e.g. MCS, LEQSE) and marine litter (e.g.
Cefas), as modified to support the MSFD, will continue to be the method used to
diagnose the marine litter status and effectiveness of management measures. The
current monitoring programmes will continue to collect data which will allow us to
distinguish between accumulation and clean areas in future. At the moment the
results are not assessed this way and changes will have to take place in order to do
so. The benefit of doing so will guide us when developing a risk based monitoring
approach by 2014. Litter evaluation on beaches and at sea can be done on a
European scale. The data from those monitoring programmes combined with
relevant research information will form the necessary evidence to define harmful
social, economic and ecological effects of litter in the marine environment.
Evaluating the impact of litter on marine organisms needs to be done at a regional or
basin scale, enabling transposition of protocols to local species. Highly affected
areas will be monitored locally. Temporal scales should take into account seasonal
variations.
Criterion 10.1 - Characteristics of litter in the marine and coastal
environment
Indicator 10.1.1 - Trends in the amount of litter washed ashore and/or deposited on
coastlines, including analysis of its composition, spatial distribution and, where
possible, source.
Type of targets

There is insufficient information available for most regions to set quantitative
thresholds related to the reduction of washed ashore and/or deposited marine
litter trends on coastlines. Despite this it may, however, be possible to set
quantitative reduction targets for beach litter based on the baseline data
available from current beach monitoring programmes. For example, if the
types of litter found on beaches for which we have a degree of control over
are considered (some 50% as identified in the recent Marine Conservation
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Society (MCS) report) then a target reflecting a reduction in these types could
theoretically be set.

E.g.: MCS Beach Watch Results 2010
0.3%
Medical
1.0%
Fly-tipped
1.8%
7.3%
Shipping
Sewage Related
Debris
15.3%
Fishing
37.1%
Non-sourced
37.4%
Public
If we put measures in place to improve, for example, sewage overflow
systems, we can target a 7.3% reduction; if we educate the public we can
target another 37.4% reductions and so on. The existing data even allows for
a more precise breakdown; we could, for example, select specific items such
as cigarette butts. During the MCS Beachwatch Big Weekend 2010, a total of
4,895 cigarette butts were found on 376 beaches around the UK, representing
1.5% of the total litter found. An average of 29 cigarette ends were found for
each kilometre of beach surveyed. If we develop a method to improve
cigarette disposal we can reduce the number of litter items by 1.5%. Similar
action can be taken on other specific items e.g.: cotton buds, plastic bags, etc
and thus a combined reduction number could theoretically be calculated.
However, there are drawbacks to such a target such as fluctuations caused
by storms and the current lack of evidence suggesting a link to ‘harm’. In the
absence of such evidence a trend-based target may be more appropriate until
the evidence supports otherwise. The proposed reduction numbers (set out
above) are arbitrary and thus they have to be used with caution.

Data would be derived from the existing monitoring programmes of the MCS.
MCS data are derived from annual surveys by volunteers who select a length
of coastline and record the numbers and categories of litter during the cleanup operation. The methodology presently used by the MCS is comparable to
that used by OSPAR and with the recently published UNEP/ IOC guidelines
on survey and monitoring of marine litter. The current monitoring is excellent
in terms of public engagement and coverage, but spatial and temporal short
and long-term variation in factors that influence litter stranded on the coastline
in combination with volunteer work leads to a high variation in the amount of
litter recorded there. Despite those limitations the litter surveys are carried
out each year in a consistent manner by each group of volunteers and so
results are comparable year on year and do give a good indication of trends in
litter levels and sources. MCS Beach Watch surveys can deliver the bulk of
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data for general monitoring and engaging the public, but this could be
complemented by a subset of surveys with more frequent sampling which
would increase the confidence in the assessment of trends. A subset of
beaches, preferably in proximity of accumulation areas, where we already
know they are, could be monitored locally or aligned with other types of
surveys such as the Local Environmental Quality Survey of England (LEQSE)
produced by Keep Britain Tidy on behalf of the Department for Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to provide a report on the Cleanliness State
of the Nation.
Define the targets

It is proposed therefore that the target:
Option 1
A stable trend in the
number of visible litter
items within specific
categories/types from
2010 levels to 2020






Option 3
Overall reduction in the
number of visible litter
items within specific
categories/types on
coastlines from 2010
levels by 2020.
Recently a 40% reduction target was proposed within OSPAR and
subsequently rejected on the basis that there is a lack of understanding with
respect to the levels and impacts of litter in the marine environment, no
determination of immediate priorities, doubt over the effectiveness of potential
measures and robustness of data from current litter monitoring programmes
to determine if we are meeting any reduction target
MCS is currently not looking at beaches in relation to clean or accumulating
areas, although could probably do so in future. Pending this we can use
reference beaches which are prone to regular “defined” littering i.e. tourism,
riverine inputs, sewage, etc.
At some point the UK will need to agree on indicator items i.e. specific types
of litter, like for example, cigarette butts, cotton buds, plastic bags, or broader
indicator categories e.g. fishing litter, sanitary items, etc. Targeted surveys of
specific litter items/categories will be necessary to capture the effectiveness of
implemented management measures.
The targets above should be seen as preliminary targets until further evidence
underpinning quantitative targets becomes available
Alternatively or simultaneously operational targets such as for example
improved waste reception facilities, beach notices, education, etc need to be
introduced
Remark:
Evidence is lacking and more research is needed to define the different
stages in the process of biofouling but the presence and degree of bio-fouling
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Option 2
A decreasing trend in
accumulation areas and a
stable trend in clean areas
in the number of visible
litter items within specific
categories/types on
coastlines from 2010
levels by 2020.
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on litter, can be used as an indirect measure to define the residence time of a
certain litter item in the marine environment which allow for some sort of
differentiation between “new” and “old” items and thus might be used in future
to distinguish between historical and “new” marine litter.
Baseline for targets




The baseline for the target is the current MCS dataset which also formed the
basis for the assessment in Charting Progress 2. This project provides the
only long-term data set on beach litter levels, material types and sources on
beaches in the UK. The range of data available is generally good although
certain CP2 regions, notably 6, 7 and 8, have inadequate data coverage to
draw any firm conclusions about litter trends.
Ideally we would look for beach surveys to complement LEQSE type surveys.
Local environment quality is a subject many people feel strongly about as it is
about issues on their doorstep.
Although marine litter was assigned a ‘red’ status (unacceptable) in some
areas in Charting Progress 2, the overall ‘traffic light’ status assigned to
beach litter is orange (some problems) in Regions 1 to 5. However, with the
exception of Region 3 which has improved, the status has not changed
significantly since Charting Progress (2005). The evidence available
suggests that the UK is currently below the target proposed at option 1 above.
Temporal scales should take into account seasonal variations.
Scale of targets

Litter evaluation on beaches can be done on a regional and wider European
scale.
Although reactive measures, such as beach cleaning surveys, are useful to actively
reduce litter volumes in the short term they do not provide any long term solutions to
the problem. These measures are only economically viable where revenue from the
beach is important. Part of this beach litter is thrown on the beach by waves and
tides, but another undefined part originates from beach visitors and no differentiation
between both can be made.
Indicator 10.1.2 - Trends in the amount of litter in the water column (including floating
at the surface) and deposited on the sea-floor, including analysis of its composition,
spatial distribution and, where possible, source.
Type of targets

At the moment seabed litter has been surveyed at only a few sites and data
are sparse, making assessment difficult. The situation is even worse with
regard to water column surveys. This means there is insufficient evidence or
criteria to assess impacts and state on a regional basis, although evidence
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
suggests that marine litter accumulates in certain locations due to underlying
hydrodynamics. The precise dynamics between beach, benthic and water
column litter are not fully understood at this time and a better understanding
needs to be developed before we can predict one by measuring another.
Data would be derived from the existing monitoring programmes which have
recently been expanded in order to improve the temporal and spatial scale.
Opportunistic sampling for seabed litter takes places on the back of ongoing
fish stock assessment and contaminant surveys. A case study looking at
amounts of water column litter is currently taking place and will offer us limited
insight into the full extent of the marine litter cycle. Consequently only a trend
target for benthic litter is proposed.
Define the targets

It is proposed therefore that the target for litter on the sea-floor:
Option 1
A stable trend in the
number of visible litter
items within specific
categories/types on the
seafloor from 2010 levels
by 2020.


Overall reduction in the
number of visible litter
items within specific
categories/types on the
seafloor from 2010 levels
by 2020.
CP2 indicated the presence of significantly higher densities of litter at
Carmarthen Bay, North Cardigan Bay, in the Celtic Deep and in Rye Bay
which suggests that these are areas of accumulation. The currently running
CEFAS marine litter monitoring project will further assess the amount and
composition of marine litter and its accumulation areas by developing a
standardised and international agreed monitoring approach. Evidence
suggests that the main part of marine litter comes from land based (80%) and
not from sea-based sources. This seems to indicate that reductions can
easily be achieved by limiting the input. An estimated 1.5 to 2bn sanitary
protection items are flushed down the toilet every year in the UK, in addition to
61-100m condoms (National Bag It and Bin It Group, 1997). Improved
sewage overflow systems and better labelling are possible examples of
operational targets which will contribute to reduced inputs
The targets above should be seen as preliminary targets until further evidence
underpinning quantitative targets becomes available. Whether or not one can
demonstrate movement towards the target depends on the natural variability
within the measurements, which will come out of the analysis of the historic
data plus an understanding of the litter-generating mechanism and cycles.
We can probably assume there is not just one generating mechanism for all
litter, and that different control measures might mitigate the input of litter from,
e.g. fishing, shipping, maritime industries and terrestrial sources.
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Option 2
A decreasing trend in
accumulation areas and a
stable trend in clean areas
in the number of visible
litter items within specific
categories/types on the
seafloor from 2010 levels
by 2020.
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
Several international drivers for change are already in place, although
effective enforcement is missing. Globally shipping is still considered a major
source of marine litter, however within Europe this is no longer the case.
Over the last decade, the UK Government has taken considerable action to
make shipping safer and reduce the risk of polluting activities, both accidental
and deliberate. EU Directives such as the port reception facilities for shipgenerated waste and cargo residues (Directive 2000/59/EC) and international
agreements such as MARPOL have resulted in tighter controls for ships when
in port and at sea, reducing operational discharges and negating the need to
discharge waste at sea. Increased participation in recycling schemes by the
general public and implementation of this relatively new legislation may take
some time to show effect. Monitoring of marine litter accumulation at hotspots
will allow us to assess the effectiveness of those changes. Again we can
target specific categories or pressures (similar as the method described
above) to follow up changes in accumulation rates reflecting failed or
successful measures.
Baseline for targets
The baseline for the target is the Cefas dataset which also formed the basis for the
assessment in Charting Progress 2. This dataset provides the only long-term data
set on offshore litter levels, material types and sources around the UK. The range of
data available is generally good although certain CP2 regions, notably 6, 7 and 8,
have inadequate data coverage to draw any firm conclusions about litter trends. We
found a wide variability in seabed litter, not only between sites but also between
successive years for locations sampled, there is generally not much litter on the
seabed. The total number of litter items collected per station ranged from 0 to 161,
the latter recorded at Carmarthen Bay in 2003. The presence of significantly higher
densities of litter suggests that these are areas of accumulation, where litter gathers
because of the effects of winds and currents. However at this moment, data are too
sparse to allow a meaningful assessment of changes in quantities of litter either
regionally or over time. Further data collection is ongoing under the CEFAS marine
litter monitoring project which is currently funded by DEFRA and will strengthen our
initial assessment under CP2 to form the baseline for the target. The generated data
will be statistically analysed and used for modelling studies in order to create better
insights into the marine litter dynamics and pressures. The main objectives of this
project are to assess the amount and composition of marine litter and its
accumulation areas by developing a standardised and international agreed
monitoring approach. The methodology presently used by Cefas is adapted from the
Northwest Pacific Action Plan (NOWPAP 2007a) and the published UNEP/ IOC
guidelines on survey and monitoring of seabed litter. This specific method was also
recommended within the MSFD Task Group. In future we may just need to monitor
accumulation areas and assume that "clean" areas vary pro rata. The relative
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variability of "clean" areas will also be higher, which means you spend more effort
counting less litter to get a less reliable index.
There are not enough data available at the moment to draw any reliable conclusions
about litter distribution in the water column. A survey of floating litter in the Northern
Atlantic was conducted in 2002 which used visual sightings of litter on the ocean
surface taken from a ship. It inferred that the density of marine litter ranged from 0 to
20 items/km2 at latitudes between 0 and 50°N. The highest density of floating debris
was located around the UK and North-West Europe with figures given for the English
Channel of 10 to 100+ items/km2.
The ongoing case study with a ‘manta’ trawl by Cefas in combination with the results
from the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) will allow us to make some sort of
assessment albeit with limited significance due to a restricted time series and
coverage. The method and equipment used are similar to those applied by the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Algalita Marine
Research Foundation (AMRF).
Scale of targets
Litter evaluation at sea can be done on a regional and wider European scale.
Notwithstanding the need to prevent litter in the first place, OSPAR has promoted
‘fishing for litter’ as a practical, simple yet effective means to remove litter from the
marine environment. The project targets the fishing industry by asking fishermen to
voluntarily collect marine litter caught up in their nets in large hard-wearing bags
provided by the project. The amount and types of litter (but not the origins) are
recorded onshore before being disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.
OSPAR published a Background Report on Fishing-for-litter activities in the OSPAR
Region and adopted guidelines on how to develop a ‘fishing for litter’ project.
Indicator 10.1.3 - Trends in the amount, distribution and, where possible,
composition of micro-particles (in particular micro-plastics).
Type of targets



This parameter was not used in past UK assessments and there is insufficient
information available for most waters to set quantitative thresholds.
Limited spatial data is available from time series which originated out of
Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) datasets. However the CPR samples
at approximately 10 m depth and so will not sample floating debris above
“plankton” size.
The water column case study with the ‘manta’ trawl will capture microparticles
at the surface larger than 333 µm and thus gives us limited information in
relation to distribution patterns.
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Define the targets
The longevity of many litter components is widely accepted and fragmentation of
certain marine litter will continue to occur. This means that numbers of
microparticles are only likely to go up over coming decades. This parameter is not
currently used in assessments under CP2. No quantitative indicators or targets are
proposed as there isn’t currently enough evidence to support a target for a reduction
in micro-plastics. The desired aspiration would be no further increase in
microparticles by 2020, but it is imperative we design effective monitoring, develop
decent time series and improve our understanding of harm in order to ensure
appropriate targets are set.
Baseline for targets
Some data are or will be available for the initial assessment although limited in time
and space. The persistence and fate of microparticles is not well understood.
Further monitoring of distribution patterns and dynamics will have to take place and
more research is needed into litter decomposition rates under different
environmental conditions in order to quantify the half-lives for different litter types.
Knowledge on half-life will assist in identifying residence times in the oceans and on
beaches as well as targeting management strategies at those litter types that are
both damaging and persistent.
Scale of targets
Microparticle evaluation cannot be done on a regional scale and highly affected
areas will need to be monitored locally. Temporal scales should take into account
seasonal variations such as storms and stratification.
Criterion 10.2 - Impacts of litter on marine life
Indicator 10.2.1 - Trends in the amount and composition of litter ingested by marine
animals (e.g. stomach analysis)
Type of targets



There is no information available for most waters to set quantitative thresholds
for assessing impacts on marine animals caused by ingested amounts of
litter.
Attention should be paid to areas where littering is more extensive and where
environmental harmful effects might occur as defined by further research, or
creates a risk or economic loss to the people using or living at the coast.
Related monitoring and verification implications: monitoring results combined
with research on social, economic and ecological harm will lead to improved
knowledge of critical thresholds.
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

Identification of harm from litter on animal populations must be a combination
of experimental approaches with data collected from animal populations in the
wild.
The work under the OSPAR Convention provides examples of objectives and
tools that can be used to define, and indicate progress towards, “Good
Environmental Status” in the North East Atlantic. OSPAR’s expertise and
experience in developing and applying these is a good starting point for the
development of criteria and methodologies to determine “Good Environmental
Status” under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. For the North Sea,
an Ecologic Quality Objective (EcoQO) for plastic particles in the stomach of
fulmars has been established, but this OSPAR EcoQO goes much further
than GES. The EcoQO target of 0.1 g is based on values from pristine areas
and might thus never be achievable. Unlike other seabirds, fulmars do not
regurgitate plastic particles but accumulate them. The content of plastic
particles in fulmar stomachs can therefore be used as an indicator for the
abundance of floating litter encountered at sea; it is not really an indicator
of litter impacts. Nevertheless it could be argued that relatively high litter
concentrations could lead to impacts.
Define the targets

There are different proposed options available depending on the desired aim:
Option 1
Trends in the levels of
plastic particles in the
stomachs of northern
fulmars (Fulmarus
glacialis) are not
moving away from the
levels indicated in the
OSPAR EcoQO.

Option 2
Trends in the levels of
plastic particles in the
stomachs of northern
fulmars (Fulmarus
glacialis) are moving
towards the levels
indicated in the
OSPAR EcoQO.
Option 3
Less than 10% of
northern fulmars
(Fulmarus glacialis)
having more than
0.1g plastic particles
in the stomach
(OSPAR EcoQO)
This OSPAR EcoQO or a variation on it could also be used to monitor floating
marine litter (see indicator above).
Remark: Option 3, again this target refers to a pristine condition in the Arctic
and might thus never be achievable; nevertheless it is an accepted OSPAR
EcoQO.
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A.
70%
100%
65%
75%
60%
50%
55%
25%
B.
EcoQO
target
0%
1980‘s
(69)
9599
9600
9701
98- 9902 03
0004
0105
0206
0307
(222) (258) (304) (329) (294) (318) (331) (304) (309)
70%
C.
60%
Scottish
Islands
(91)
East
England
(60)
Channel
(107)
southeast
North Sea
(821)
10%
Skagerak
(191)
The OSPAR Fulmar Plastic EcoQO
Percentages of birds having more than
0.1 g plastic in the stomach:
50%
40%
30%
A. Temporal trend Netherlands
(5 year periods 1980-2007)
20%
10%
0%
Arctic
Canada
Faroe
Islands
North
Sea
(169)
(647)
(1287)
B. Regional differences in the North Sea
(over period 2003-2007)
C. EcoQO target in reference areas
Figure A1-3 The OSPAR fulmar EcoQO
Baseline for targets
We know too little about the impacts of litter in the sea to draw any reliable
conclusions about the effects.
The Fulmar-Litter-EcoQO approach probably comes closest to the intended
methodology for ‘Good Environmental Status’ in the Marine Strategy Framework
Directive, and may act as an example. Over the period 2002–2006, the stomachs of
1090 beached fulmars from the North Sea were analysed. The percentage of
fulmars with more than 0.1g plastic in the stomach ranged from about 45% to over
60% per area. The Channel area was the most heavily polluted while the Scottish
Islands were the ‘cleanest’ region with a mean mass for plastics in fulmars of about a
third of the level encountered in the Channel. Currently the 10% level of the EcoQO
probably only occurs in Arctic populations. A long-term monitoring series for the
Netherlands shows a significant reduction in plastic abundance from 1997 to 2006,
mainly through a reduction in raw industrial plastics. The report concluded that
stomach content analysis of beached fulmars offers a reliable monitoring tool for
(changes in) the abundance of marine litter off the Dutch coast. By its focus on
small-sized litter in the offshore environment such monitoring has little overlap with,
and high additional value, to beach litter surveys of larger waste items. Furthermore,
stomach contents of fulmars reflect the ecological consequences of litter ingestion on
a wide range of marine organisms and create public awareness of the fact that
environmental problems from marine litter persist even when larger items are broken
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down to sizes below the range of normal human perception. Such monitoring can be
applied in other areas by either fulmars or similar species with adjusted targets
Beached birds may have died for a variety of reasons. For some birds, plastic
accumulation in the stomach is the direct cause of death, but more often the effects
of litter ingestion act at sub-lethal levels, except maybe in cases of ingestion of
chemical substances. It is important to remain aware that an indicator is not equal to
the full range of environmental harm.
Scale of targets
If the full cost of degradation of ecosystem goods and services by marine litter is to
be assessed more research on the ecological impact of marine litter needs to be
undertaken. Studies on dose response need to be undertaken in relation with types
and quantities of marine litter. These studies will enlarge our understanding and
enable a more science based definition of threshold levels. In relation to the
descriptor and what constitutes harm in a socio-economic sense, this has yet to be
defined for marine litter. There is no consensus on what is an acceptable level of
economic harm from marine litter. There has only been a limited amount of research
into the social and economic effects of marine litter and there are many aspects that
require further research, especially in relation to the definition of harm.
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Descriptor 11 - Introduction of energy, including underwater noise, is at
levels that do not adversely affect the marine environment
Criterion 11.1 - Distribution in time and place of loud, low and mid
frequency impulsive sounds
Indicator 11.1.1 - Proportion of days and their distribution within a calendar year over
areas of a determined surface, as well as their spatial distribution, in which
anthropogenic sound sources exceed levels that are likely to entail significant impact
on marine animals measured as Sound Exposure Level (in dB re 1 μPa².s), or as
peak sound pressure level (in dB re 1 μPa peak) at one metre, measured over the
frequency band 10 Hz to 10 kHz
Type of targets

Is there enough evidence for specific thresholds or should targets be trendbased or qualitative?
There are large gaps in our understanding of the effects of sound on marine life and
therefore setting thresholds for indicator 11.1.1 will be challenging (see for example
review by OSPAR 2009b; Tasker et al. 2010). The Commission decision has
changed the suggestion of Tasker et al. (2010) from being a complex but single
dimensional choice of target to a complex three-dimensional target (proportion of
days, areas, sound thresholds). The UK expert group agreed that the sound
threshold criteria proposed by Tasker et al. (2010) would be the most reasonable,
subject in due course to change should the science indicate other appropriate levels
(see Southall et al. 2007). It has to be noted that there is a six-year review timetable
built into the Directive which certainly has the potential to take account of scientific
progress for this and the second indicator. These sound threshold levels refer to the
proposed behavioural response criteria for single pulses for all cetacean hearing
groups (low-, mid- and high frequency cetaceans; see Southall et al. 2007; Table 5).
Since behavioural response is very difficult to quantify, Southall et al. 2007 used the
onset of temporary threshold shift (TTS) as the de facto criterion for behavioural
disturbance. It has to be emphasised that Southall et al. (2007) provide thresholds
for exposure, i.e. received sound pressure levels, whereas in Tasker et al. (2010),
source levels12 are applied. There were two main reasons for this:
12
Source level is a measure of the acoustic output which is a characteristic of the source rather than
the environment. It is often expressed as the SPL that would exist 1 m away from an equivalent point
source radiating with the same acoustic power into the medium as the actual source. It is determined
by measuring the SPL in the acoustic far-field and extrapolating back to determine the SPL that would
exist 1 m away from the acoustic centre using an appropriate propagation model.
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

An indicator that is based on exposure would require measurements or
modelling of sound pressure levels received by an animal which would not be
practical or safe.
It cannot be guaranteed that animals are within a ‘safe’ exposure distance
throughout an area.
The UK expert group therefore follows the concept of a pressure indicator as put
forward in Tasker et al. (2010). This would also follow the logic of the GES
descriptor 11 which explicitly mentions the ‘introduction of energy’. The values by
Southall et al. (2007) (see below) would cover most activities that have been
discussed to cause behavioural disturbance, such as seismic surveys and
construction of offshore wind farms if impact pile driving is used, and explosions, for
example during explosive decommissioning (see Tasker et al. 2010). Developers
will have the choice on how to contribute to the achievement of GES with one option
being to take steps to attenuate sounds to a level where no significant harm occurs.
It is recognised that further consideration is necessary as to the feasibility of current
mitigation measures in reducing levels to reflect those outlined in the proposed target
and further discussions will take place as to whether the levels proposed provide a
realistic target for developers to achieve.
Decisions on two further target values are called for by the Commission Decision:
i. “Proportion of days and their distribution within a calendar year ... as well as
their spatial distribution” and
ii.
“areas of a determined surface.”
An analysis of the current number of days when source exceeds the threshold has
yet to be performed to establish a baseline against which a target might be set.
Plans are in hand to conduct this analysis, but until information from that analysis is
available, it would be very unwise and unsafe to set a target. It is understood that
targets should be set to avoid a large number of widely dispersed sound sources
operating simultaneously above the threshold, but instead to attempt to focus these
sound sources into a small number areas over shorter periods of time.
Tasker et al. (2010) recommended areas of an approximate spatial scale of 15 nm x
8 nm (at UK’s latitude). A balance needs to be struck between having an area that
would be too small to represent the approximate area of influence of a sound over
the threshold, and an area being so large as to make any resultant index insensitive
to changes brought about by management. In addition, it would help if the size of
areas chosen was practical for fast and accurate representation of pressures, and
preferably the dimensions of an area should be approximately consistent across
marine international boundaries. DECC have indicated that they would prefer to
work at the scale of hydrocarbon licensing blocks (or multiples thereof). These
blocks are 10 nm N/S and c5 nm E/W (12 minutes longitude). Neighbouring EU
countries in the North Sea operate in blocks of 10 nm N/S and c10 nm E/W (20
minutes longitude). It is therefore recommended that the UK uses single blocks as
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the “areas of determined surface” – this will lead to some size variance in UK waters
(blocks are larger in the south compared with the north, due to spherical nature of
the earth), but this disadvantage is offset by the administrative ease of working with
existing management divisions of the sea.
Define the targets

Define targets for high, medium and low levels of ambition where possible.
Give advice on which level is the most appropriate for GES.
In principle the target will be trend-based and apply a more recent interpretation of
indicator 11.1.1 as put forward by the EU TG on noise (but revised by the UK Expert
Group):
High level of ambition:
An annual statistically significant decrease is demonstrated in the proportion
of days and their distribution within a calendar year, over areas of 10 min lat
and 12 min long and their spatial distribution in which anthropogenic sound
sources, measured over the frequency band 10 Hz to 10 kHz, exceed the
energy source level 183 dB re 1 μPa² m² s; or the zero to peak source level of
224 dB re 1 μPa² m².
Medium level of ambition:
There is no annual statistically significant increase in the proportion of day
and their distribution within a calendar year, over areas of 10 min latitude by
12 min longitude and their spatial distribution in which anthropogenic sound
sources, measured over the frequency band 10 Hz to 10 kHz, exceed the
energy source level 183 dB re 1 μPa² m² s; or the zero to peak source level of
224 dB re 1 μPa² m².
The values for the ‘proportion of days’ and their ‘distribution’ will be based on an
analysis of existing seismic survey and wind farm installation activity off the UK in the
recent past, part of which is currently undertaken by DECC. The results of this
analysis will be available in due course and will help defining a more concrete target
with regards of different levels of ambition.
Baseline for targets

Advise where appropriate on the baseline for each target (e.g. spatial and
temporal scale)
The spatial scale should comprise all UKCS licence blocks, divided between regional
seas (in the same way as other indicators). The temporal scale against which the
baseline will be set is the 3 years covering the period 2008-2010. It is fully intended
that all information on the occurrence of loud impulsive sounds should be used in the
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baseline assessment, including the incorporation of an extrapolation of the potential
increase in pile driving activity beyond 2010 resulting from renewable energy
expansion. As such the targets will be refined based on an analysis of current and
future activities being undertaken by DECC. In addition further refinements are
permitted at six year intervals by the Directive itself.
Scale of targets

Advise on the most appropriate temporal and spatial scale at which to apply
targets.
The annual changes of emitted low frequency impulsive sounds will be based on a
desk-based assessment of the annual activity that leads to introduction of mid- low
frequency impulsive sound as reported in EIAs and other licence/permit
documentation. The spatial scale will be all 10 min latitude x 12 min longitude deg
long licence blocks within the UK EEZ. Commission Indicator 11.1.1 is designed to
be applied at a regional seas scale and not to individual licensing blocks. The
proposed target is intended to act as a register for all low frequency impulsive sound
taking place in order that any wide-scale cumulative effects can be identified and
accounted for in decision-making. Specific impacts of sound in particular areas will
still considered through EIAs and SEAs and generally applied to one activity or
sector.
Criterion - 11.2 Continuous low frequency sound
Indicator 11.2.1 - Trends in the ambient noise level within the 1/3 octave bands 63
and 125 Hz (centre frequency) (re 1 μPa RMS; average noise level in these octave
bands over a year) measured by observation stations and/or with the use of models
if appropriate.
Type of targets

Is there enough evidence for specific thresholds or should targets be trendbased or qualitative?
The effects of ambient noise13 on marine life are largely unknown so that no
exposure thresholds exist as of yet (see Tasker et al. 2010). Targets for indicator
13
Ambient noise is defined here as noise that is composed of 1) background noise, 2) foreground
noise. Background noise is defined as sound arriving at a receiver from distant sources that cannot be
resolved as coming from spatially distinct sources; Foreground noise comprises all sound that can be
resolved by a receiver. Measurement noise noise – that is noise not caused by sound waves reaching
the receiver (e.g. electrical self noise, platform noise, flow noise, cable strum, etc) may contribute to
the recorded signals, but these should be minimised during measurement and should not be
considered in the analysis of trends (see Ainslie 2010).
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11.2.1 therefore will be trend based. It is clear from the discussion within the UK
Expert Group that several points have to be considered:




Receivers (e.g. fish and marine mammals) are in most cases highly mobile
and areas of importance (e.g. spawning / breeding grounds) vary greatly and
could occur anywhere in UK seas. A sampling scheme should therefore not
be based on the distribution of ‘sensitive’ receivers/areas. Instead, areas
should be targeted where the intensity of anthropogenic sound is relatively
high and would not be strongly affected by dominant local sources, e.g. subtle
changes in ferry routes, in order to obtain information on ambient noise in high
pressure areas.
The frequencies chosen reflect the fact that most fundamental shipping
sounds are concentrated in this range (not only in deep waters but also in the
conditions of the North Sea) and at these frequencies shipping sounds
dominate other sounds. Also limiting the bands will reduce the overall cost of
monitoring and reporting. However, it is acknowledged that the range of
frequencies could be amended if this is deemed appropriate. For example,
recordings of ambient noise levels could be undertaken for every centre
frequency in the 1/3 octave band up to 200 Hz. This would cover most noise
associated with shipping (see for example Urick 1983 and Tasker et al. 2010)
and would insure against the possibility of future changes in the indicator
frequencies. Analysis would be carried out initially on only the 63 and 125 Hz
centre frequencies. Collecting this additional information would also not incur
additional cost.
Modelling is considered likely to be too difficult to be reliable as the
uncertainties when attempting to provide maps for very large areas are too
high and the overall amount of data that is of use to both seed models and to
test their validity is too sparse. It is much better to develop empirical
indicators, than to rely on modelled results alone.
The IMO (International Maritime Organisation) has already started looking at
the issue of underwater noise from shipping. The proposed targets reflect the
discussions and agreements being sought through the IMO and any
management measures necessary to achieve them will be progressed
through the IMO and agreed internationally in order to ensure the UK fleet is
not placed at a disadvantage. For this reason the Commission Indicator
11.2.1 should be viewed more as an incentive to monitoring at this time rather
than a tool to restrict activities.
Define the targets


Define targets for high, medium and low levels of ambition where possible.
Give advice on which level is the most appropriate for GES.
A UK target would be trend based:
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High level of ambition:
Trends14 in the ambient noise level within the 1/3 octave bands 63 and 125 Hz
(centre frequency) (re 1μPa RMS; average noise level in these octave bands
over a year) measured by observation stations show a statistically significant
decrease above natural variation.
Medium level of ambition
Trends in the ambient noise level within the 1/3 octave bands 63 and 125 Hz
(centre frequency) (re 1μPa RMS; average noise level in these octave bands
over a year) measured by observation stations do not show a statistically
significant annual increase above natural variation.
Baseline for targets

Advise where appropriate on the baseline for each target (e.g. spatial and
temporal scale)
It is desirable that a meld of historical data, real time measurements and forecast
trends will be necessary to properly address the target. However, the results so far
suggest that existing SEA, EIA and MOD related data cannot contribute sufficiently
to a baseline for ambient sound in high pressure areas. Even if the data for seeding
models was of sufficient quality, modelling acoustic propagation in coastal regions is
extremely challenging due to the changing bathymetry and the lack of accurate
environmental data. Therefore it is strongly recommended that the baseline is
derived from measurements rather than based on modelling using existing datasets.
However, the empirical data gathered could be used to validate ambient noise
models so that a judgement on their usefulness could be made in the future. The
baseline should be considered after 3-4 years of monitoring at representative
stations in high pressure areas and after a number of options for statistical analysis
have been considered. Cefas is currently running a project which provides a
feasibility study for indicator 11.2.1: ME5210: Monitoring Ambient Noise for the
Marine Strategy Framework Directive. This project is examining the ambient noise
indicator and will start monitoring ambient sound at selected locations in 2011. The
project will – along with the TG noise, develop a detailed methodology for analysing
the data.
14
Trend is defined as the statistically significant change of mean / median ambient noise over a
defined period of time (month, year).
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Scale of targets

Advise on the most appropriate temporal and spatial scale at which to apply
targets.
Targets are applied on the UK scale and will focus on the high pressure areas. The
monitoring will, however, have to be applied on a regional scale as the issue of
ambient sound disturbance is a transboundary one. The monitoring concepts across
the EU states within a region should be aligned using the consultation within EU
TSG noise.
Evaluation
Evaluate each indicator against all the criteria in the attached spreadsheet.
MSFD GES indicator
assessment template
Sources
Ainslie MA (2010) Principles of sonar performance modelling, Vol. Springer in
association with Praxis Publishing Chichester, UK
OSPAR (2009b) Assessment of the impacts of anthropogenic underwater sound in
the marine environment, Vol 441. OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the
Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (www.ospar.org)
Southall BL, Bowles AE, Ellison WT, Finneran JJ, Gentry RL, Greene CRJ, Kastak
D, Ketten DR, Miller JH, Nachtigall PE, Richardson WJ, Thomas JA, Tyack P
(2007) Marine mammal noise exposure criteria: initial scientific
recommendations. Aquatic Mammals 33:411-521
Tasker ML, Amundin M, Andre M, Hawkins T, Lang I, Merck T, Scholik-Schlomer A,
Teilmann J, Thomsen F, Werner S, Zakharia M (2010) Marine Strategy
Framework Directive - Task Group 11 Report - Underwater noise and other
forms of energy, European Commission Joint Research Centre and
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea Luxembourg
Urick R (1983) Principles of underwater sound, Vol 1. McGraw Hill, New York
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Appendix 2 - Target-indicator template
Descriptor 2 - Non-indigenous species
Indicator
Criteria
Levels
Precision
1. Unknown precision or precision
quantifiable but unable to statistically
assess trends due to small sample
size/unrepresentative/biased/high
volatility
2. Uncertainty quantifiable and signalto-noise ratio allows for statistical
assessment of trends
3. Uncertainty quantifiable and signalto-noise ratio allows for year on year
statistical assessments
1. Insufficient data for assessment (<5
years)
2. Sufficient data to make an
assessment of progress (5-10 years)
3. Both long and short -term trends can
be assessed (10+ years data)
1. Future data sources known to be
uncertain
2. Future data unthreatened
Time series
availability
Data security
Ease of
communication
3. Future data secure
1. Highly complex, requires detailed
explanation
2. Likely to be understood by most
3. Has been shown to be widelyunderstood
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2.1.1 - Trends in abundance,
temporal occurrence and spatial
distribution in the wild of nonindigenous species, particularly
invasive non indigenous species,
notably in risk areas, in relation to
the main vectors and pathways of
spreading of such species
2.2.1 - Ratio between invasive nonindigenous species and native
species in some well studied
taxonomic groups (e.g. fish,
macroalgae, molluscs) that may
provide a measure of change in
species composition (e.g. further to
the displacement of native species)
2.2.2 - Impacts of nonindigenous invasive species
at the level of species,
habitats and ecosystem,
where feasible
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
2
1
1
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report (appendix)
Indicator
Data
transparency
and auditability
Transparency
and soundness
of methodology
Data verification
1.
Data unavailable to public
2.
Limited summary data available
2.2.1 - Ratio between invasive nonindigenous species and native
species in some well studied
taxonomic groups (e.g. fish,
macroalgae, molluscs) that may
provide a measure of change in
species composition (e.g. further to
the displacement of native species)
2.2.2 - Impacts of nonindigenous invasive species
at the level of species,
habitats and ecosystem,
where feasible
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
2
1
1
1
1
1
13
10
10
3. Full raw/primary data set and
detailed description available
1. Methodology not available
2. Methodology available but not peer
reviewed
3. Methodology externally published
and peer reviewed
1. Unverified data
2.
Frequency of
updates
2.1.1 - Trends in abundance,
temporal occurrence and spatial
distribution in the wild of nonindigenous species, particularly
invasive non indigenous species,
notably in risk areas, in relation to
the main vectors and pathways of
spreading of such species
Some verification checks in place
3. Detailed verification in place and
documented
1. Periodic
2. 3-5 years
3. Annual or biennial
Geographic
coverage
1. Not full UK
2. UK coverage, some bias
3. Full UK coverage
Capacity for
disaggregation
TOTAL
Page 97 of 337
1. Cannot be disaggregated
2 Can be disaggregated but data quality
issues arise
3. Can be disaggregated to Country level
and assessed
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report (appendix)
Descriptor 3 - Commercial fish and shellfish
Indicator
Criteria
Levels
Precision
1. Unknown precision or precision quantifiable but unable to statistically
assess trends due to small sample size/unrepresentative/biased/high
volatility
2. Uncertainty quantifiable and signal-to-noise ratio allows for statistical
assessment of trends
3.1.1 - Fishing mortality (F)
3.2.1 - Spawning stock
biomass (SSB)
3
3
3
3
2
2
1
1
2
2
3
3
3
3
3. Uncertainty quantifiable and signal-to-noise ratio allows for year on
year statistical assessments
Time series availability
Data security
Ease of communication
Data transparency and
auditability
Transparency and
soundness of
methodology
Data verification
Page 98 of 337
1.
Insufficient data for assessment (<5 years)
2.
Sufficient data to make an assessment of progress (5-10 years)
3.
Both long and short -term trends can be assessed (10+ years data)
1.
Future data sources known to be uncertain
2.
Future data unthreatened
3.
Future data secure
1.
Highly complex, requires detailed explanation
2.
Likely to be understood by most
3.
Has been shown to be widely-understood
1.
Data unavailable to public
2.
Limited summary data available
3.
Full raw/primary data set and detailed description available
1.
Methodology not available
2.
Methodology available but not peer reviewed
3.
Methodology externally published and peer reviewed
1.
Unverified data
2.
Some verification checks in place
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report (appendix)
Indicator
3.
Frequency of updates
3.1.1 - Fishing mortality (F)
3.2.1 - Spawning stock
biomass (SSB)
Detailed verification in place and documented
1. Periodic
2. 3-5 years
3
3
2
2
1
1
23
23
3. Annual or biennial
1. Not full UK
2. UK coverage, some bias
Geographic coverage
3. Full UK coverage
1. Cannot be disaggregated
2 Can be disaggregated but data quality issues arise
Capacity for
disaggregation
3. Can be disaggregated to Country level and assessed
TOTAL
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Descriptor 5 - Eutrophication
Indicator
Criteria
Levels
Precision
1. Unknown precision or
precision quantifiable but
unable to statistically assess
trends due to small sample
size/unrepresentative/biased/h
igh volatility
2. Uncertainty quantifiable
and signal-to-noise ratio allows
for statistical assessment of
trends
3. Uncertainty quantifiable
and signal-to-noise ratio allows
for year on year statistical
assessments
1. Insufficient data for
assessment (<5 years)
2. Sufficient data to make an
assessment of progress (5-10
years)
3. Both long and short -term
trends can be assessed (10+
years data)
1. Future data sources
known to be uncertain
2. Future data unthreatened
Time series
availability
Data security
3.
Ease of
communication
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5.1.1 - Nutrient
concentration
in the water
column
5.1.2 Nutrient
ratios
5.2.1 Chlorophyll
concentration
in the water
column
5.2.2 - Water
transparency
5.2.3 Abundance
of
opportunistic
macrolalgae
5.2.4 Species shift
in floristic
composition
5.3.1 Abundance
of perennial
seaweeds
and
seagrasses
5.3.2 Dissolved
oxygen
2
2
2
1
3
3
3
2
2
2
2
1
1
2
1
2
2
2
2
1
2
2
2
1
3
2
3
2
2
3
2
3
Future data secure
1. Highly complex, requires
detailed explanation
2. Likely to be understood by
most
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report (appendix)
Indicator
Data
transparency
and auditability
Transparency
and soundness
of methodology
Data verification
Frequency of
updates
5.1.1 - Nutrient
concentration
in the water
column
5.1.2 Nutrient
ratios
5.2.1 Chlorophyll
concentration
in the water
column
5.2.2 - Water
transparency
5.2.3 Abundance
of
opportunistic
macrolalgae
5.2.4 Species shift
in floristic
composition
5.3.1 Abundance
of perennial
seaweeds
and
seagrasses
5.3.2 Dissolved
oxygen
3. Has been shown to be
widely-understood
1. Data unavailable to public
2. Limited summary data
available
3. Full raw/primary data set
and detailed description
available
1. Methodology not available
2. Methodology available
but not peer reviewed
3. Methodology externally
published and peer reviewed
1. Unverified data
2. Some verification checks
in place
3. Detailed verification in
place and documented
1. Periodic
2. 3-5 years
3
3
3
1
3
1
3
3
3
3
3
1
3
2
3
3
3
3
3
1
3
2
3
3
3
3
3
1
2
2
2
3
3
3
3
1
2
2
2
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
27
26
27
13
24
22
24
26
3. Annual or biennial
1. Not full UK
2. UK coverage, some bias
Geographic
coverage
3. Full UK coverage
1. Cannot be disaggregated
Capacity for
disaggregation
TOTAL
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2 Can be disaggregated but
data quality issues arise
3. Can be disaggregated to
Country level and assessed
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report (appendix)
Descriptor 7 – Hydrographical conditions
Indicator
Criteria
Levels
Precision
1. Unknown precision or precision quantifiable but unable to statistically
assess trends due to small sample size/unrepresentative/biased/high
volatility
2. Uncertainty quantifiable and signal-to-noise ratio allows for statistical
assessment of trends
7.1.1 - Extent of
affected by
permanent alterations
7.2.1 - Spatial
extent of habitats
affected by the
permanent change
7.2.2 - Changes
in Habitats
(function)
2
1
1
2
1
1
1.5
1
1
2
2
2
3
3
3
3
3
3
3. Uncertainty quantifiable and signal-to-noise ratio allows for year on
year statistical assessments
Time series availability
Data security
Ease of communication
Data transparency and
auditability
Transparency and
soundness of
methodology
Page 102 of 337
1.
Insufficient data for assessment (<5 years)
2.
Sufficient data to make an assessment of progress (5-10 years)
3.
Both long and short -term trends can be assessed (10+ years data)
1.
Future data sources known to be uncertain
2.
Future data unthreatened
3.
Future data secure
1.
Highly complex, requires detailed explanation
2.
Likely to be understood by most
3.
Has been shown to be widely-understood
1.
Data unavailable to public
2.
Limited summary data available
3.
Full raw/primary data set and detailed description available
1.
Methodology not available
2.
Methodology available but not peer reviewed
3.
Methodology externally published and peer reviewed
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report (appendix)
Indicator
Data verification
Frequency of updates
1.
Unverified data
2.
Some verification checks in place
3.
Detailed verification in place and documented
7.1.1 - Extent of
affected by
permanent alterations
7.2.1 - Spatial
extent of habitats
affected by the
permanent change
7.2.2 - Changes
in Habitats
(function)
3
3
3
1
1
1
1
1
1
3
3
3
21.5
19
19
1. Periodic
2. 3-5 years
3. Annual or biennial
1. Not full UK
2. UK coverage, some bias
Geographic coverage
3. Full UK coverage
1. Cannot be disaggregated
2 Can be disaggregated but data quality issues arise
Capacity for
disaggregation
3. Can be disaggregated to Country level and assessed
TOTAL
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Descriptor 8 - Contaminants
Indicator
Criteria
Levels
Precision
1. Unknown precision or precision quantifiable but unable to statistically
assess trends due to small sample size/unrepresentative/biased/high volatility
2. Uncertainty quantifiable and signal-to-noise ratio allows for statistical
assessment of trends
8.1.1 - Contaminant
concentrations
8.2.1 - Level of
pollution
effects
8.2.2 - Spills of oil or
chemicals
3
2
1
2
2
1
3
2
1
3
2
1
3
3
2
3
3
1
3
3
2
3. Uncertainty quantifiable and signal-to-noise ratio allows for year on year
statistical assessments
Time series availability
Data security
Ease of communication
Data transparency and
auditability
Transparency and
soundness of
methodology
Data verification
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1.
Insufficient data for assessment (<5 years)
2.
Sufficient data to make an assessment of progress (5-10 years)
3.
Both long and short -term trends can be assessed (10+ years data)
1.
Future data sources known to be uncertain
2.
Future data unthreatened
3.
Future data secure
1.
Highly complex, requires detailed explanation
2.
Likely to be understood by most
3.
Has been shown to be widely-understood
1.
Data unavailable to public
2.
Limited summary data available
3.
Full raw/primary data set and detailed description available
1.
Methodology not available
2.
Methodology available but not peer reviewed
3.
Methodology externally published and peer reviewed
1.
Unverified data
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report (appendix)
Indicator
Frequency of updates
2.
Some verification checks in place
3.
Detailed verification in place and documented
1. Periodic
2. 3-5 years
8.1.1 - Contaminant
concentrations
8.2.1 - Level of
pollution
effects
8.2.2 - Spills of oil or
chemicals
3
3
1
3
3
1
3
3
3
29
26
14
3. Annual or biennial
1. Not full UK
2. UK coverage, some bias
Geographic coverage
3. Full UK coverage
1. Cannot be disaggregated
2 Can be disaggregated but data quality issues arise
Capacity for
disaggregation
3. Can be disaggregated to Country level and assessed
TOTAL
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Descriptor 9 - Contaminants in fish and shellfish
Indicator
Criteria
Levels
Precision
1. Unknown precision or precision quantifiable but unable to statistically
assess trends due to small sample size/unrepresentative/biased/high volatility
2. Uncertainty quantifiable and signal-to-noise ratio allows for statistical
assessment of trends
9.1.1 - Actual levels of
contaminants that have
been detected and number
of contaminants which
have exceeded maximum
regulatory levels.
9.1.2 - Frequency of
regulatory levels being
exceeded.
1
1
1
1
1
1
3
2
2
2
3
3
3. Uncertainty quantifiable and signal-to-noise ratio allows for year on year
statistical assessments
Time series availability
Data security
Ease of communication
Data transparency and
auditability
Transparency and
soundness of
methodology
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1.
Insufficient data for assessment (<5 years)
2.
Sufficient data to make an assessment of progress (5-10 years)
3.
Both long and short -term trends can be assessed (10+ years data)
1.
Future data sources known to be uncertain
2.
Future data unthreatened
3.
Future data secure
1.
Highly complex, requires detailed explanation
2.
Likely to be understood by most
3.
Has been shown to be widely-understood
1.
Data unavailable to public
2.
Limited summary data available
3.
Full raw/primary data set and detailed description available
1.
Methodology not available
2.
Methodology available but not peer reviewed
3.
Methodology externally published and peer reviewed
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report (appendix)
Indicator
Data verification
Frequency of updates
1.
Unverified data
2.
Some verification checks in place
3.
Detailed verification in place and documented
9.1.1 - Actual levels of
contaminants that have
been detected and number
of contaminants which
have exceeded maximum
regulatory levels.
9.1.2 - Frequency of
regulatory levels being
exceeded.
3
3
1
1
1
1
3
3
19
18
1. Periodic
2. 3-5 years
3. Annual or biennial
1. Not full UK
2. UK coverage, some bias
Geographic coverage
3. Full UK coverage
1. Cannot be disaggregated
2 Can be disaggregated but data quality issues arise
Capacity for
disaggregation
3. Can be disaggregated to Country level and assessed
TOTAL
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Descriptor 10 - Marine litter
Indicator
Criteria
Levels
Precision
1. Unknown precision or precision quantifiable
but unable to statistically assess trends due to
small sample size/unrepresentative/biased/high
volatility
2. Uncertainty quantifiable and signal-to-noise
ratio allows for statistical assessment of trends
Time series
availability
Data security
Ease of
communication
Data
transparency
and auditability
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10.1.1 - Trends in the
amount of litter washed
ashore and/or deposited on
coastlines, including analysis
of its composition, spatial
distribution and, where
possible, source.
10.1.2 - Trends in the
amount of litter in the water
column (including floating
at the surface) and
deposited on the sea-floor,
including analysis of its
composition, spatial
distribution and, where
possible, source.
2
2
1
2.5
3
1.5
1
3
2
1.5
1
2
2.5
2
1
2
2.5
2
1
2
10.1.3 - Trends in
the amount,
distribution and,
where possible,
composition of
micro-particles (in
particular microplastics).
10.2.1 - Trends
in the amount
and composition
of litter ingested
by marine
animals (e.g.
stomach
analysis)
3. Uncertainty quantifiable and signal-to-noise
ratio allows for year on year statistical
assessments
1. Insufficient data for assessment (<5 years)
2. Sufficient data to make an assessment of
progress (5-10 years)
3. Both long and short -term trends can be
assessed (10+ years data)
1. Future data sources known to be uncertain
2.
Future data unthreatened
3.
Future data secure
1. Highly complex, requires detailed
explanation
2. Likely to be understood by most
3.
Has been shown to be widely-understood
1.
Data unavailable to public
2.
Limited summary data available
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Indicator
Transparency
and soundness
of methodology
Data verification
2.5
2
2
3
1.5
2
1
2
3
2
1
2
2
2
2
3
3
2
1
3
24
19
12
24.5
10.1.3 - Trends in
the amount,
distribution and,
where possible,
composition of
micro-particles (in
particular microplastics).
10.2.1 - Trends
in the amount
and composition
of litter ingested
by marine
animals (e.g.
stomach
analysis)
3. Full raw/primary data set and detailed
description available
1. Methodology not available
2. Methodology available but not peer
reviewed
3. Methodology externally published and peer
reviewed
1. Unverified data
2.
Frequency of
updates
10.1.1 - Trends in the
amount of litter washed
ashore and/or deposited on
coastlines, including analysis
of its composition, spatial
distribution and, where
possible, source.
10.1.2 - Trends in the
amount of litter in the water
column (including floating
at the surface) and
deposited on the sea-floor,
including analysis of its
composition, spatial
distribution and, where
possible, source.
Some verification checks in place
3. Detailed verification in place and
documented
1. Periodic
2. 3-5 years
3. Annual or biennial
1. Not full UK
2. UK coverage, some bias
Geographic
coverage
3. Full UK coverage
1. Cannot be disaggregated
Capacity for
disaggregation
2 Can be disaggregated but data quality issues
arise
3. Can be disaggregated to Country level and
assessed
TOTAL
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Descriptor 11 - Underwater noise
Indicator
Criteria
Levels
Precision
1. Unknown precision or precision quantifiable but unable
to statistically assess trends due to small sample
size/unrepresentative/biased/high volatility
2. Uncertainty quantifiable and signal-to-noise ratio allows
for statistical assessment of trends
11.1.1 - Proportion of days and their
distribution within a calendar year over
areas of a determined surface, as well as
their spatial distribution, in which
anthropogenic sound sources exceed
levels that are likely to entail significant
impact on marine animals measured as
Sound Exposure Level (in dB re 1
μPa².s), or as peak sound pressure level
(in dB re 1 μPa peak) at one metre,
measured over the frequency band 10 Hz
to 10 kHz
11.2.1 - Trends in the ambient
noise level within the 1/3 octave
bands 63 and 125 Hz (centre
frequency) (re 1 μPa RMS;
average noise level in these
octave bands over a year)
measured by observation stations
and/or with the use of models if
appropriate.
1
1
2
1
3
3
1
1
3
1
3. Uncertainty quantifiable and signal-to-noise ratio allows
for year on year statistical assessments
Time series availability
1.
Data security
2. Sufficient data to make an assessment of progress (5-10
years)
3. Both long and short -term trends can be assessed (10+
years data)
1. Future data sources known to be uncertain
Ease of communication
Data transparency and
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Insufficient data for assessment (<5 years)
2.
Future data unthreatened
3.
Future data secure
1.
Highly complex, requires detailed explanation
2.
Likely to be understood by most
3.
Has been shown to be widely-understood
1.
Data unavailable to public
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report (appendix)
Indicator
auditability
Transparency and
soundness of
methodology
Data verification
Frequency of updates
2.
11.1.1 - Proportion of days and their
distribution within a calendar year over
areas of a determined surface, as well as
their spatial distribution, in which
anthropogenic sound sources exceed
levels that are likely to entail significant
impact on marine animals measured as
Sound Exposure Level (in dB re 1
μPa².s), or as peak sound pressure level
(in dB re 1 μPa peak) at one metre,
measured over the frequency band 10 Hz
to 10 kHz
11.2.1 - Trends in the ambient
noise level within the 1/3 octave
bands 63 and 125 Hz (centre
frequency) (re 1 μPa RMS;
average noise level in these
octave bands over a year)
measured by observation stations
and/or with the use of models if
appropriate.
2
2
3
2
2
3
3
1
2
1
22
16
Limited summary data available
3. Full raw/primary data set and detailed description
available
1. Methodology not available
2.
Methodology available but not peer reviewed
3.
Methodology externally published and peer reviewed
1.
Unverified data
2.
Some verification checks in place
3.
Detailed verification in place and documented
1. Periodic
2. 3-5 years
3. Annual or biennial
1. Not full UK
2. UK coverage, some bias
Geographic coverage
3. Full UK coverage
1. Cannot be disaggregated
2 Can be disaggregated but data quality issues arise
Capacity for
disaggregation
TOTAL
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3. Can be disaggregated to Country level and assessed
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Appendix 3 - Targets and Potential Management Measures
measures indicator
matrix_Cefas and JNC
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Appendix 4 - Biodiversity components: species & habitat lists
The following lists of species and habitats (embedded files) contain an agreed list of
habitat and species used by HBDSEG in the development of targets and indicators
for GES. These were developed via ICG-COBAM, and thereby provide a level of
consistency in the assessment of biodiversity across the North-East Atlantic region.
The lists contain:

Predominant habitats and functional groups of species

Special (Listed) species and habitats from Community legislation and
international agreements.

Additional species being considered within some sub-regions for potential use
to represent the broader functional group in which they occur. This selection
is guided by the criteria below and is an ongoing process.
The lists are intended as a common starting point for identification of indicators for
GES. These lists may be extended to include an agreed subset of more common
species, representative for the functional groups (in liaison with ICG-COBAM, under
OSPAR). However, the agreed functional species groups contained in the attached
version can already be regarded as guidance for species assessments under MSFD.
The following guidance on the selection criteria for species within each functional
group (from ICG-COBAM (1) 11/4/1) provides a clear view on the operability
(practicability) and effectiveness of indicators based on the suggested species. The
selection of species to be assessed under MSFD in the OSPAR maritime area
should be representative in terms of:
i.
their abundance and distribution (i.e. also naturally predominant species
as well as species that are predominant as an effect of human activities
should be included);
ii.
their sensitivity towards specific human activities;
iii.
their suitability for the respective indicators and descriptors of the EU COM
decision;
iv.
the practicability (incl. cost effectiveness) to monitor them;
v.
their inclusion in existing monitoring programmes and time-series data;
vi.
their association with specific habitats.
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MSFD Habitats list:
MSFD Draft Species list (under development):
HabitatsWorksheetA
nnexI.xls
UK listed and
indicator species fish
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Appendix 5 - Supporting information for the Benthic Habitats
Section 3.2
Appendix 5A - Distribution of Benthic Habitats throughout UK waters.
Subtidal and deep-sea habitat types are derived principally from modelling; intertidal
habitat types are derived from survey data but cannot be seen on this scale of map.
Map A – Potential benthic habitat distrbution in the UK, based on EU SeaMap modelled data (2010). The
18 predominant habitats have been merged into 8 broad types for ease of visualisation (different reef
types and sediment types are not highlighted). Littoral (intertidal) habitats are not shown.
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Map B – Potential Annex I Habitats Directive Habitat distrbution in the UK. The map shows the potential
distribution of three Annex I habitat types that occur away from the coast. Other Annex I habitats are not
shown.
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Map C – Distribution of OSPAR Threatened and Declining habitats (biogenic reefs and seamounts)
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Map D – Distribution of OSPAR Threatened and Declining habitats (all other [non-reef] habitats)
There are clear regional differences in the distribution of benthic habitats within UK
waters, although information on the distribution of offshore habitats (especially
subtidal rock) is still incomplete. Intertidal rocky habitats (including rocky and
boulder shores and sea cliffs) are widespread, occurring in all Regional Seas.
Notable exceptions are the south-eastern and north-western coasts of England, as
well as parts of Wales, where intertidal sediments form extensive beaches,
sandbanks, saltmarshes and muddy shorelines. In other areas (e.g. Scotland and
Northern Ireland) such stretches of intertidal sediments are often interrupted by rocky
promontories and headlands.
The largest known areas of subtidal rock (including biogenic reefs) occur in Scottish
waters, particularly to the west of the Hebrides and around Shetland, though some
extensive areas also occur off Devon and Cornwall. Elsewhere this habitat occurs
mainly as a narrow band adjacent to rocky shores. Biogenic reefs are built by
marine species such as horse mussels (Modiolus modiolus) found mainly to the
north), and ross worms (Sabellaria spinulosa), which are more common in the south
and east.
Subtidal sediments cover the vast majority of the continental shelf around the UK.
Most of the shelf is covered by sands, gravels or mixed sediments, with muds mainly
accumulating in deep basins in the Northern North Sea and Irish Sea, as well as in
sheltered sealochs in Scotland and Northern Ireland; each of these sediment types
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supports distinctive communities. For MSFD purposes, they have been divided into
shallow and shelf subtidal sediment types, the distinction being that shallow
sediments may be regularly disturbed by surface waves and therefore support quite
different communities to shelf sediments. Large expanses of shallow subtidal
sediments are particularly widespread in the Irish Sea, the Eastern Channel and the
Southern North Sea and occur out to considerable distances offshore. Sediments
within coastal lagoons are largely confined to southern England and western
Scotland. Conversely, shelf sediments occur much closer to coasts where the water
deepens rapidly, e.g. around most of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Cornwall and on
Rockall Bank, west of Scotland.
Deep-sea habitats occur below 200m, and are found beyond the continental shelf
edge. Within UK waters they mainly occur to the north and west of Scotland and
west of Rockall, although there are also small areas in the extreme southwest off
Cornwall. Most of these are sediment habitats, with rocky habitats and reefs largely
confined to seamounts and similar structures.
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Appendix 5B - Relationship between predominant habitats, and Special
(listed) habitats and EUNIS habitat classes.
HabitatsSpreadsheet
AnnexII.xls
The table shows:
a. The predominant habitats (based on the TG1 types; Cochrane et al. 2010) and
the Special (listed) habitats and benthic species (from the Habitats Directive and
OSPAR Convention) that are associated with each predominant habitat;
b. The relationships between the predominant types and the listed types.
c. The relationships between the MSFD habitats and the EUNIS habitat classes;
The regions (~MSFD sub-regions) indicate where each habitat/species occurs
(green = pretty likely/certain, ? = possible).
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Appendix 5C - Draft Regional Seas (2009).
Note that these regional sea boundaries are slightly different to the ones used to
undertake the habitat assessment for Charting Progress 2 due to improvements in
the resolution of the biogeographic data used to draw the boundaries between
regions.
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Appendix 5D - Summary of the possible baseline-setting and targetsetting approaches
Further information on baseline-setting under the Habitats Directive (HD)
Range and area under the Habitats Directive require the setting of ‘favourable
reference values’ (FRVs) which effectively act as baselines against which the FCS
targets are set. These values are identified on the basis of habitat ‘viability’, which is
a difficult concept to apply to marine habitats. The favourable reference value for
range and area must be at least that when the Directive came into force. Information
on historic distribution may be used when defining the favourable reference range
and area, and 'best expert judgement' may be used to define it in the absence of
other data. For many Member States, including the UK, FCS is largely determined
by the status of habitats at the time the Habitats Directive came into force nationally
(1994), and the use of historical data is minimal. This means the baseline used
under the Habitats Directive is essentially ‘current state’ (see figure above), and the
opportunity for recovery of habitats that were extinct or extirpated (in a region) or
significantly modified before 1994 is limited (for example, European oyster beds
disappeared in the North Sea before 1994 and have not been considered in the FCS
assessments for Annex I Reef under the Directive).
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Appendix 5E - Sensitivity matrix and pressure thresholds
The matrix of vulnerability (below) shows the likely impact of a pressure on a habitat.
Impact (vulnerability) can be determined by combining information on sensitivity and
exposure. The scores for ‘sensitivity’ and ‘exposure to pressures’ are multiplied to
derive a coarse grading for feature vulnerability. This grading is set out in the Table
entitled ‘Categories of vulnerability’.
The matrix of vulnerability. The figures presented are for illustrative purposes only.
Relative sensitivity of the habitat to a specific pressure
Relative
exposure of the
habitat to a
specific
pressure
High (3)
Moderate (2)
Low (1)
None
detectable
(0)
High (3)
9
6
3
0
Medium (2)
6
4
2
0
Low (1)
3
2
1
0
None (0)
0
0
0
0
?
?
?
0
Exposure at an unknown level
Note the level of likely impact (vulnerability) will always be categorised ‘insufficient
information to make any assessment’ in cases where there is inadequate information
to assess either the exposure OR sensitivity of a given feature.
Categories of vulnerability. The figures presented are for illustrative purposes only.
High vulnerability
6 to 9
Moderate vulnerability
3 to 5
Low vulnerability
1 to 2
Vulnerability identified, but not quantified
as level of exposure unknown.
No known vulnerability
Insufficient information to make any
assessment
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0
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The pressure thresholds (targets) set out in spreadsheets below have been
developed by:

Determining the sensitivity of the MSFD habitat using information from the
MCZ project work

Using the ‘Matrix of vulnerability’ to determine what level of pressure exposure
the MSFD habitat could tolerate in line with ‘moderate vulnerability’, given its
specific sensitivity to that pressure (i.e. up to a score of 5 or a light blue
colour).

Setting a ‘qualitative pressure exposure threshold’ in line with a maximum
vulnerability of ‘moderate’ for each habitat. The threshold categories are:
o No or low exposure to pressure;
o Up to moderate exposure to pressure;
o Up to high exposure to pressure;
o Not Exposed;
o Unknown

Setting a confidence score (in brackets) in line with the confidence score
assigned to the sensitivity assessment (i.e. if the confidence in the sensitivity
assessment is low, the confidence in the qualitative pressure exposure
threshold will also be low).
The ‘qualitative pressure thresholds/targets’ in spreadsheet ‘Sensitivities matrix and
pressure targets’ can be articulated in terms of both the temporal frequency and
spatial distribution of a given pressure benchmark (see below for more information
about pressure benchmarks). This is because in some cases it may be appropriate
to manage the temporal frequency of a pressure to achieve GES, in some cases its
spatial distribution and in some cases both. For example, many biogenic reefs are
significantly impacted by the first occurrence of physical abrasion, and therefore
managing its temporal frequency may not be as effective as managing its spatial
distribution.
The matrix below presents:
i)
an assessment of the sensitivity of 108 MCZ features (which have been
grouped into Broadscale Habitats (based on EUNIS Classification Level 3),
Habitats of Conservation Interest and Species of Conservation Interest) to 5
physical and biological pressures that can be linked to human activities in the
marine environment
ii) an assessment of the sensitivity of the MSFD habitats to these 5 pressures,
established though a ‘translation’ of MCZ broadscale and listed habitat
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sensitivities into MSFD Predominant and listed habitat sensitivities. Note that
sensitivity scores have not been generated for Habitats Directive Annex I
habitats, as these were not covered by the MCZ project.
iii) a set of pressure thresholds based on the sensitivity scores of all the MSFD
habitats (except Habitats Directive Annex I habitats) for these 5 pressures
The final recommended pressure indicators and targets (thresholds) are set out
in Appendix 10 of this report (as well as in Chapter 3).
MSFD_Pressure_thre
sholds_3.xls
Full details of the methodology are provided in an accompanying project report:
Tillin, H.M., Hull, S.C. & Tyler-Walters, H.T.W., 2010. Accessing and developing the
required biophysical datasets and data layers for Marine Protected Areas network
planning and wider marine spatial planning purposes. Report No 22 Task 3
Development of a Sensitivity Tool (pressures-MCZ/MPA features).
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Appendix 5F - Background to sensitivity matrix information
Below is an extra from the Natural England & JNCC guidance for use of sensitivity matrix
information published in January 2011 for the Marine Conservation Zone Project.
Sensitivity of marine species and habitats: Guidance on using the Sensitivity Matrix,
Pressures and Activities Matrix, and combination tables to predict potential
implications of MCZ designation.
This guidance is to help in the use and interpretation of the sensitivity matrices and tables that have
been developed by Defra, Natural England and JNCC, and supplied to the regional MCZ projects.
The information for estimating general sensitivity of marine features includes the feature sensitivity to
pressures matrix, developed by ABPmer, and the activities/features tables subsequently put together
by Natural England. The feature sensitivity to pressures matrix shows the relative sensitivities of
marine features to environmental pressures, at specified benchmarks. The activities/features tables
build on this information, and allow looking up of the sensitivity of each marine species and habitat
feature to a given pressure, whilst simultaneously being able to see which activities are associated
with that pressure. This was achieved by combining the data of the feature sensitivity to pressures
matrix and an activities and pressures association matrix, produced by JNCC.
Specific issues to note when interpreting the tables and matrices
1. Interpretation of sensitivity assessments and associated human activities
Due to the way that the activities/features tables are put together there is a chance
that the results could be misinterpreted. For example, if the table shows that a
feature is highly sensitive to a particular pressure and that that pressure is
associated with a particular activity; it does not automatically follow that the activity
would be have to be prohibited in order to protect the feature at a given location. A
discussion and/or evaluation will need to be made, taking into account the way
activities operate, to ensure the pressure or pressures are actually occurring on the
specific sites. Conversely, if a feature was deemed to have a medium or low
sensitivity to a pressure, it would not necessarily mean that activities associated with
the pressure could be maintained at current levels, particularly if an associated
activity was causing the pressure at or above the pressure benchmark (see below).
Again, this will depend on how activities are operating within the site, for example
frequency, gear type etc.
2. Pressure benchmarks
The sensitivity assessments were made using pressure benchmarks, which defined
a particular level of pressure. They considered what the effect on the feature would
be if the pressure occurred at that pressure benchmark, or level. For example, the
sensitivity of horse mussel beds to ‘shallow abrasion’ was determined to be high,
where the Natural England & JNCC guidance for use of sensitivity matrix information
– January 2011 pressure benchmark for shallow abrasion is ‘damage to seabed
surface and penetration ≤25mm’.
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However, while there are activities associated with causing shallow abrasion, it may
not be the case that those activities necessarily cause the pressure at that
benchmark, within a specific marine site. Therefore, the benchmark describes the
level of pressure to which the feature is sensitive, and not the level, or intensity of the
associated activity(s).
Intensity and type of activity, and therefore site-level sensitivity considerations, will
be location and activity-specific so definitive general assessments are difficult to
make accurately. Decisions on management will ultimately require expert judgement
on a case-by-case basis, and the evidence on which any decision is based should
be provided for transparency.
3. Sensitivity ‘ranges’
In some cases the sensitivity assessment of certain features to a particular pressure
is necessarily presented as a range (e.g. ‘medium to high sensitivity’). This might be
because the feature in question is broad-scale, and comprised of component subhabitats that are not all equally sensitive to the same pressure. An example might
be subtidal sand, which includes both high and low mobility habitats. Its sensitivity to
‘physical removal and extraction of the substratum’ is considered to range from ‘Low’
to ‘High’ sensitivity on the basis that stable diverse communities will exist in some
areas (higher sensitivity) whilst mobile and less diverse areas will exist in others
(lower sensitivity).
In these cases, for the purposes of clarity, the precautionary approach has been
taken and the higher sensitivity result has been listed in the matrix and the collation
table. However, where the sensitivity assessment is a range, this has been indicated
by an asterisk and it will be possible to refer to the original information to work out
the detail of the assessment if required. Further information, if available, such as the
presence of sub-habitats or species, could be used to refine the sensitivity
assessment for a particular broad-scale habitat site.
4. Features
The feature sensitivity to pressures matrix will be used by a number of different
marine projects across the UK. As such the features listed are not specific to the
MCZ Project or the Ecological Network Guidance. However, the broad-scale
habitats and features of conservation importance listed in the Ecological Network
Guidance are all represented in the features sensitivity to pressures matrix.
5. Coincident features and activities
In the over-arching sensitivity table there will be instances where it appears that a
feature is sensitive to an activity that does not overlap with the feature. This is a
factor of combining the sensitivity matrix and pressure/activity matrix, linked through
the pressures; and common sense will need to be applied in these cases to
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disregard those activities that, although they may be associated with the pressure,
do not interact with the feature. For example, coastal saltmarsh is highly sensitive to
‘physical change (to another seabed type)’, which is in turn associated with fishing
through hydraulic dredging. However, fishing through hydraulic dredge would
obviously not occur on saltmarsh. Later in the process, the Natural England & JNCC
guidance for use of sensitivity matrix information – January 2011 analyses of
‘exposure of features to pressures’, should resolve this issue. Natural England and
JNCC will also look into ways to screen out these anomalous results in the
meantime.
6. ‘Compatibility’ of activities
The matrices and activities/features tables do not show ‘compatibility’ of activities
with features. The compatibility or incompatibility of features with activities will
depend on a wide range of site-specific variables, such as location, intensity
(frequency and duration), and current management of activity. Using a matrix
approach for predicting ‘compatibility’ in this simplified way would give spurious and
in many cases misleading answers. The activities/features tables provide an initial
indication of which activities are associated with pressures that can impact certain
features.
This is the first step in the process of assessing exposure, and although the regional
MCZ projects will undertake a vulnerability assessment (looking at the exposure of
the feature to a pressure), a more detailed scientific vulnerability assessment will be
subsequently undertaken to inform the Impact Assessments, management measures
and enforcement. Defra, MMO, JNCC and NE are currently planning how this will be
carried out.
7. Confidence assessments
The sensitivity scores in the sensitivity matrix, and therefore the scores that have
been carried through to the tables, have been made through a rapid assessment
approach, based on expert judgement. For some features or pressures, there is
good knowledge of sensitivity, but for others information is limited. Each sensitivity
assessment has an accompanying confidence score. This indicates the relative
confidence, according to the criteria (below), indicated by the specialists at the time
of making the sensitivity assessment.
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Confidence score
Low Confidence (L)
Medium Confidence (M)
High Confidence (H)
Definition
There is limited or no specific or
suitable proxy information on the
sensitivity of the feature to the relevant
pressure. The assessment is based
largely on expert judgement.
There is some specific evidence or
good proxy information on the
sensitivity of the feature to the relevant
pressure.
There is good information on the
sensitivity of the feature to the relevant
pressure. The assessment is well
supported by the scientific literature.
8. Sensitivity (resistance and recoverability), pressures and pressure
benchmarks
Sensitivity: A measure of tolerance (or intolerance) to changes in environmental
conditions, made up of:

Resistance (tolerance/intolerance): response to change, whether an element
can absorb disturbance or stress without changing character, and;

Resilience (recoverability): the ability of a system or feature to recover from
disturbance or stress.
Pressure: The mechanism through which an activity has an effect on any part of the
ecosystem.
Pressure Benchmarks: The pressure definitions and benchmarks were established
by ABPmer and MarLIN under the MB102 sensitivity matrix contract. Where
practicable three benchmarks were developed for each pressure, where the
benchmarks describe the breakpoints between high/medium and medium/low
pressure level, and the mid-point between these two benchmarks (defined as
medium pressure). This medium pressure was used for assessing the sensitivity
score within the overall sensitivity matrix. To develop the pressure benchmarks,
information was drawn from a number of sources including:

existing benchmarks from other sensitivity assessments (MarLIN website
www.marlin.ac.uk);

environmental quality standards, such as water quality standards established
under the EC Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC);
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
guideline values for concentrations of contaminants in sediment and biota
(e.g. OSPAR environmental Action Criteria (EAC’s), Canadian Interim
Sediment Quality Guidelines (ISQCs);

initial thresholds developed for indicators of Good Environmental Status under
the EC Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC);

climate change projections (UKCP09);

expert knowledge of the nature and scale of hydrological changes associated
with marine infrastructure developments in UK waters
The pressure benchmarks were further refined following review during the
workshops. More information on the development and rationale for the pressure
benchmarks can be found in the MB0102 Sensitivity Matrix Report.
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Appendix 5G – Rock and Biogenic Reef Habitats – Additional detail
Below is supporting information on the targets and indicators which have been
proposed by HBDSEG for rock and biogenic reef habitats. It should be read in
conjunction with sections 3.2.5 and 3.2.8 on advice for selecting indicators and
setting targets and covers the three categories of development for indicators
(operational now, operational by 2014 (defined by 2012) and operational by 2018).
Existing European Targets and Indicators
Intertidal species composition & abundance (WFD rocky shore macroalgal
tool) Assessments are undertaken at the water body scale (10-25km stretches of
coastline: www.wfduk.org) throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland. The WFD
Macroalgal blooming tool (MAB) is not relevant to rocky shores because nuisance
opportunist species only occur on sedimentary shores. There are currently no
sublittoral macroalgal or rocky invertebrate community tools used under WFD in the
UK. The Rocky Shore Tool Paper v.5 by the Marine Plants Task Team describes
the macroalgal indicator in detail (see also Wells et al. 2007).
The rocky shore macroalgal tool is based on the total number of seaweed species
found by a defined search procedure on an open coast shore. The tool does not use
the abundance of seaweeds because cyclic succession results in large natural
changes in seaweed cover in just a few years and this has nothing to do with
changes in quality. Correspondingly, seaweed species richness is little affected by
total cover and remains constant in the absence of environmental change. However,
subhabitat diversity on a shore does affect species richness so differences between
shores are taken into account in the assessment.
Although detailed species composition is not used in the WFD macroalgal tool,
aspects of the breakdown of the community are used as supporting measures
because the % green algae increases with lower quality and % red algae increases
with higher quality. Species lists are obtained on single occasion visits to a shore
over two hours between May to September and uses a reduced species list (RSL) of
70 species (slightly different lists for different parts of British Isles) to allow for the
skill-base of non specialist surveyors. The number of species present is a surrogate
for total species. Under WFD species numbers and composition on a shore are
translated onto a sliding scale from 0 to 1.0 and organized into five quality categories
within this range this is the Ecological Quality Ratio. The relationship between
species total and physical shore features is accounted for in this process.
For England and Wales the surveys using the macroalgal tool are done by the
Environment Agency (often Wells Marine Surveys, under contract to the EA). The
Scottish Environmental Protection Agency have maintained seaweed monitoring
efforts but this year voluntary severance schemes have reduced the necessary skill
base. The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) have detailed coverage of
Northern Ireland shores. Although not directly relevant to UK MSFD work, the
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Environmental Protection Agency in the Republic of Ireland has been fully engaged
in the development and implementation of this tool and Norway has since adopted it.
Spain and Portugal currently use differing approaches.
Existing UK Targets and Indicators
Intertidal community indicator (MarClim)
The intertidal community monitoring undertaken within the MarClim programme is
not directly underpinned by a statutory requirement such as WFD. Its development
and implementation has been funded by DEFRA and the UK Conservation Agencies
as a climate indicator and has since been used as context to Habitats Directive and
Charting Progress national assessments. Like the WFD macroalgal tool, the
MarClim monitoring could be double-badged under MSFD to provide wider coverage
of Descriptor 1 Indicator Class 1.6.1, i.e. the condition of the typical species and
communities. The MarClim programme complements the WFD macroalgal tool
because it offers wider taxonomic coverage (covering invertebrate species too),
enhanced geographic coverage and therefore confidence in assessment and also
offers explicit climate change calibration of assessments (an MSFD requirement).
MarClim nevertheless would need some development to meet these new roles.
Additional species and habitat types would need to be added to surveys. This
should include the incorporation of functional groups in surveys that indicate boulder
turning, one of the greatest human impacts on rock shores.
The MarClim method uses a rocky shore species list with a reduced list of
temperature sensitive species of invertebrates and macroalage of northern coldwater
(N), southern warmwater (S) and non-native (NNS) origins, with range limits
occurring in, or near the UK. Baseline data used to support the derivation of the list
and selection of monitoring sites is taken from extensive studies in the 1950s, 1980s,
1990s and annual surveys carried out from 2002-date by the Marine Biological
Association of the UK around England, Wales and Scotland (Mieszkowska et al.
2005, Mieszkowska 2010, Mieszkowska 2011). The data primarily allows for shifts in
geographic distribution and range of individual indicator species to be tracked but
also provides a measure of changes in community composition and detection of
changes in the dominance of key structural and functional groups such as grazers,
space occupiers, predators and primary producers (Mieszkowska 2010).
Categorical abundance data (SACFOR) is collected for the species on the list at
each site (including records of absence, recorded as Not Seen). Quadrat counts are
also undertaken for N, S, NSS barnacles, N&S limpets and timed searches for S
topshells. These data provide information on population dynamics, recruitment
success and competitive dominance between N&S species (Mieszkowska et al.
2006; 2007; Poloczanska et al. 2008).
Changes in SACFOR category for individual species will indicate functionally
important community level changes through a combination of improvements
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(increase in category), no change (same category score) or a reduction in condition
(1-2 category reduction = ‘deviation’, 3 category reduction = unacceptable, a decline
from Common or greater to Occasional, Rare or Not Seen = ‘destroyed’).
CCW have methods to assess the scale of bolder disturbance in N2K sites. This
methodology can easily be added to MarClim surveys with taxanomic abilities no
greater than existing surveys. The location and condition of under-boulder fauna
and the presence and location of an anoxic zone on the surface of the boulder can
be used to score condition in one of four categories using a systematic sampling
strategy (Moore et al. 2009).
New indicators defined by 2012, operational by 2014
Area of subtidal biogenic structures
Area measures are applicable to structures formed by Sabellaria spinulosa (Ross
worm), Sabellaria alveolata (Honeycomb worm), Serpula vermicularis (tubeworm),
Mytilus edulis (blue mussel), Modiolus modiolus (horse mussel), Limaria hians
(gaping file shell) and Lophelia pertusa (cold-water coral) and maerl beds. It is
possible that Ostrea edulis (native oyster) may also have fallen into this category but
any structures formed by this species are probably extinct in UK waters (see Beck et
al. 2011).
Biogenic structures occur in a range of environmental settings and possess varying
biophysical properties, therefore extent has been measured using a number of
methods such as towed and drop-down video transects, intertidal grid and transects,
systematic grab sampling and hydroacoustic survey (e.g. Roberts et al. 2004;
Lindenbaum et al. 2008; Moore 2009; Moore et al. 2009; Stillman et al. 2010).
Extant data have been collected for intertidal fisheries management, assessments of
bird food availability for SPAs under the Birds Directive (e.g. Moore 2009; Stillman et
al. 2010), EIAs for developments, and SAC management and monitoring
(Lindenbaum et al. 2008; Moore et al. 2009). Methods are generally cost effective
and easy to use. However, application is patchy within the UK. Data also needs to
be collated and mobilised across agencies and sectors to enable a national MSFD
indicator to be assessed.
Repeatability of methods and detection and heterogeneity of the structures influence
choice of methods and scale of measurement errors. Differing measurement errors
will need accommodation during combined assessments: scale-up to appropriate
assessment units may be necessary. Extant monitoring needs systematic collection
and collation and geographical expansion of extant schemes to get appropriate
coverage.
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Area of Subtidal rock
Widespread active monitoring for this indicator is also not cost effective but collation
of extant data to underpin a desk-based assessment would be feasible.
Extent measures at UK or regional sea level for subtidal rock are available from a
combination of models and multibeam data (ref MESH & Robinson et al.). Direct
monitoring of subtidal rock at a UK scale is not cost effective. A desk assessment
can be undertaken for this indicator as it was for Charting Progress 2 (DEFRA 2010).
Up to date rock extent maps would need to be collated and over-laid with pressure
data to simultaneously measure and assess extent and the area over which
community change may have occurred due to anthropogenic pressure.
Intertidal rock extent (inc exposure sub-types)
Burrows (submitted) and other have modelled and ground truthed shore types and
thereby estimated the extent of different exposure types and the relative proportions
affected by coastal developments. Some areas have ground-truthed Phase 1
intertidal survey data (Wyn et al. 2000) enabling area measures of shore types but
for Scotland and elsewhere high coastal complexity and scale make linear extent the
achievable option and common denominator at a UK scale. This indicator is cost
effective, easily measured, and achievable as a desk-based study using groundtruthed model data and development information.
Area of littoral chalk habitat
Most areas of intertidal chalk in the SE of England have been mapped (Natural
England and Environment Agency) but other sources of information may be required
from elsewhere. Some new data will be required but this indicator can be achieved
with systematic data collation efforts.
Chalk habitats are nationally rare and have been historically lost during coastal
development and defence. The area or linear extent of this habitat can be
systematically assessed using a desk-based approach, collating data from within
and outwith SACs. Natural England’s (NE) Casework Tracker database has suitable
data on coastal development and mapping and other data in are available in SE
England NE, Wildlife Trusts, Shore Search, Marclim and E. Sussex CC.
Area of intertidal seacaves
This potential indicator would need to be a desk-based assessment of known
developments; a baseline of all sea caves is not achievable.
It is uneconomic to actively monitor sea caves at a UK scale because some parts of
the UK are highly complex with many sea caves and most are unaffected by
anthropogenic activity. In some coastal regions, however, they have been bricked-
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up in coastal development work and in these areas ad hock monitoring does occur in
response to coastal development pressure.
Abundance of associated species on biogenic reef
Community-based indicators are applicable to several types of biogenic structures:
Sabellaria alveolata, Serpula vermacularis, Mytilus edulis, Modiolus modiolus
Limaria hians and Lophelia pertusa. Data are available from several types of
biogenic structure in the UK (e.g. Rees et al., 2008; Sanderson et al. 2008; Trigg et
al., 2011) using directed sampling by divers, towed video and intertidal coring.
Methods are cost effective and easily applied but small-scale heterogeneity requires
careful consideration of deployment strategy, stratification and statistical power in
most cases.
Community composition varies between biogenic structures of the same species so
this indicator and its targets will need to be derived from assessments on a site-bysite basis in the first instance. Physical impact models need incorporation e.g. those
for Modiolus, Serpula and Limaria (Cook et al. in prep, Moore et al. 2009, Service &
Magorrian 1997). Application of multivariate and univariate indices (inc WFD
multimetrics) needs evaluation at the scale of a UK MSFD indicator. Wider
geographic coverage will be required than present sporadic monitoring in UK SACs.
Community based indicators for Sabellaria spinulosa will require careful
consideration.
Density of biogenic reef forming species
This indicator is potentially applicable to several types of biogenic structures:
Sabellaria spinulosa, Sabellaria alveolata, Mytilus edulis, Modiolus modiolus, Limaria
hians and Lophelia pertusa. In common with the preceding indicator, an
understanding of appropriate targets needs to be constructed within a model of state
that is yet poorly understood for many of the biogenic types. Wider geographic
coverage will also be required despite various local monitoring activities in SACs
(e.g. Rees et al. 2008; Sanderson et al. 2008). Methods are cost effective and easily
applied but small-scale heterogeneity requires careful consideration of deployment
strategy, stratification and statistical power in most cases. Lophelia reefs in NW
Scotland may present substantial experimental and logistical hurdles.
Epifaunal indicator species
Widespread drop camera work would be needed to make this indicator operational
and there may be scope for new towed technology application. The abundance per
unit of area of erect taxa can be determined for a unit of video footage. Many of
these taxa are slow-growing, sessile and vulnerable to physical abrasion although a
pressure gradient model may be need to be tested to determine target levels.
This indicator is closely related to the Subtidal species composition & abundance
(sponge / anthozoan) indicator above but addresses horizontal rocky habitats,
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generally in deeper water, and over a wider area. Sufficient monitoring in deeper
habitats would be relatively more expensive but there are efficiencies to be gained
by using the same platform as for other indicators.
New indicators operational by 2018
Subtidal species composition & abundance (sponge / anthozoan communities)
Fragile sponge and anthozoan communities on subtidal rocky habitats have been
studied using divers in circalittoral steeply inclined rocky habitats where erect
sponges and anthozoans dominate in some UK protected areas. They have also
been studied in more horizontal and often deeper habitat settings using drop-down
and towed video (Erect epifaunal indicator species - below). A national indicator
would require a duel approach to both broad types and stratification to particular
biotope types in each case. A number of sentinel monitoring stations would be
required. This indicator would be indicative of wider circalittoral communities and
potentially sensitive to abrasion. Although cost effective and easily measured, the
establishment of monitoring stations and supporting case studies would require
some investment.
Sponge diversity
Sponge dominated communities occur widely in the UK shallow circalittoral.
Morphological richness and diversity measures in sponge communities are a useful,
cost effective surrogate for sponge species richness and diversity (Bell & Barnes
2001; Bell 2007) and there is evidence elsewhere in the world that sponge species
diversity is responsive to water quality. Morphological monitoring baselines for some
sponge communities have been developed in Welsh MPAs but the ecological
response model remains untested within Atlantic Europe. Developing this indicator
would require extended geographic coverage and a test of the community model
response.
Kelp depth and kelp park depth
Kelp depth is linked to light attenuation (e.g. Kain 1979; Dayton 1985). In recent
trials the max depth bcd at which kelp and kelp park occurs can be precisely
measured and data are currently available for some parts of the UK. Historic data
may also be retrievable. Burrows (submitted) shows a link between biodiversity and
kelp depth, therefore a measure of kelp depth can be used as a cost effective
surrogate for infralittoral biodiversity (but will need periodic direct measurement). A
national case study would verify the infralittoral biodiversity - kelp depth link and
serve as a repeatable reference point for periodic re-survey. Monitoring site
selection needs to include appropriate geology. Some turbid regions such as SE
England may not be appropriate. Remote sensing data on turbidity may offer
additional context for this indicator.
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Appendix 5H – Sediment Habitats – Additional detail
Below is supporting information on the targets and indicators which have been
proposed by HBDSEG for sediment habitats. It should be read in conjunction with
section 3.2.6 on advice for selecting indicators and setting targets and section 3.2.7
on advice on setting baselines. All sediment indicators which are not already in use
within the WFD fall into the category of ‘operational by 2014, defined by 2012’ and
therefore this is the only category considered here.
The sediment habitat list consists of 12 predominant habitats and 16 special
habitats. Other habitats originally listed under sediments were considered to be
more appropriate to be dealt with as rock and biogenic reef habitats, namely, Coral
gardens, Ostrea edulis beds and Deep sea sponge aggregations. The only
sediment habitat listed not occurring in UK waters (North Sea and Celtic Sea subregions) is Cymodocea meadows. The proposed sediment indicators in this report
are suggested in most cases as being applicable to all sediment habitats although
the value of using indicators such as range and extent for some widely distributed
predominant habitats such as shelf and abyssal sediments is probably limited. The
Redox Potential Discontinuity (RPD) / Sediment Profile Imagery (SPI) indicator
suggested for development will have limited applicability where sediments are
coarse/highly mobile due to the lack of any RPD layers and difficulties in utilising
SPI.
Other indicators are specific to habitats such as the WFD seagrass (Zostera beds)
and the Opportunistic Macroalgae tools (intertidal mudflats and possibly littoral
sand). As with the seagrass tool, the Infaunal Quality Index (IQI) has been
developed for coastal and transitional waters under WFD so will require further work
to apply in offshore environments. The WFD intertidal seagrass tool has been in
development since 2004 and entered use operationally in 2007. It has been
developed and tested at individual beds and water bodies in different European
countries. The UK and Republic of Ireland Marine Plants Expert group have agreed
a common matrix for allocating status to intertidal seagrass assessments. The
benthic invertebrate soft sediment IQI tool has a long history of research into its use
as an index for assessing ecological status of benthic invertebrate communities. The
intertidal opportunistic macroalgae tool was developed from 2003 and has been
used operationally for WFD since 2006 (components of the opportunistic macroalgae
tool have been used for assessment for Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive
since the late 1990s). The IQI and opportunistic macroalgae tools were used for
reporting ecological status in the first round of WFD River Basin Management Plans.
The seagrass tool, IQI and opportunistic macroalgae tools have also been validated
against comparable assessment methods of other member states bordering the
North East Atlantic through the WFD Intercalibration process. A saltmarsh tool is
under development (Best et al 2007) but does not have the same kind of evidence
base as exists for the other tools at present although there have been England and
Wales-wide assessments of extent and in many waterbodies. This provides a useful
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baseline against which repeat surveys can be made and the saltmarsh tool refined
for broader use.
For the WFD intertidal seagrass indicator there is already some monitoring in place
for WFD whereby bed extent is assessed by directly tracking around the bed or
remotely through aerial imagery and quadrats placed to obtain % cover. The WFDUKTAG report also suggests that the extent of seagrass beds may in some cases be
measured by remote imagery. Sampling programmes have been established for IQI
in a limited number of water bodies under WFD but there is currently no offshore
monitoring in place for IQI. Sampling occurs for the opportunistic macroalgal tool
with sites chosen by stratified random sampling within the intertidal zone. Saltmarsh
assessments will be based on quadrat sampling along stratified random transects to
examine changes in vertical zonation within the intertidal zone as well as aerial
extent using aerial imagery. The saltmarsh tool is expected to be used operationally
in 2012. Although indicators will mostly be applicable across habitats, targets will
vary according to the habitat under consideration. The expert advisory group on
sediments also suggests that other habitats may need to be identified under the
‘widespread habitats’ category and more urgently under the category ‘habitats which
merit a particular reference’.
New indicators defined by 2012, operational by 2014
Distributional Range of Habitat (Indicator 1.4.1)
This indicator is suitable for establishing the geographical range of a habitat (i.e.
northern and southernmost limit National Grid Reference (NGR), lat/long), both at a
large scale (e.g. UK) and a smaller scale (e.g. within a region sea). It would be more
useful for habitats that are at risk of a retraction in range (e.g. saltmarsh) rather than
those for which long-term changes are unlikely (e.g. Abyssal sediment).
Distributional pattern of habitat (Indicator 1.4.2)
This indicator is tightly linked to the ‘range of habitat’ indicator but would show
distribution information where that is thought to be important. For example, it may be
useful to see distance between Zostera (seagrass) beds or other special habitats as
this can be linked to connectivity of systems and the ability of habitats to be
maintained through dispersal of larvae/propagules from other populations.
Area of sediment habitat (Indicator 1.5.1)
This indicator would look at the spatial extent (area) of all non-intertidal sediment
habitats (predominant and special) establishing the location (NGR, lat/long) and
boundary of habitat (NGR, lat/long). The reason ‘intertidal habitat area’ and ‘habitat
area’ are proposed as two separate indicators is that there is a lot of information on
the location and distribution of intertidal sediment habitats whereas many of the
subtidal sediment habitats will have to rely on mainly modelled maps. There is also
a difference in pressures that the intertidal and subtidal regions are subjected to and
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there is a greater array of management and policy drivers at the terrestrial/marine
boundary. One of the most important issues in utilising this indicator will be to
separate changes in habitat distribution/area caused by anthropogenic impacts from
changes due to new information becoming available from surveys. For example, a
5% loss in a habitat could go unnoticed if the equivalent amount of habitat is ‘found’
due to improvements in modelled distribution based on new survey data. There is
an additional issue around our ability to measure extent at present as there are
currently significant errors associated with the modelled approach and even
techniques used in the field which have their own associated errors (e.g. positionfixing and instrumentation error). Expert judgement and models will continue to play
a significant part in this judgement and have done so to date for Habitats Directive.
Redox Potential Discontinuity / Sediment Profile Imaging (Indicator 1.6.3 and
criterion 6.2):
It is proposed that an indicator be used based on sediment profile imaging (SPI) with
sampling taking place on a decadal basis for offshore environments (but could be
sampled more frequently in coastal areas where some current monitoring already
exists). The preferable approach would be to use SPI to just measure benthic
habitat quality index (BHQ), an approach described by Rosenberg et al (2009) who
related it to EU-WFD environmental quality status. The indicator could therefore be
applied to a wide range of coastal and offshore habitats including deep sea
sediments (Diaz and Trefry 2006) although it would need some refining for deep sea
areas. It would also need to be supplemented with some conventional quantitative
sampling.
Sediment Profile Imaging (SPI) has been used for many years as a pollution
monitoring technique by evaluating the activity of resident marine fauna (O’Reilly et
al 2006; Keegan et al 2001). This means that for certain areas (e.g. Galway Bay and
Kinsale Harbour) there are now several years of SPI data (P. Dando – pers. Comm.)
and other UK laboratories are investigating SPI as a tool for long-term benthic
monitoring.15 Challenges such as removing the subjective nature of interpreting
results have been addressed by developing specialist software (Geeta et al 2004).
Recently there has been more interest in utilising SPI techniques to provide
indicators for WFD and MSFD. For example Birchenough et al (2011) look at using
two metrics, bioturbation potential (Bpc) calculated from quantitative information and
apparent Redox Discontinuity Layer (aRPD) derived from SPI images as an indicator
tool to assess seabed structure and function of ecosystems. As Bioturbation
Potential (Bpc) is very costly to calculate for different sites and cannot be derived
15
http://www.oceanlab.abdn.ac.uk/research/spi.php
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from SPI data (P. Dando – pers. Comm.) the preferable approach would be to use
SPI to just measure benthic habitat quality index (BHQ), an approach described by
Rosenberg et al (2009) who related it to EU-WFD environmental quality status. The
indicator could therefore be applied to a wide range of coastal and offshore habitats
including deep sea sediments although it would need some refining for deep sea
areas. There may also be some difficulty with coarser sediments and even in the
deep sea penetration depth may be an issue. There would also need to be ‘groundtruthing’ using a box corer or similar deep sampling device (so it samples at an
adequate depth). This would also be undertaken alongside the SPI based
monitoring at a decadal scale.
Additional supporting information on advice on setting baselines for sediment
habitats
For the WFD seagrass, opportunistic macroalgal and saltmarsh tools, reference
conditions are derived using a combination of historic data and expert judgement.
For the Infaunal Quality Index (IQI) reference conditions are derived using a
combination of best available low pressure data and expert judgement with reference
conditions being adapted according to habitat. Reference conditions for the IQI are
under continued development as data becomes available.
For the indicators ‘range of Habitat’, ‘spatial distribution of habitat’, ‘intertidal Habitat
area’ and ‘habitat Area’ it is important to consider baselines (and targets) established
under other directives and policy reports for these quantity elements i.e. Favourable
Conservation Status (Habitats Directive), Good Ecological Status (Water Framework
Directive), thresholds for ‘threatened and declining habitats and species’ (OSPAR)
and ‘area impact assessments’ (Charting Progress 2 Habitats assessment). For a
baseline, Charting Progress uses historical conditions i.e. a concept of ‘undisturbed
conditions’. OSPAR also uses a historical baseline and Good ecological status
under the Water Framework Directive is equivalent to undisturbed conditions.
The Habitats Directive takes a slightly different approach in using a baseline which
incorporates the concept of viable area of habitat against which to assess habitat
loss. The setting of this baseline can be current conditions (if the area is considered
to be ‘viable’) but can also use historical data to construct a viable area, if required.
Nine of the special sediment habitats are covered by baselines and targets as part of
the Habitats Directive, with the remaining five special habitats being covered by
OSPAR. The twelve predominant habitats were all assessed as part of Charting
Progress 2 with baselines and targets based on a combination of OSPAR and
Habitats Directive thresholds. For GES, it is proposed to retain all the baselines as
set out in these policy drivers whilst recognising the challenges of providing historical
baselines for any habitat. It is also important to note that for at least two of the
habitats (Atlantic salt meadows - Glauco-Puccinellietalia maritimae’ and ‘Zostera
beds’), information on habitat extent is included as part of the assessment of GEcS
for WFD).
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For the pressure related condition indicators ‘distribution of pressures’ and
‘percentage seabed adversely affected by human activities’ the baseline would be
the based on the assessment undertaken for Charting Progress 2 (and any available
updated information). As already stated, ‘changes beyond prevailing conditions’ is
not an indicator in itself with an associated baseline and target but really forms part
of the context for all of the condition indicators, to allow anthropogenic changes to be
identified. The information from the monitoring of changes in prevailing conditions,
along with information on ocean processes would allow an understanding of current
baselines of state for sediment habitats.
For the SPI indicator the baseline will have to be set using expert judgement making
sure that sampling was undertaken in a way that took into account various factors
such as seasonal variation in RPD depth.
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Appendix 6 - Pelagic habitats report
The Development of UK Pelagic (Plankton) Indicators and Targets for the
MSFD
This annex is meant to supplement the information contained in the actual report
with technical detail. Repeating information and content has been omitted from the
annex in the interest of brevity.
Full documentation of this abbreviated annex can be found in: Gowen, McQuattersGollop, Tett, Best, Bresnan, Castellani, Cook, Forster, Scherer and Mckinney, The
Development of UK Pelagic (Plankton) Indicators and Targets for the MSFD: A
Report of a workshop held at AFBI, Belfast 2-3rd June 2011. Report for Defra, June
2011.
1. Lifeforms and State-Space theory
1.1 Introduction
A lifeform is a group of species (not necessarily taxonomically related) that carry out
the same important functional role in the marine ecosystem. For example, diatoms
as a group of species have a functional role related to silicon cycling. In this report,
we are concerned with methods for quantifying the state or health of one part of
marine ecosystems, the pelagic community of organisms, also called the plankton.
The essential features of the method proposed are (i) the grouping of the many
species of organisms found in the water column into a few lifeforms, and (ii) the
display of changes in the abundance of each of these lifeforms using a state-space
approach.
In the main report we provide the full set of lifeforms that we propose to use to
develop indices for the pelagic habitat component of the biodiversity group of
descriptors plus Descriptor 5 - Eutrophication. At this point the theory underlying the
method is described with reference to an example pair of these lifeforms described
here. The phytoplankton includes many species of microscopic algae. Some of
these species belong to a group called diatoms, which are characterised by having a
cell wall made of silicon. Diatoms are tolerant of the turbulent, low-light, conditions
of spring in temperate seas, and so, characteristically, give rise to a spring
phytoplankton bloom in March, April or May. Many planktonic animals and fish lay
their eggs to hatch in time for this bloom, which provides food for the growth of the
larvae. Dinoflagellates comprise another taxonomically-defined group within the
phytoplankton. They do not require silicon, typically become abundant only after the
spring diatom bloom, and are characterised by two flagella (whiplash like
attachments) which enable them to swim up or down and so take advantage of
water-column layering, for example in estuaries or when summer warms the surface
layer of the open sea. Some provide a source of food for planktonic animals during
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the summer, but some species contain toxins that may deter grazing and are
poisonous to some animals and humans.
1.2 The basis of the state-space approach
The theory of state-space derives from physics and especially the discipline of
thermodynamics, but has been adapted to apply to systems in general and in our
case to ecosystems. A system is defined as ‘a set of components and relationships
within a defined boundary’ (Tett et al. 2011). To identify the state of a system it is
necessary to define a set of system state variables. These are attributes of the
system that change with time in response to each other and external conditions.
There needs to be enough variables in the set to jointly describe all system variability
other than that (perhaps somewhat arbitrarily) defined as ‘noise’.
Consider that our aim is to ascertain the state of the phytoplankton in a defined part
of the sea, on a given day. A representative water sample is collected and examined
microscopically to obtain a list of the species present and their abundances. While
mapping of data would be preferable in some cases (D1.4 - Habitat distribution) and
can indeed be carried out in open waters thanks to the Continuous Plankton
Recorder, this is not possible with time-series that collect data at just one or two or
twenty stations. However, we could see a change in taxa abundance that becomes
increasingly apparent northwards or southwards which may signal a shift in
distribution. Therefore we use abundance as it is a metric that is routinely recorded
by monitoring programmes and that is applicable to the relevant MSFD criterion.
The total abundance of all the diatoms and the total abundance of all the
dinoflagellates are calculated giving two numbers, which give the co-ordinates of a
point that can be plotted into a space, or map, defined by two axes: one for the
abundance of diatoms, and the other, at right-angles, for the abundance of
dinoflagellates (Figure A6-1).
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Figure A6-1 An illustration of how the state of a diatom-dinoflagellate community is defined by a point
plotted into state-space.
This point represents ecosystem state at the instant that the water sample was taken
and as characterised by the abundances of diatoms and dinoflagellates. However,
as noted earlier, a characteristic of the phytoplankton is its high natural variability (on
temporal scales that range from days to inter-annual). It is likely therefore, that
analysis of a water sample taken a few days or weeks later from the same location
might give abundances that plotted to a different point in the diatom-dinoflagellate
state-space. The path between the two states is called a trajectory, and the
condition of the phytoplankton is defined by the trajectory drawn in the state-space
by a set of points. The seasonal succession of species in seasonally stratifying seas
means that this trajectory tends in a certain direction as dinoflagellate abundance
increases relative to diatom abundance during summer. However, as phytoplankton
growth declines during autumn, abundances decrease towards levels prior to the
spring bloom, with the result that the trajectory tends towards its starting point
(Figure A6-2). Given roughly constant external pressures, the data collected from a
particular location in the sea over a period of years forms a cloud of points in statespace that can be referred to as a regime.
As Figure A6-2 shows, our argument is that some changes in external conditions for example the consequences of an oil spill - might cause a temporary deviation
from the usual regime - while other changes - for an example, an increase in the
inputs of human generated nutrients - might cause a permanent deviation from this
regime, by causing the system to switch to a new regime. The Plankton Index (PI)
tool, described later in this section, provides a way to quantify movements in statespace away from the ‘usual regime’.
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Figure A6-2. Regime shift in state-space (Tett et al. 2007).
It is unlikely that two state variables will be sufficient to describe all important
variability in the marine pelagic system. In principle this is not a problem: we simply
add other axes to the state-space map. This is illustrated for 3 phytoplankton state
variables in Figure A6-3. Note that the third axis has to be drawn at right-angles to
the other two, and the Figure is in fact a 2-D projection of a 3-D object. The rule is
that each additional state variable has to be independent of the existing set, and its
axis has to be drawn at right-angles to all existing axes. In principle, therefore, the
state-space map has to be drawn in as many dimensions as there are state variables
but this is difficult. Our solution is to rely on sets of state-space diagrams, each in
two dimensions. As long as each axis in any plot is independent of all other axes in
any plot, and we follow the rule that all axes must be commensurable it will be
straightforward to combine results from any number of plots into a single Plankton
Index.
We refer to these state-space diagrams as ‘maps’, and to the lines that link points as
‘trajectories’ rather than ‘graphs’. In normal scientific usage, a graph implies a
functional relationship between the values on the horizontal (x-axis) and the values
on the vertical (y-axis). That is, a change in x causes a change in y. In the case of
state-space diagrams, there is no implication that change in one state variable
causes change in another, although change in both might be linked in some way. In
the diatom-dinoflagellate example, although both lifeforms compete for supplies of
nutrients and energy, there is no direct, functional link that allows us to say that
diatom change causes dinoflagellate change. Just as, in the case of a map of the
Earth’s surface, it makes no sense to say that changes in latitude cause changes in
longitude: instead, latitude and longitude are the two co-ordinates that define a
position. Thus, when referring in a general way to the two axes of a state-space plot,
we label them as ‘Y1’ and ‘Y2’ in contrast to the ‘X-Y’ labels used in a graph that
implies a functional relationship.
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Figure A6-3. State space in 3-D, illustrated using CPR data provided by SAHFOS. The three lifeforms
used here are: dino(flagellates), pelagic diatoms (a subset of all diatoms) and weed diatoms (which
includes species of Pseudo-Nitzschia). Abundances are number of cells caught on CPR silks in a certain
distance travelled by the recorder. These abundances have been converted to logarithms so as to show
a wide range of values. Each point, an open circle, is the mean abundance of this lifeform in the [central]
North Sea in a particular year. A star shows the mean over several years, and the seasonal trajectory is
the dashed line linking these stars.
1.3. Why state-space?
We could of course simply plot the two example time-series of diatom and
dinoflagellate abundances as graphs against time (Figure A6-4), adding additional
data as required. We could simplify the picture to some extent by, for example,
plotting a time-series of the ratio of dinoflagellates to diatoms, or the percentage of
total phytoplankton abundance contributed by diatoms. And then we could extract
simple statistics, such as annual means of diatom abundance or percentage
diatoms. But such a method throws away information about the annual succession
of lifeforms, exemplified by seasonal changes in the relationship between diatoms
and dinoflagellates, which seems an important aspect of the pelagic ecosystem.
Indeed, this can be seen as forming part of the structure of the ecosystem,
substituting in temporal variation in terms of spatial structure. Furthermore, any
index based on an annual statistic is sensitive to sample collection routines: it is, for
example, easy to miss the spring phytoplankton bloom.
These objections were recognised during the development of indicators for the
phytoplankton biological quality element of the Water Framework Directive, and
methods developed for the construction of seasonal envelopes of variation for each
lifeform. Nevertheless, an approach based on state-space, although initially
appearing complex, has several advantages. The first is that of potential conceptual
consistency across the variety of animals and micro-organisms that contribute to the
ecological status of the pelagic community. The second is that this consistency
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leads to a very simple method (that of counting points) for measuring change. The
third is that the state-space approach lends itself to simple visualization: experience
suggests that most people find pictures (geometry) easier to understand than
complicated numbers (algebra).
One objection to state-space as opposed to time-series graphs might be that a statespace plot results in a loss of information, about the time-dependency of changes in
abundance. The main justification is that system state is not defined by time but by
the instantaneous values of state variables; two systems that have the same pair of
values for Y1and Y2 are said to be in the same state. A practical advantage is that
state-space plots are less sensitive, than statistics based on time-series graphs, to
defects in sampling regimes. Nevertheless, it is important to sample throughout the
year so that the plankton regime is fully characterised.
1.4 Estimating a value of a Plankton Index for a pair of lifeforms
The operations necessary to get a value of a Plankton Index for a pair of lifeforms
are listed in the complete Belfast meeting report (contact Abigail McQuatters-Gollop
[email protected] for a copy). Many of these operations can be demonstrated
using spreadsheets, drawing by hand, and counting by eye. Nevertheless, a
previously-written (and debugged) computer program allows easier routine
operation. The results were made by a program written with MatlabTM, software
that includes an extensive library of mathematical and graphical functions.
The starting point was the time-series of diatom and dinoflagellate biomass at the L4
station in the English Channel near Plymouth. Figure A6-4 shows graphs of biomass
(Y) against time (t), which is to say the position of a point is defined by its Y-t coordinates. For example, the co-ordinates of the point for diatom biomass on 2 May
1994 are Y1= 2.53 and t = 1994.442. The corresponding dinoflagellate co-ordinates
are: Y2= -0.31 and t = 1994.442. The Y-coordinates are in fact logarithms (to base
10) of estimates of 337.42 diatom and 0.48 dinoflagellate biomass (units).
Logarithmic transformations are commonly applied to data on plankton (Barnes,
1952) because they allow more reliable statistical analysis and interpretation, and
also allow change at low abundance to be seen as clearly as change at high
abundance. In essence, a given amount of change on a logarithmic axis shows the
same proportionate increase or decrease, irrespective of abundance. Such a
transformation is also desirable because it ensures commensurability of axes in
state-space plots.
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Figure A6-4. Time-series of diatom and dinoflagellate biomass from the Plymouth L4 station, data
provided by Claire Widdicombe at PML.
The next step is to make such a state-space plot for which the co-ordinates of each
point are a pair of values of Y1 and Y2 (such as 2.53 and 0.48 for L4 on 2 May
1994). A minor difficulty arises when there is no value of Y2 corresponding to Y1 at
the same time (or vice versa), but it is sometimes possible to approximate the
missing value.
In order for a Plankton Index (PI) to be calculated, it is necessary to establish
reference (baseline) conditions as the basis for subsequent comparison. The term
reference is used here simply to denote the data set against which
comparisons will be made (baseline), and does not imply pristine conditions.
In the example, Plymouth L4, the reference (baseline) period was taken as the 4
years from 1992 through 1995, during which sampling had taken place at roughly
fortnightly intervals. Plotting the 4 years of data gave the cloud of points shown in
the left-hand part of Figure A6-5.
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Figure A6-5. Example of the calculation of a component of the Plankton Index. In this case, the diatomdinoflagellate pair using data from the Plymouth L4 station. Data from 1992-1995 has been used for the
reference set, on the left side; the right side shows a comparison of data from 2001 with this envelope.
Next, we want to define a reference (baseline) envelope to include all, or most, of
these points, and to give us a basis for comparison with data collected in subsequent
years or at other sites. The outer part of the envelope is made by applying a
geometric method known as a Convex Hull (Sunday, 2004; Weisstein, 2006) to the
cloud of data points plotted in state-space. The outer points can be thought of as
pins pushed into the plot, and the Hull as a rubber band stretched around these pins.
In principle, the reference envelope defines a bundle of trajectories, and in some
cases, such as phytoplankton, limitation theory suggests that the bundle should have
a hollow centre (Tett & Mills, 2009). It is possible to fit an inner envelope by turning
the points ‘inside-out’ around the centre of the cloud of points, applying the Convex
Hull procedure again, and re-inverting.
Tett et al. (2008) found that the size and shape of the envelope was sensitive to
sampling frequency and total numbers of samples. Envelopes were made larger by
including extreme ‘outer’ or ‘inner’ points, and the larger the envelope, the less
sensitive it was to change in the distribution of points in state-space. Thus, it is
desirable to exclude a proportion (p) of points, so as to eliminate these extremes and
obtain a smaller, tighter, envelope. The envelope, thus drawn, defines a domain in
state-space that contains a set of trajectories of the diatom-dinoflagellate component
on the marine pelagic ecosystem and thus represents the prevailing regime during
the reference period. It is desirable to include 3 years of data in drawing the
envelope, in order to take account of natural inter-annual variability: but not too many
years (no more than 5), because Plankton Indices are tools to examine change in
time.
The next step plots a new set of data into state-space and compares them with the
reference (baseline) envelope. Does the new cloud of points fall mainly within this
envelope or instead show a shift in state-space? The right-hand side of Figure A6-5
illustrates this. Experience suggests that fewer new points are needed for the
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comparison than are desirable for the reference envelope. Currently we think that it
is desirable to have at least a dozen points for comparison. These should represent
samples taken throughout the year, because seasonal variation is seen as an
essential part of the ‘structure’ of the phytoplankton community.
The value of the PI is the proportion of new points that fall inside the envelope, or, to
be precise, between the inner and outer envelopes. In the example, for the
comparison year 2001 at L4, 22% (or 9) of 41 new points lie outside, and the PI is
0.78. A value of 1.0 would indicate no change, and a value of 0.0 would show
complete change, with all new points plotting outside the reference envelope. The
envelope was made by excluding 10% of points, so some new points are expected
to fall outside: four, in the case of the example. Is 9 significantly more than 4? The
exact probability of getting 9, by chance alone when 4 only are expected, can be
calculated using a binomial series expansion, or approximately, by a chi-square
calculation (with 1 df and a 1-tail test). The conclusion is that the value of 0.78, is
significantly less than the expected value of 0.9, and so conditions in respect of
diatoms and dinoflagellates in 2001 were statistically significantly different from those
in 1992-96.
What is the meaning of this change? It could be the result of no more than ‘normal’
inter-annual variation, which might take the system outside the reference (baseline)
envelope without indicating a persistent shift in regime. Thus the next step is to
examine a trend. There were sufficient data available for L4 to allow a comparison
to be made for individual years, from 1997 to 2002. As plotted in Figure A6-6, the
values of the PI (for the diatom-dinoflagellate state-space component) fluctuate from
year to year, with some of the values of the index for particular years showing a
significant proportion of new points falling outside the reference envelope. However
there is no significant temporal trend in the values of this PI.
1.0
0.9
0.8
PCI-LF
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0.0
1996
1997
1998
1999
Year
2000
2001
2002
Figure A6-6. A time-series of the PC-LF a component of the Plankton Index. In this case, the diatomdinoflagellate pair using data from the Plymouth L4 station. The index for each year is calculated by
comparing the state-space plot for each year against the 1992-1995 reference set.
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1.5 Composite Plankton Indices
A composite Plankton Index is put together from several PIs made as described
above, each involving a 2-D state-space plot. To avoid ambiguity, we will notate a
PI t, tref 
component value as i 
, referring to component i (e.g. that for diatoms and
dinoflagellates shown above) for year t compared with the reference period tref. The
overall Plankton Index for a given year is simply the mean of the available
component PIs, or:
1 in 
PI  t    PIi t, tref 
n i1
(To repeat a prior stipulation, this procedure requires all axes to be commensurable
(Box 4.6 in the Belfast report) and no lifeform to appear more than once in the set of
axes used for the overall analysis.) We can assess the significance of a value of
PI  t 
using the same approach as for assessing the significance of the diatomdinoflagellate PI component, i.e. by summing the total number of points that fall
outside all component envelopes and comparing with expectation based on the
proportion excluded from the reference (baseline) envelope. As in the case of the
diatom-dinoflagellate example, a time-series of values of the compound PI can be
examined for trend. What is to be done if a trend is found, will be considered in the
next chapter.
Such a composite PI might include components for phytoplankton, heterotrophic
microplankton, and zooplankton. We contend that this would provide a single holistic
indicator of changes in the condition of the pelagic ecosystem. In addition, lesser
compilations can be made, to provide indices relevant to particular MSFD
descriptors. If we reserve the label PI for the holistic indicator, we could refer for
example to an eutrophication-relevant PI as PI(D5), and write PI(D5)[t =1990:2010]
for the time-series of values covering the comparison years 1990 through 2010.
1.6 Discussion
To recapitulate: we have argued that the plotting, in state-space, of values of the
abundance of several lifeforms belonging to the plankton, enables the tracking of
changes in the condition of the pelagic community over time, by means of comparing
the state-space positions of new points with a reference envelope. As mentioned
above, the use of the term ‘reference(baseline) envelope’ is not meant to imply
that the conditions it described are pristine, or correspond to ‘reference
conditions’ as the term is used by the WFD, or, necessarily, to GES as used by the
MSFD. Our method is aimed at providing a tool for management, able to show
whether condition is changing. If it is changing, then time-series of PIs can be
examined for possible correlations (in space or time) with time-series of
pressure indicators.
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However, the MSFD explicitly requires the establishment or maintenance of GES
over marine sub-regions, and so it will be useful to establish reference envelopes for
ecohydrodynamic water types in which the pelagic environment is deemed to be of
good status. Establishing reference conditions for the WFD has proved
troublesome, because it has involved finding water-bodies subject to no, or very little,
anthropogenic pressure. Because the MSFD defines GES in terms of proper
ecosystem functioning, it would seem possible to find homogenous water-bodies (i.e.
spatial regions of constant ecohydrodynamics, within MSFD sub-regions) where
ecosystem functioning can be explored through a combination of detailed
investigation and numerical modelling, and thus establish GES reference envelopes
for the PI tool. In the medium term it might be possible to make estimates of such
envelopes using ecosystem models alone.
2. Meeting targets
2.1 The assessment process
For the pelagic habitat component of the biodiversity group of descriptors, the criteria
and indicator target are the same and as are applicable to changes in floristic
composition under Descriptor 5 - Eutrophication. The target is:
The plankton community is not significantly influenced by
anthropogenic pressures.
Assessment scales are discussed in the main body of the report but are reiterated
here. To assess the environmental status of the plankton at the regional sea level, it
is important that sampling stations are located in each ecohydrodynamic region in
UK waters. Ecohydrodynamic regions are bodies of water that are distinct from each
other as a result of stratification (vertical layering of water masses) or differences in
mixing. Such a regional spread of data is necessary in order to ensure that
assessment is spatially representative. Figure A6-7 shows the simulated distribution
of ecohydrodynamic regions (permanently stratified, permanently mixed,
intermediate regions and regions of freshwater influence - ROFI) in the North Sea
based on the 3D General Estuarine Transport Model (GETM) physical model (Cefas
unpublished data). When monitoring station are spatially isolated but have a timeseries (such as the numbered stations in Figure A6-1) they can be assessed
independently for significant changes. The open sea regions, and coastal areas with
WFD monitoring, can be aggregated for assessment based on the ecohydrodynamic
breakdown.
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Figure A6-7 The simulated distribution of a 50 year average of ecohydrodynamic regions (with
monitoring stations overlain) in the North Sea. Based on a 3-D General Estuarine Transport Model
(GETM) physical model (Cefas unpublished data). Areas in white have no consistent dominant level of
mixing or stratification.
A decision tree showing how the lifeform indices and Plankton Index will be used to
determine whether the target has been met at the scale of assessment (i.e. open sea
ecohydrodynamic regions, coastal zone ecohydrodynamic regions if data allow,
individual monitoring stations) and GES of the plankton confirmed is outlined in
Figure A6-8. For each individual monitoring station, annual estimates (based on
comparing data from each year with the baseline data) of the Plankton Index for
each descriptor (PID1, PID4 and PID5) and the overall Plankton Index (PI) will be
used to construct time-series. The high natural variability in the plankton is likely to
cause some inter-annual variability in values of each index and on occasions
differences between years may be statistically significant. Figure A6-5 illustrates this
point. The figure shows the diatom and dinoflagellate state-space plots (data from
the Plymouth Marine Laboratory L4 time-series) for the reference years 1992-1995
and data from 2001. The value of the index was statistically significantly different
indicating that the diatom and dinoflagellate community in 2001 had changed
compared to the reference years. The test to determine whether a time-series is
showing a change in the plankton rather than natural variation will be the presence of
a statistically significant trend or change. An example of a time-series for the PCI-LF
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component of a PI based on the Plymouth Marine Laboratory L4 time-series data is
shown in Figure A6-6. In this case there is no significant change in the index.
The absence of a significant change will show that there has not been an overall
change in an index. A significant change in an index will be attributed to human
pressure (and not climate change) if there is a significant correlation between the
change in an index and a particular human pressure and if that change is not seen at
other coastal stations or in the open sea. The absence of a significant correlation
will be used as evidence that the target for Good Environmental Status of the pelagic
community as a whole, and the pelagic (plankton) components for the biodiversity,
food-web, seafloor integrity and eutrophication (D5.2.4) descriptors has been met16.
Identification of a significant correlation to a pressure will signify that the target has
not been met and this may require investigative monitoring and a programme of
measures.
Figure A6-8. The draft decision process.
16
This presupposes that the starting point of the trend (baseline or reference conditions) represent
GES.
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One way of visualising whether the target has been met on a regional and local scale
is by colouring time-series plots. Figure A6-9 shows an example in which the green
background graphs indicate no trend. A red background signifies a significant trend
in the index that might be up or down. In this example there are only trends in nearshore waters, as the offshore waters show no trend suggesting a localised pressure
rather than a broad scale climatic effect. In both Liverpool Bay and the Wash LF
group 1 are red (suggestive of a common pressure e.g. nutrients), but in the
Wash/Thames area L F group 4 is red also suggesting an additional pressure.
However, there is one important issue that is relevant to all of the MSFD descriptors:
how to determine whether the assessment region as a whole is in Good
Environmental Status if the target is not met in one location. Similarly, can the
environmental status of an assessment region be deemed to be good if the pelagic
habitat targets have been met for the region as a whole, but the target for a different
ecosystem component has not been met?
References
Barnes, H. (1952). The use of transformations in marine biological statistics. ICES
Journal of Marine Science, 18, 61-71.
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61N
59N
Latitude
57N
55N
53N
51N
49N
-10W -9W
-8W
-7W
-6W
-5W
-4W
-3W
-2W
-1W
0W
1W
Longitude
Figure A6-9. A visual representation of a regional assessment.
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Appendix 7 - Birds report
MSFD Targets and Indicators for Marine Birds
Sub-group Chair: Ian Mitchell (JNCC)
Sub-group members: A. Webb (JNCC), A. Brown (NE), A. Douse (SNH), S.
Foster (SNH), N. McCulloch (EA-NI), M. Murphy (CCW); additional input from
D. Stroud (JNCC).
Introduction
The UK’s marine environment holds internationally important numbers of birds
during the breeding season, during spring and autumn migration and during
winter. In total, 109 bird species17 regularly use the marine areas in the UK,
chiefly as a source for food but also as a safe place away from land-predators
in which to loaf, roost and moult. Most of the UK’s marine bird species come
from two broad taxonomic groups that are commonly referred to as waterbirds
and seabirds.
There are 57 species of waterbird that regularly use the UK’s marine
environment17, comprising of shorebirds (order Charadriiformes, including
representatives from the following families: - Haematopodidae(e.g.
oystercatcher), Recurvirostridae (e.g. curlew), plovers - Charadriidae and
sandpipers - Scolopacidae); herons, egrets and spoonbills (Ciconiiformes:
Ardeidae and Threskiornithidae); ducks, geese and swans (Anseriformes);
divers (Gaviiformes); grebes (Podicipediformes); and coot (Gruiformes:
Rallidae). Shorebirds and some duck species feed on benthic invertebrates in
soft inter-tidal sediments and on rocky shores. Geese mostly graze on
exposed eelgrass beds (i.e. Zostera spp.). Herons and egrets feed on fish in
shallow (i.e. wading depth) inter-tidal and sub-tidal areas, whereas grebes,
divers and some duck species can catch fish in deeper water. Other diving
ducks feed on invertebrate benthos.
However, the coastal area under the jurisdiction of MSFD includes only nonestuarine shores below MHWS that could include lagoons and saltmarsh that
are not associated with transitional waters (i.e. places that are inundated at
high tide without flow of freshwater). Therefore, in determining GES under
17
According to JNCC’s list of bird species that make significant use of the marine
environment around the UK – see www.jncc.gov.uk/page-4560.
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MSFD with respect to marine birds, we need only to focus on those species of
shorebird and other waterbirds that predominate outside estuaries.
There are 38 species of seabird that regularly occur in the seas around the
UK17. They comprise of Procellariiformes: fulmars and shearwaters
(Procellariidae) and storm-petrels (Hydrobatidae); Pelecaniformes: gannets
(Sulidae ), great cormorant and European shag (Phalacrocoracidae); and
Charadriiformes: skuas (Stercorariidae), gulls (Laridae), terns (Sternidae ) and
auks (Alcidae). Most seabirds feed on prey living within the water column (i.e.
plankton, fish and squid) or pick detritus from the surface. Gulls are the only
seabirds that also feed on benthos, by foraging along exposed inter-tidal
areas. Therefore most seabirds spend the majority of their lives at sea: some
are confined to inshore waters (e.g. terns, gulls, great cormorant and
European shag) and others venture much further offshore and beyond the
shelf-break, even during the breeding season.
Relevant Commission Decision Criteria / Indicators
Table A7-1 shows the Commission Decision criteria and indicators that are
relevant to birds under Descriptor 1 - Biodiversity and Descriptor 4 - Food
Webs. The table does not include the indicators listed in the Commission
Decision criteria 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6 under Descriptor 1, that are relevant only to
marine habitats.
Indicators and targets have been proposed for each Commission Decision
indicator that are considered relevant. No indicators or targets are proposed
under the Commission Decision indicator of population genetic structure
(1.3.2). But there should be an assessment of genetic structure in harbour
seal populations to enable indicators of population abundance (1.2.1) to be
equally representative of all discrete population sub-units. There are no
genetically distinct sub-populations within any of the species of birds using UK
waters that would benefit from an indicator or target, in order to maintain its
diversity.
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Table A7-1 Relevance of Commission Decision criteria and indicators to marine birds.
RIT - relevant and indicator and target proposed, RI - relevant and indicator
only proposed, R – relevant but no target or indicator proposed, X - not
relevant.
Commission Decision
Criterion
Indicator
Relevance
to Marine
Birds
1.1 Species distribution
Distributional range (1.1.1),
RIT
Distributional pattern within the latter, where
appropriate (1.1.2)
RIT
Area covered by the species (for
sessile/benthic species) (1.1.3)
X
1.2 Population size
Population abundance and/or biomass, as
appropriate (1.2.1)
RIT
1.3 Population condition
Population demographic characteristics (e.g.
body size or age class structure, sex ratio,
fecundity rates, survival/mortality rates) (1.3.1)
RIT
Population genetic structure, where
appropriate (1.3.2).
X
1.7 Ecosystem structure
Composition and relative proportions of
ecosystem components (habitats and species)
(1.7.1).
R
4.1 Productivity (production
per unit biomass) of key
species or groups
Performance of key predator species using
their production per unit biomass (productivity)
(4.1.1)
R
4.2 Proportion of selected
species at the top of food
webs
Large fish (by weight) (4.2.1)
X
4.3 Abundance/distribution of
key groups/species
Abundance trends of functionally important
selected groups/species (4.3.1)
RIT
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Bird functional groups, listed species and indicator species
The recommended functional groups for birds (Table A7-2) are identical to
those recommended by OSPAR’s MSFD advice manual on biodiversity
(OSPAR Commission unpub.).
Table A7-2 Recommended functional groups and listed species for marine birds in UK waters.
Functional Groups
example taxa or group
Listed species
Inshore pelagic
feeding birds
divers, grebes, saw-bills, great
cormorant, European shag,
black guillemot
Great Northern diver1
Inshore surface
feeding birds
gulls, terns
Little Tern1
Inshore benthic
feeding birds
seaduck
Intertidal benthic
feeding birds
waders
Offshore pelagic
feeding birds
auks, northern gannet,
shearwaters
Balearic shearwater2
Offshore surface
feeding birds
black-legged kittiwake, northern
fulmar, storm-petrels
Black-legged kittiwake2
Slavonian grebe1
Roseate tern1,2
Smew1
Purple sandpiper1
1
AEWA Annex1 Table 1 column A
2
OSPAR List of threatened and declining species.
Within each functional group, the species that should be included in UK
assessments of GES were selected according to following groupings as
specified in the Directive:
i.
Listed species from Community legislation and international
agreements (hereafter, referred to as ‘listed species’).
ii.
Additional species being considered within some [European] subregions for potential use to represent the broader functional group in
which they occur (hereafter, referred to as ‘indicator species’).
The selection of marine bird species should be limited to those that occur
regularly in the MSFD assessment area. This excludes some waterbird
species that predominate in estuaries.
OSPAR Commission (unpub.) recommends ‘listed species’ of birds should be
those that are included in Annex 1 of the Birds Directive and on the OSPAR
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list of threatened and declining species. The Birds Directive actually applies
to all wild migratory bird species and Annex 1 lists those species for which
nationally important aggregations should be designated as Special Protection
Areas, as oppose to internationally important aggregations in all other
species. Hence, the Birds Directive is not a necessarily a useful reference for
identifying species that require special protection and inclusion in
assessments of GES under MSFD. Furthermore, the OSPAR list of
threatened and declining species does not appear to be inclusive of all
relevant taxa of marine birds. Therefore, we recommend that ‘listed species’
are selected from the species that are awarded the highest level of protection
under the Action Plan of AEWA - African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (i.e.
species listed in column A of Table 1, Annex III of the Agreement
(http://www.unepaewa.org/documents/agreement_text/eng/pdf/aewa_agreement_text_2009_2
012_table1.pdf).
However, AEWA does not include petrels and shearwaters. However, if the
AEWA criteria (annexed to this Appendix) were applied to the petrels and
shearwaters that regularly occur in UK waters, Balearic shearwater would be
added to the list.
The selection of bird ‘indicator species’ was guided by OSPAR Commission
(unpub.) that provides the following guidance: The selection of species to be
assessed under MSFD in the OSPAR maritime area (MSFD sub-region b)
should be representative in terms of:
a. their abundance and distribution (i.e. also naturally predominant
species as well as species that are predominant as an effect of human
activities should be included);
b. their sensitivity towards specific human activities;
c. their suitability for the respective indicators and descriptors of the EU
COM decision;
d. the practicability (incl. cost effectiveness) to monitor them;
e. their inclusion in existing monitoring programmes and time-series data;
f. their association with specific habitats.
The full list of proposed indicator species of marine bird in UK waters is
embedded here:
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UK MSFD Bird listed
and indicator species.
The use of seabirds and waterbirds that are monitored at sea as indicator
species is very much dependant on the development of new monitoring and
its ability to provide accurate data at a suitable spatial scale that can be
incorporated into the indicators recommended below.
Indicators, Baselines & Targets:
Approach to setting baselines and targets for marine bird indicators
For birds, the limited time series of data available (around 30- 40 years) do
not contain any true reference values when anthropogenic influence on these
animals was negligible. It is unlikely that populations of these highly mobile
animals have, at no part in their lives, not been impacted by current or past
human influences on the marine environment. Hence there are no reference
populations that state targets can be set against
Baselines set in the past or current values in a time series are likely to be
biased by certain anthropogenic impacts. As measures are implemented (e.g.
under MSFD) to reduce these impacts, the baseline values set in the past
may no longer be appropriate for assessing GES. For example, some
seabird species are arguably more abundant as a result of food provided by
wasteful fishing practices such as discarding. As the CFP moves towards
eliminating discards, these species may decline in number and range beyond
target levels and therefore fail to achieve GES. Baselines for mobile species
should therefore be reviewed during every 6 year reporting cycle and
amended if necessary to take account of any anthropogenic bias in previously
set baselines.
Baselines should also be reviewed regularly to ensure they take into account
the inherent variance in the marine environment, and to ensure that the state
of indicators at GES with respect to Descriptor 1 - Biodiversity is in
accordance with ‘prevailing geographic, physiographic and climatic
conditions’. As monitoring programmes develop and evidence increases, our
understanding of the likely future impacts of a changing environment will
enable us to set ‘smarter baselines’ that can account for such changes.
Species Distribution (Criterion 1.1)
With respect to Species distribution (Criterion 1.1), separate indicators (and
indicator-targets) of distributional range (1.1.1) and distributional pattern
(1.1.2) are proposed for each of five groups of birds:
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i.
breeding seabirds – refers to all seabird species at breeding colonies;
ii.
coastal-breeding waterbirds – refers to all species of waterbird
breeding close to the shoreline and dependant on intertidal and inshore
areas for feeding;
iii.
non-breeding waterbirds – refers to all waterbird species in inshore
waters outside the breeding season;
iv.
non-breeding shorebirds – refers to all species of in non-estuarine
intertidal areas outside the breeding season;
v.
seabirds at sea – refers to all seabird species in inshore and offshore
waters throughout the year.
The separation is due to differences in how the range and distributional
pattern of each group will be estimated. No indicator is proposed for
distributional range (1.1.1) for seabirds at sea, since the extremities of the
range of such wide-ranging species are unlikely provide an indicator of GES.
More pertinent to GES of seabirds at sea will be an indicator of distributional
pattern (1.1.2) that will detect changes in the distribution of high and low
density areas that may be linked to the distribution and intensity of pressures.
None of the indicators for range and distributional pattern in birds are currently
operational because there is no other requirement for such indicators.
Sufficient data18 do exist for breeding seabirds, coastal-breeding shorebirds
and non-breeding shorebirds to enable indicators to be defined by 2012 and
be operational by 2014.
The construction of indicators for non-breeding waterbirds and seabirds at
sea, is subject to the progress of the UK Seabird & Cetacean Monitoring
Project, which is currently under development. There is currently no
systematic monitoring of inshore aggregations of waterbirds in UK waters.
Seabird monitoring in the UK is limited mainly to providing information at
colonies, and it is likely that additional monitoring will be required in offshore
and inshore waters as part of the EU Birds Directive. The monitoring of
seabirds at colonies provides the most cost-effective and precise information
on their numbers and distribution compared to other monitoring methods.
18
From the Seabird Monitoring Programme (SMP), Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS), Non-estuarine Wader
Survey (NEWS), successive breeding and wintering Bird Atlases and successive breeding seabird
censuses (e.g. Seabird 2000) – all covering the British Isles.
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However, there are limitations in this approach to understanding how human
pressures are affecting any measured changes; the monitoring does not occur
at the location of the impacts in offshore waters and fluctuations at the
colonies will be affected by changes in all of the areas used for feeding and
maintenance by seabirds, not just the areas where the human pressures are
occurring. Furthermore, monitoring at colonies provides no information on
how the distributional range and population size of breeding species changes
in UK waters outwith the breeding season, and provides no information at all
for species that do not breed in the UK but visit our waters in important
numbers during the non-breeding periods. Monitoring of the UK’s waters for
these top predators is likely to utilise information from a wide variety of
sources in order to make surveys cost-effective, such as from volunteers,
marine industries supplemented by targeted information commissioned to fill
remaining gaps in data provision from. Data collection surveys can be
combined for seabirds and for cetaceans in most cases at no additional cost.
If sufficient monitoring of inshore waterbirds and seabirds at sea is instigated
as part of the project, then indicators and targets for these birds could be
operational by 2018; this also applied to indicators of population size.
Population Size (Criterion 1.2)
The indicators proposed for bird Population size (Criterion 1.2) are more
generic than for distribution: i) Species-specific trends in relative breeding
abundance and ii) Species-specific trends in relative non-breeding
abundance. The metrics for both are annual estimates of the numbers of
birds (or pairs) expressed as a proportion of a baseline value that is specific to
each species. The two indicators provide a functional distinction in the case
of waterbirds, between state of populations during breeding and at other
times; in the case of seabirds between the state of breeding seabirds at
colonies and the state of populations at sea.
The recommended approach to indicators (and targets) of bird population size
follows that developed by ICES (2008) for the OSPAR EcoQO on seabird
population trends. Existing UK and devolved administration indicators for
populations of breeding seabirds and non-breeding waterbirds use a single
trend of the annual geometric mean abundance of multiple species with each
group (e.g. http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-4229). ICES (2008) considered
using geometric mean trend indicator for the EcoQO on seabird population
trends but discounted it on the basis that it was difficult to interpret and difficult
to set targets against and use to inform measures.
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Data exist on abundance of breeding seabirds, coastal breeding waterbirds
and non-breeding shorebirds and will be collected by ongoing schemes
(though some expansion may be necessary – see below). A breeding seabird
indicator has already been produced for the Celtic Seas (OSPAR Region III –
see Figure A7-1 taken from see ICES 2010) and one is currently being
developed with neighbouring states for the Greater North Sea (OSPAR
Region II). Population size indicators for the aforementioned groups of bird
should be operational by 2012.
Figure A7-1 Trend in relative abundance of European shag in OSPAR Region III Celtic Seas.
Indicator target was set at +/- 30% of the baseline. (From ICES 2010)
Setting baselines and targets for population size (1.2) should follow the
approach used in the OSPAR draft EcoQO on seabird population trends (see
ICES 2008, 2010). Baselines for each indicator of population size (criterion
1.2) should be set in the past at a time when anthropogenic influence on a
particular species was thought to be minimal. Indicator targets should be set
as a deviation from the baseline and the target can be varied according to the
ability of species to recover from declines: ICES (2008) recommended that
annual abundance of species that lay more than one egg per year should be
more than 70% of the baseline, but more than 80% of the baseline for species
that lay just one egg. The different targets are intended to take account of the
lower reproductive output of the single egg layers and hence, a lower rate of
recovery following declines. Targets for positive deviations should be set,
where population increase may have an impact on GES of the wider marine
bird community (e.g. species that depredate other birds and benefit from
anthropogenic food sources). ICES (2008) recommended an upper limit of
+30% of the baseline for all species. However, the HBDSEG birds subgroup
recognised that increases in some species may have negligible effects on the
rest of the seabird community and if such species were to exceed an upper
target value, this may not necessarily mean that GES is not achieved.
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Therefore, upper limits to indicator targets should be applied only to those
species (i.e. skuas and large gulls) whose populations may be artificially
elevated by anthropogenic impacts (e.g. food provided by discarding) and
would also, in turn, have a detrimental impact on other bird populations.
The criterion targets for species distribution and population size should be set
at a proportion of species-specific indicators that are within target values:
‘Changes in abundance should be within target levels for >75% - >90% of
species of marine bird that are monitored.’ The lower limit of 75% is taken
from the OSPAR draft EcoQO on seabird population trends (ICES 2008): if
less than 75% of species indicators had not achieved their target, the seabird
community would possibly be in poor health and suitable action would be
instigated (i.e. research or remedial measures). Given that ICES (2008)
considered 75% to be the limit below which remedial action should be
instigated, the option of a higher target, up to 90%, is more likely to equate to
GES. Figure A7-2 shows an example of this criterion for breeding seabirds in
the Celtic Seas OSPAR Region III – from ICES (2010).
Figure A7-2 The EcoQO on seabird population trends applied to data on breeding seabird trends
(as in Fig. 1) from OSPAR Region III Celtic Seas. Target was set at >75% of species should be at
target levels for abundance (From ICES 2010)
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Population Condition (Criterion 1.3)
For Population Condition (Criterion 1.3) we have proposed indicators of
demographic characteristics (1.3.1) for species that breed in the UK, for which
metrics such as breeding success and adult survival are relatively straight
forward to monitor compared to those species that occur in UK waters outside
the breeding season. Appropriate indicator species are predominantly
seabirds but some waterbirds such as common eider may be appropriate.
Breeding success is one of the recommended metrics as this is already
monitored annually in some seabird species at colonies throughout the UK,
with a time series going back to the mid 1980s. We propose two indicators of
breeding success:
i.
Annual breeding success of kittiwakes
ii. Breeding failure of seabird species sensitive to food availability
Some further development work is required for both indicators but both should
be operational by 2012.
The baseline-setting method used for indicators of Population condition (1.3)
and productivity (4.1) vary depending on indicator used. For the indicator on
breeding failure of seabird species sensitive to food availability, there is no
baseline, whereas the indicator of annual breeding success of kittiwakes, has
a baseline that takes into account climatic variation. Kittiwake breeding
success at individual colonies is significantly negatively correlated with local
mean sea-surface temperature (SST) two winters previously (Frederiksen et
al. 2004, 2007). The relationship is thought to be related to larval sandeel
survival and the subsequent availability of 1 year-class sandeels for kittiwakes
to rear their chicks on. Therefore at each colony, a different baseline value is
set each year according to the local SST two winters previously.
In an area of E Scotland and NE England where sandeel fishing occurred
during 1991-98 and has been banned since 2000, there was a significant
additive effect of the presence of fishing, as shown the red line in Figure A7-3.
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Figure A7-3 Stylised version of a relationship between kittiwake breeding success and SST two
winters previously (from Frederiksen et al. 2004) to demonstrate how targets may be set re
Criterion 1.3.
The proposed indicator uses the regression of SST and breeding success as
the baseline and the 95% CI as the target ‘band’ (see Figure A7-3). It is
proposed that any significant negative deviation will indicate a detrimental
anthropogenic impact other than any climate change impacts. Breeding
success should be within the target band in at least five years in each six year
reporting cycle, in order to allow for natural stochastic events that may
depress breeding success (e.g. heavy rainfall). The criterion target should be
set at the number of colonies achieving the target rate (e.g. 50, 75 & 90%, but
not necessarily these values).
JNCC plan further work to look at whether baselines and targets can be
constructed for other colonies elsewhere in the UK and whether other species
that are sensitive to food supply could be included.
We identified a need to develop an indicator for pressures on land that would
significantly affect the productivity of seabirds as marine organisms.
Depredation by non-native mammals (e.g. rats, mink) on islands can reduce
breeding success, breeding numbers and extirpate colonies. The pressure
from non-native mammals can be easily removed through eradication and
quarantine. If this pressure is removed it will mitigate the impacts of other
pressures that are not so easy to manage e.g. climate change and fishing
pressures.
The other demographic measured in seabirds is adult survival. However,
annual survival rates are currently monitored in a handful of colonies per
species. A project by JNCC and the BTO is underway to investigate the
feasibility of expanding existing monitoring. An indicator on adult survival
would be dependent on future monitoring, but may be operational by 2018.
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There may be problems linking changes in survival with pressures operating
in UK and European waters, since many species spend the non-breeding
period in areas beyond the NE Atlantic. But we suggested that an indicator of
birds killed by commercial fishing (‘by-catch’) and aquaculture should be
developed to monitor a potentially significant pressure on marine bird survival.
Monitoring of seabird by-catch is conducted in UK waters but it is incidental
and not part of systematic survey and excludes some gear-types and
aquaculture. As a consequence, the extent of this pressure in UK waters is
unclear, but could potentially kill large numbers of birds. Further monitoring is
required in order to determine how important this pressure is on marine birds
and to develop an indicator.
Indicators of population condition (1.3) and population size (1.2) described
above, should be used as indicators of Productivity (production per unit
biomass) of key species or trophic groups (Criterion 4.1) and of
Abundance/distribution of key trophic groups/species (Criterion 4.3)
Ecosystem structure (Criterion 1.7)
We envisage that some of the indicators proposed for 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 will
contribute to this criterion but did not discuss their inclusion in anymore detail.
Productivity (production per unit biomass) of key species or trophic
groups (Criterion 4.1)
See productivity indicators and targets under Criterion 1.3.
Abundance/distribution of key trophic groups/species (Criterion 4.3)
See population size indicators and targets under Criterion 1.2.
References
Frederiksen, M., Wanless, S., Harris, M.P., Rothery, P. & Wilson, L.J. 2004.
The role of industrial fisheries and oceanographic change in the decline of
North Sea black-legged kittiwakes. Journal of Animal Ecology, 41: 1129–1139
Frederiksen, M., Mavor, R. A. & Wanless, S. 2007. Seabirds as
environmental indicators: the advantages of combining data sets. Mar Ecol
Prog Ser. 352: 205–211.
Frederiksen, M., Jensen, H., Daunt, F., Mavor, R. A. & Wanless, S. 2008.
Differential effects of a local industrial sand lance fishery on seabird breeding
performance. Ecological Applications, 18(3): 701–710.
Furness RW and ML Tasker 2000. Seabird-fishery interactions: quantifying
the sensitivity of seabirds to reductions in sandeel abundance, and
identification of key areas for sensitive seabirds in the North Sea. Marine
Ecology Progress Series 202: 253–264.
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ICES. 2008. Report of the Workshop on Seabird Ecological Quality Indicator,
8-9 March 2008, Lisbon, Portugal. ICES CM 2008/LRC:06. 60 pp.
ICES. 2010. Report of the Working Group on Seabird Ecology (WGSE), 15–
19 March 2010, ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen, Denmark. ICES CM
2010/SSGEF:10. 77 pp.
Lloyd, C., Tasker, M. L. & Partridge, K. 1991. The status of seabirds in Britain
and Ireland. Poyser, London.
Mitchell, P.I., Newton, S.F., Ratcliffe, N. & Dunn, T.E. 2004. Seabird
Populations of Britain and Ireland. T. & A.D. Poyser, London.
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Annex to Appendix 7
AEWA Classification used in the context of MSFD to define species
listed under the Agreement
STATUS OF THE POPULATIONS OF MIGRATORY WATERBIRDS
KEY TO CLASSIFICATION
The following key to Table 1 of AEWA Classification is a basis for
implementation of the Action Plan:
Column A
Category 1:
a) Species, which are included in Appendix I to the Convention on the
Conservation
of Migratory species of Wild Animals;
(b) Species, which are listed as threatened on the IUCN Red list of
Threatened
Species, as reported in the most recent summary by BirdLife International; or
(c) Populations, which number less than around 10,000 individuals.
Category 2: Populations numbering between around 10,000 and around
25,000 individuals.
Category 3: Populations numbering between around 25,000 and around
100,000 individuals and considered to be at risk as a result of:
(a) Concentration onto a small number of sites at any stage of their annual
cycle;
(b) Dependence on a habitat type, which is under severe threat;
(c) Showing significant long-term decline; or
(d) Showing extreme fluctuations in population size or trend.
For species listed in categories 2 and 3 above, see paragraph 2.1.1 of the
Action Plan contained in Annex 3 to the Agreement.
Source:
http://www.unepaewa.org/documents/agreement_text/eng/pdf/aewa_agreement_text_2009_2
012_table1.pdf
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Appendix 8 - Marine mammals report
MSFD Marine Mammal and Reptile subgroup: Criterion Targets audit trail
Subgroup Co-Chairs: Eunice Pinn (JNCC) and Mark Tasker (JNCC)
Subgroup Members and contributors: Phil Hammond (SMRU), Callan Duck
(SMRU), Alisa Hall (SMRU), Clare Ludgate (NE), Fiona Manson (SNH), Karen
Hall (SNH), Jim Reid (JNCC), Victoria Copley (NE), Mandy McMath (CCW)
and Gary Burrows (NIEA).
Background to the species
Cetaceans:
Whales, dolphins and porpoises are collectively known as cetaceans.
Twenty-eight species have been recorded in UK waters. Of these, 11 are
known to occur regularly, while the remaining 17 species are considered to be
vagrants or rare visitors. This represents a high level of cetacean diversity
within the UK’s comparatively small section of the North Atlantic, and is due to
the considerable diversity in topography, habitats and food resources
available in these waters.
Cetaceans are very mobile and can range widely, with some undertaking
large-scale movements including regular seasonal migrations while others
display more localised movements. For most species, animals found in UK
waters are therefore part of a much larger biological population or populations
whose range extends beyond UK waters. Equally, the number of individuals
present at any one time may be only a small proportion of those that make
use of UK waters at some point during their lives.
Seals:
Two species of seal live and breed in UK waters, grey seals (Halichoerus
grypus) and harbour (also called common) seals (Phoca vitulina). Although
both species can be found around the UK coast at any time of the year, they
are not evenly distributed. Both are considerably more abundant in Scotland
than in England, Wales or Northern Ireland; with harbour seals being rare on
the south and west coasts of England and in Wales.
A number of Arctic seals are seen very occasionally around the UK coast,
particularly in Scotland, including ringed (Phoca hispida), harp (Phoca
groenlandica), bearded (Erignathus barbatus) and hooded seals (Cystophora
cristata), and very rarely walrus (Odobaenus rosmarus). These species are
not resident in the UK and are not further considered.
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Turtles:
Encountering a marine turtle in UK waters is a rare event; this is partly due to
their relatively low numbers and partly to the difficulty of spotting them in the
open sea when conditions are anything but perfectly calm. Of the 4 species
reported from UK waters, the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is the
only one to be considered a true member of the British fauna; with
approximately 30 records per year. UK waters represent only a small
peripheral part of the foraging habitat of this wide-ranging species. All other
turtle species (loggerhead Caretta caretta, Kemp’s ridley Lepidochelys
kempii and green Chelonia mydas) tend to reach UK waters only when
displaced from their normal range by adverse currents, i.e. UK waters are not
considered part of their functional range.
Because these species are either not resident in the UK or are seen only very
rarely, they are not considered to be appropriate indicator species.
Development of GES Criterion Targets
All marine mammal species in the UK are listed under a variety of Community
Legislation and international agreements: the Habitats Directive, Convention
on Migratory Species and ASCOBANS - Agreement on the Conservation of
Small Cetaceans in the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas, and
OSPAR list of threatened and declining species. As such, all marine mammal
species in UK waters are considered to be ‘listed species’.
The marine mammal and reptile subgroup have proposed a total of 41
indicators and targets, mostly species specific, which link to three Criterion
Targets for Descriptor 1 - Biodiversity, two Criterion Targets for Descriptor 4 Food webs and three additional Criterion Targets linked to pressure impacts.
Indicators and targets were only proposed for the most commonly seen
species, i.e. harbour and grey seals, harbour porpoise, short-beaked common
dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, white-beaked dolphin, long-finned pilot whale and
minke whale.
These indicators and targets all link to assessments that are integral to the
UK’s obligations through the Habitats Directive, ASCOBANS, OSPAR and EU
Regulation 812/2004 on cetacean by-catch.
For the consultation, Defra have proposed that there will be three levels of
Criterion target:

Level 1: GES targets and indicators which are well developed and
supported by good evidence and which the UK could put forward to the
Commission in 2012.
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
Level 2: GES targets and indicators which need some further
development work between now and 2012 in order to finalise the
details and Defra propose using the consultation to seek people’s
views on the suggested criterion target.

Level 3: GES targets and indicators for which it has not been possible
to develop proposals at this time. With further research and
developmental work, it may be possible to put these forward in 2018.
Descriptor 1 - Biodiversity
Criterion Target 1.1 Species Distribution: In 75-90% of indicators
monitored, there should be no statistically significant contraction in the
distribution of marine mammals.
Four of the indicators and targets, related to seals, proposed under this
criterion target are considered to represent level 1, i.e. they are well
developed and there is sufficient evidence for them to be submitted in 2012.
There are an additional 6 relating to cetaceans that require further research
and developmental work. Research is currently being undertaken that will, by
March 2012, provide a good indication of our ability to detect trends in
cetacean distribution and abundance for the more common species, including
the power to detect those trends through data collected under the Joint
Cetacean Protocol. Once this information is available, it is hoped that these
indicators and targets will contribute to the Criterion Target. This will also rely
on the development of a cetacean monitoring programme as required by the
Habitats Directive. Such a programme has yet to be fully developed, costed
and implemented.
For seals, this criterion target links to work undertaken for the two OSPAR
EcoQOs. The annual assessment of UK seal populations is based primarily
on information from surveys conducted by the Sea Mammal Research Unit of
both grey and harbour seals in Scotland and of common seals in eastern
England (Figure A8-1 and A8-2) but includes information collected
independently by other organisations, including: the National Trust (Farne
Islands and Blakeney Point), Scottish Natural Heritage (Shetland, Lismore,
South Ronaldsay and Rum), Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust (Donna Nook), Natural
England (Horsey) and the Countryside Council for Wales (Wales). In
Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (formerly
Environment and Heritage Service) and the National Trust monitor common
and grey seals in Strangford Lough. A small number of other organisations
also collect information on grey and common seals (e.g. INCA study seals in
the estuary of the River Tees; the Cornwall Seal Group studies seals in
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly). Information from these organisations may be
included into the formal advice provided through the Special Committee on
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Seals where appropriate. The UK seal monitoring programme is largely
funded by NERC and costs approximately £1M per annum. However, this is
supplemented by funding, particularly for harbour seals, from SNH and
Natural England and from Scottish Government. NERC have recently
indicated that their funding will be reduced by up to 20% over the next 3-4
years which is likely to mean a reduction in the number of sites surveyed
and/or frequency of surveys, particularly for grey seals.
Figure A8-1. The main grey seal breeding colonies in Great Britain and Northern Ireland (From
SCOS, 2008).
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Figure A8-2. The distribution of common seals in Great Britain and Northern Ireland in August,
by 10km squares, from surveys carried out between 2000 and 2006 (From SCOS, 2008).
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Criterion Target 1.2 Population Size: In 75-90% of indicators monitored,
there should be no statistically significant decrease in abundance of
marine mammals.
Two of the indicators and targets contributing to this criterion target are
considered to be sufficiently well developed for submission in 2012, these
relate to seals and are derived from two OSPAR EcoQOs.
For grey seals:
"Taking into account natural population dynamics and trends, there should be
no decline in pup production of grey seals of ≥10% as represented in a fiveyear running mean or point estimates (separated by up to five years) within
any of nine sub-units of the North Sea. These sub-units are: Orkney; Fast
Castle/Isle of May; the Farne Islands; Donna Nook; the French North Sea and
Channel coasts; the Netherlands coast; the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea;
Heligoland; Kjørholmane (Rogaland)."
And for harbour seals:
"Taking into account natural population dynamics and trends, there should be
no decline in harbour seal population size (as measured by numbers hauled
out) of ≥10% as represented in a five-year running mean or point estimates
(separated by up to five years) within any of eleven sub-units of the North
Sea. These sub-units are: Shetland; Orkney; North and East Scotland; SouthEast Scotland; the Greater Wash/Scroby Sands; the Netherlands Delta area;
the Wadden Sea; Heligoland; Limfjord; the Kattegat, the Skagerrak and the
Oslofjord; the west coast of Norway south of 62oN".
In the UK, up to January 2009, grey pup production remains within the limits
of the EcoQO (Figure A8-3). Pup production appears to be beginning to
stabilise in Orkney; is increasing at the Isle of May/Fast Castle (due entirely to
increases at Fast Castle); is stable at the Farne Islands and is increasing at
Donna Nook. Two colonies recently established in Norfolk (at Blakeney Point
and at Horsey) should be included with Donna Nook in this EcoQO
assessment.
In contrast, recent surveys have shown that harbour seal populations have
declined well in excess of the limits set out in the EcoQOs in Orkney,
Shetland, north-east Scotland, south-east Scotland and the Greater Wash
(Figure A8-4). The decline in the east of England was due to the outbreak of
PDV in 2002. Reasons for declines in the other areas have not yet been
determined.
There are an additional 7 indicators and targets relating to cetaceans that
require further research and developmental work to enable an assessment of
the Criterion Target. See comments in criterion target 1.1 above regarding
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development of the first 6 through work on the Joint Cetacean Protocol. The
7th relates to the inshore bottlenose dolphin populations. For two of these
populations (Scottish east coast and the Cardigan Bay area), there is the
potential that such an indicator could be developed in time for 2012, although
2018 is considered more realistic. There is sufficiently reliable data to indicate
that the bottlenose dolphins on the Scottish east coast is considered to be
stable and those in the Cardigan Bay area also remain stable, with limited
evidence of a slight increased (Figures A8-5 and 6). These abundance
estimates were collected during research projects were funded in part by SNH
and CCW, respectively. SNH have a MoU in place with Aberdeen University
to continue to carry out this survey work, which runs until 2013. Funding for
the work in Wales has recently ceased and now relies solely on funds that can
be raised by Sea Watch Foundation (who were originally contracted by CCW
to undertake the work).
Grey seal pup production at annually m onitored UK
breeding colonies
45000
Total production
Outer Hebrides
40000
Estimated pup production
Orkney
35000
Inner Hebrides
30000
North Sea: Is le of May, Fas t Cas tle, Farnes , Donna Nook,
Blakeney Pt, Hors ey
25000
20000
15000
10000
5000
0
1960
1963
1966
1969
1972 1975
1978
1981
1984
1987
1990
1993
1996 1999
2002
2005
2008
Year
Figure A8-3. Grey seal pup production at annually monitored colonies in Scotland and England
between 1960 and 2007 (From SCOS, 2008). These colonies account for approximately 85% of
grey seal pups born in the UK.
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Counts of harbour seals around Scotland
Tay plus Moray Firths
Highland
Shetland
Outer Hebrides (all)
Outer Hebrides (part)
Strathclyde
Orkney
9000
8000
Number of seals
7000
6000
5000
4000
3000
2000
1000
0
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Year of survey
Figure A8-4. Counts of common seals in Regions of Scotland between 1990 and 2007 (From
SCOS, 2008).
Figure A8-5. Trends in annual estimates of the number of dolphins using the Moray Firth SAC,
based upon surveys conducted during the core-study inner Moray Firth study area (From
Thompson et al., 2006).
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160
P 140
o
120
p
u 100
l
80
a
t 60
i 40
o
20
n
0
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
Year
Figure A8-6: Bottlenose dolphin population estimates from photo-ID work in the Cardigan Bay
area (From Peasante et al, 2008). Error bars represent standard error.
Criterion Target 1.3 Population Condition: There should be no
statistically significant decline in seal pup production and bottlenose
dolphin calf production; and there should be no adverse health effects
from contaminants and biotoxins; and mortality of marine mammals due
to fishing by-catch should be sufficiently low to not inhibit population
size targets being met.
A total of 11 indicators and targets currently contribute to this Criterion Target.
Of these 2 are sufficiently well developed, 5 require some additional
development but will be ready for 2012 and a further 4 are require further
research with the possibility of submission in 2018. These 11 indicators and
targets cover a variety of biological aspects:

pup and calf production for the two seal species and the inshore
bottlenose dolphin populations, respectively (see section on Criterion
4.1).

by-catch of harbour porpoises, short beaked common dolphins, grey
seals and harbour seals (see section on MSFD pressure indicators)

PCB and other organohalogenated contaminant levels in harbour
porpoises and harbour seals linked immunosuspression and other
adverse health effects (see section on MSFD pressure indicators)

the relative occupancy of haulout sites used by both grey and harbour
seals. Additional analysis underway to determine if there is a
relationship between relative haulout numbers and local trends in
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population abundance between the two species. Existing data will
need to be analysed to provide an indication of feasibility of such an
assessment.

identification of harbour seal subpopulations. The assessment of
genetic structure of this species will enable estimates of the abundance
of harbour seal in discrete population sub-units to be made, which is
considered extremely important due the continuing population declines
observed.

presence of algal biotoxins in seals (see section on MSFD pressure
indicators).
Many of these proposed indicators are reliant on short-term research funds
awarded to academic institutions or NGOs.
Descriptor 4 - Food webs
Indicators proposed for marine mammals under D4 criteria 4.1 and 4.3 are
identical to those indicators proposed above under Criteria 1.2 and 1.1
respectively.
Criterion Target 4.1 Productivity (production per unit biomass) of key
species or trophic groups: In 75-90% of indicators monitored, there
should be no statistically significant decrease in abundance of marine
mammals.
This covers the pup and calf production for the two seal species and the
inshore bottlenose dolphin populations, respectively. For grey seals there is
sufficient evidence to submit in 2012 (e.g. see FigureA8- 4). For harbour
seals and the inshore bottlenose dolphin populations some additional work is
required, but the indicators are expected to be submitted in 2012.
Harbour seal pup production is difficult to assess. It has, however, been
monitored annually in the Moray Firth since 1988, although more accurate
aerial techniques were introduced in 2006. Assessments are also undertaken
in The Wash, where 90% of the species outside Scotland resides. The Wash
was first surveyed in 2003 and is reassessed every 5 years. Further sites
(possibly SACs) should be added to these assessments, but will require
additional funding.
Photo-identification studies in the Cardigan Bay area indicate that the number
of calves born per year are 13 (2005), 20 (2006), and 20 (2007). From those
estimates, crude birth rates were calculated as 0.098 (2005), 0.112 (2006),
and 0.101 (2007), and a mean value for the three years of 0.104. These
compare favourably with crude birth rate estimates calculated for other
bottlenose dolphin populations, which range from 0.012 to 0.156, but in most
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cases are between 0.055 and 0.10. Until recently this work was undertaken
by the Sea Watch Foundation, funded by CCW. These funds have now
ceased and continuation of the research relies on monies obtained by Sea
Watch. Similar photo-ID work has been undertaken in the Moray Firth through
CRRU and Aberdeen University.
Criterion Target 4.2 Abundance/distribution of key trophic
groups/species: There should be no statistically significant decline in
seal pup production and bottlenose dolphin calf production.
Two indicators contributing to this Criterion target are sufficiently developed
(grey and harbour seal abundance trends) with a third expected by 2012
(inshore bottlenose dolphin abundance trends). The development of an
additional 6 indicators linked to cetacean abundance and another for the
relative occupancy of seal sites is expected by 2018.
At this time, trends in distribution of these marine mammal species have been
left out of this Criterion target. However, should the ongoing JCP research
indicate that value would be gained with their inclusion then the number of
indicators contributing to this Criterion target will be increased.
MSFD Pressure targets associated with marine mammals
Three GES Criterion Targets have also been suggested for pressures known
to have potentially significant influence on marine mammals populations .
These cover by-catch, PCB contamination and algal biotoxins.
MSFD Pressure Impact selective extraction of species, including
incidental non-target catches (e.g. by commercial and recreational
fishing: Annual by-catch rate is reduced to less than 1.7% of best
population estimate (for harbour porpoise and common dolphin, but 2%
for seals)
At the fifth North Sea Conference in 2002, Ministers agreed that an ecological
quality element relating to harbour porpoise by-catch in the North Sea would
be given the objective: ‘annual by-catch levels should be reduced to levels
below 1.7% of the best population estimate’. In 2006, OSPAR adopted the
agreement on the application of the ecological quality objective (EcoQO)
system in the North Sea, which required in 2008, a first assessment of the
application of the EcoQO system and in 2009 an improved elevation of the
results of the EcoQO system as a contribution to the Quality Status Report
(QSR) for 2010 (OSPAR, 2010).
In 2008, the ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea)
Working Group on Marine Mammal Ecology tried to evaluate progress to date
with this EcoQO on a North Sea wide basis (ICES, 2008b). It was quickly
apparent that many of the fisheries suspected to have the highest by-catch
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levels are conducted without by-catch observer programmes as these are not
a requirement of Council Regulation 812/2004 (see below). As a
consequence, it was not possible to evaluate whether the EcoQO has been
met.
Council Regulation 812/2004 requires the reporting of certain cetacean bycatch from all EU Member States, although these are not fully comprehensive
of the North Sea. In addition, evaluation of the scale of incidental killing and
capture of cetaceans (i.e., by-catch) is also required under the EU Habitats
Directive, but precise standards have not been set and there has been little
evaluation or enforcement of this Directive requirement to date.
For the UK, data on marine mammal by-catch has been formally collected
through the UK by-catch monitoring project since 2005. Prior to this, data was
collected through a variety of research projects. The two main species
affected by fishing in UK waters are the harbour porpoise and the shortbeaked common dolphin. Harbour porpoises are by-caught mainly in static
nets whilst common dolphins tend to be caught in pelagic trawls but are also
by-caught in static nets.
UK fleet by-catch estimates of porpoises in the North Sea, though reliant on
rather old observations, are estimated to be in the low hundreds at present.
These can be compared with notional by-catch limits of around 3500-4500.
Other major gillnet fisheries exist in Denmark and Norway, while Sweden,
Belgium, the Netherland and France also prosecute gillnet fisheries in The
North Sea. By-catch rates in these other nations’ fisheries are not known at
present, but a recent analysis by ICES suggested that total effort in
commercial fisheries is not currently high enough to take as many as 3500
porpoises per year in the North Sea, though concerns have been raised about
large scale recreational gillnet fisheries that exist along the continental shore
of the North Sea. Increasing fuel prices and a potential cod recovery could
also increase gillnet effort in the future.
In the South and Southwest, porpoise by-catches are likely in the mid to high
hundreds per year in UK set net fisheries, and while sustainable by-catch
limits are likely to be over 2000 animals per year, there are as yet very
incomplete estimates of by-catch of porpoises in this area by other nations.
Similarly, for common dolphins by-catch currently amount to some few
hundreds of animals per year taken by the UK fleet, including now just a few
or a few tens of animals at most in UK pelagic pair trawl fisheries. The UK
total is therefore much lower than the estimated sustainable take limit of
around 2800 animals, but by-catch by other European member states are
likely to run into the thousands, so it remains a moot point as to whether or not
current aggregate by-catch rates for common dolphins are sustainable.
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Seals have also been recorded in static nets and pelagic trawls, with by-catch
rates highest in the North Sea with, the numbers recorded being relatively low
(singles to tens per year).
The UK by-catch monitoring project has recently been awarded for a further 3
years, with the current funding due to cease in 2014. This project covers all
cetacean species, seals and seabirds.
MSFD Pressure Impact. PCB and other organohalogenated
contamination in harbour porpoises and harbour seals are below
estimated threshold levels for adverse health effects.
A single indicator contributes to this, which requires further development prior
to submission in 2018. Work undertaken through UK cetacean stranding
scheme (CSIP) has demonstrated that porpoises dying as a result of
infectious disease had significantly higher levels of PCBs than healthy
porpoises that die as a result of traumatic deaths (e.g. by-catch or bottlenose
dolphin kills) (Jepson et al, 2005). PCB levels equivalent to 13mg/kg lipid has
been identified as the critical level at which the contaminant begins to affect
cetacean health. Such an assessment is proposed as part of the OSPAR
monitoring requirements for harbour porpoises as a ‘threatened and declining
species’.
During 2010, Defra funded the analysis of retrospective samples from 100
harbour porpoises (2004-2008) for chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs),
organochlorine pesticides (OCs) and brominated diphenyl ethers (flame
retardants, PBDEs) with results expected to be available later in 2011,
progressing work towards a 20 year time series of marine contaminant
analysis in UK stranded harbour porpoises.
In 2010, analyses of long-term temporal trends in blubber concentrations of
PCBs (n=440; 1991-2005) (Law et al. 2010a) and PBDEs (n=415; 1992-2008)
(Law et al. 2010b) in UK-stranded harbour porpoises were published.
Summed PCB concentrations in UK harbour porpoises declined slowly from
1991-1997 and then levelled off in 2005 as a result of a ban on the use of
PCBs which began more than two decades ago (Law et al 2010a). This
decline is much slower than that observed for organochlorine pesticides (such
as DDTs and dieldrin). There are also regional differences in PCBs and OC
pesticide levels within UK waters (lower levels in Scotland), possibly reflecting
differences in diffuse inputs and transfer between regions, e.g. via the
atmosphere. The reason for the slow PCB decline is not known but likely to
involve continuing diffuse inputs from e.g. PCB-containing materials in
storage, construction and in landfills, and to the substantial reservoir of PCBs
already in the marine environment.
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Among harbour seals comparable datasets exist for blubber levels of PCBs
and PBDEs for 1989 and 2003 (Hall et al. 1999, Hall et al. 1992, Hall &
Thomas 2007). An archive of blubber samples from the more recent years is
also available for analysis. For some regions (e.g. the Wash and the SW
coast of Scotland) levels, particularly in males, still exceed the estimated
threshold level for adverse health effects, particularly immunosuppressive
effects (approximately 20ppm PCBs lipid weight) which have been well
demonstrated in this species (Ross et al. 1996).
Funding for this work has so far been ad-hoc. If taken forward, serious
consideration will need to be given to finding a more permanent solution to the
funding situation. Funding for the UK cetacean stranding scheme itself has
recently been put in place for the next three years (approximately £350K per
annum) running until 2014. However, this does not include further analysis of
toxins either for cetaceans or seals.
MSFD Pressure Impact Nutrient and organic matter enrichment:
Exposure of seals to biotoxins (target to be developed).
Assessment of toxin levels in seal faeces will provide information on the
exposure of seals to the toxins produced by harmful algal blooms which
appear to be increasing in many areas throughout the world, including the UK,
due to changes in the environment and increases in nutrient input to the
marine environment. A single indicator contributes to this, which requires
further development prior to submission in 2018. Samples could be obtained
through current monitoring of seal diet by the subsampling of faeces collected
from seal haulout sites. The ad hoc collection of seal scats at various sites
around the UK may continue beyond the end of the current diet study and
would provide an opportunity to continue the exposure monitoring but some
additional funds would be required for the toxin analyses.
References
Hall, A. J., C. D. Duck, R. J. Law, C. R. Allchin, S. Wilson and T. Eybator.
1999. Organochlorine contaminants in Caspian and harbour seal blubber.
Environmental Pollution 106: 203-212.
Hall, A. J., R. J. Law, D. E. Wells, J. Harwood, H. M. Ross, S. Kennedy, C. R.
Allchin, L. A. Campbell and P. P. Pomeroy. 1992. Organochlorine levels in
common seals (Phoca vitulina) that were victims and survivors of the 1988
phocine distemper epizootic. Science of the Total Environment 115: 145-162.
Hall, A. J. and G. O. Thomas. 2007. Polychlorinated biphenyls, DDT,
polybrominated diphenyl ethers and organic pesticides in United Kingdom
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harbor seals - mixed exposures and thyroid homeostasis. Environmental
Toxicology and Chemistry 26.
Jepson, P.D., Bennett, P.M., Deaville, R., Allchin, C.R., Baker, J.R. & Law,
R.J., 2005. Relationships between PCBs and health status in UK-stranded
harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). Environmental Toxicology and
Chemistry, 24, 238-248.
Law, R.J., Bersuder, P., Barry, J., Deaville, R., Reid, R.J., Jepson, P.D.
(2010) Chlorobiphenyls in the blubber of harbour porpoises (Phocoena
phocoena) from the UK: levels and trends 1991-2005. Marine Pollution
Bulletin 60, 470-473.
Law, R.J., Barry, J., Bersuder, P., Barber, J., Deaville, R., Reid, R.J. and
Jepson, P.D. (2010) Levels and trends of BDEs in blubber of harbour
porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) from the UK, 1992 – 2008 Environmental
Science & Technology 44, 4447-4451
Pesante, G., Evans, P.G.H., Anderwald, P., Powell, D. & McMath, M., 2008.
Abundance and life history parameters of bottlenose dolphins in Cardigan bay
2005-2007. CCW Marine Monitoring Report No. 61. 81pp.
Ross, P., R. Deswart, R. Addison, H. Vanloveren, J. Vos and A. Osterhaus.
1996. Contaminant-induced immunotoxicity in harbour seals: Wildlife at risk?
Toxicology 112: 157-169.
SCOS, 2008. Scientific Advice on Matters Related to the Management of Seal
Populations: 2008. Available at: www.smru.standrews.ac.uk/documents/SCOS_2008 _v1.pdf
Thompson, P. M,, Corkrey, R. Lusseau, D, Lusseau, S.M., Quick, N., Durban,
J.W., Parsons, K.M. and Hammond, P. S. 2006. An assessment of the current
condition of the Moray Firth bottlenose dolphin population. Scottish Natural
Heritage Commissioned Report No. 175 (ROAME No. F02AC409).
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Appendix 9 - Fish report
Developing Indicators and Targets for Descriptors 1 and
4 in Respect of Fish
S.P.R. Greenstreet, H.M Fraser, C. Millar, I. Mitchell, W. Le Quesne, C. Fox, P.
Boulcott, T. Blasdale, A.G. Rossberg and C.F. Moffat
Data availability and assessment scales
Groundfish surveys have been carried out in support of fisheries management
for decades and the species abundance at length data they provide are ideal
for deriving the indicators stipulated for Descriptors 1 and 4 in the EC 2010
Decision document. Recent analyses for the UK’s “Charting Progress 2” and
OSPAR’s “Quality Status Report 2010” demonstrate that data from such
surveys are readily available throughout the majority of UK waters and most
waters covering the European continental shelf. The North Sea case study
that accompanies this report confirms the wealth of data available to populate
these indicators for fish.
Despite this apparent abundance of suitable data, the situation is not perfect.
Issues arise regarding the geographic scales at which assessments may be
required. The MSFD considers four distinct regions: the Baltic Sea; the Northeast Atlantic Ocean; the Mediterranean Sea; and the Black Sea. Two of these
regions are further split into four sub-regions. The Greater North Sea
(including the Kattegat, and the English Channel) and the Celtic Seas, for
example are two sub-regions of the North-east Atlantic Ocean. No single
groundfish survey covers an entire MSFD region, and few if any cover an
entire sub-region. Assessments at both the sub-regional and regional scale
will therefore require aggregation of information collected over smaller spatial
sub-units. Protocols detailing how these disparate smaller spatial scale
monitoring programmes should be integrated will need to be established so as
to ensure that resulting regional-scale assessments are consistent and
objective.
Most groundfish surveys are designed to assess fish populations at relatively
large spatial scales, for example the North Sea or the Celtic Sea. The North
Sea ICES first quarter (Q1) International Bottom Trawl Survey (IBTS) typically
samples approximately 170 ICES statistical rectangles and generally achieves
approximately 400 trawl samples sweeping a seabed area of approximately
30km2 each year. The whole North Sea covers an area of approximately
570,000km2 and an average ICES rectangle covers an area of 3,500km2.
Thus while the sampling statistics appear impressive, and represent a
substantial economic investment on the part of the participating countries, in
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reality the actual fraction of the total North Sea, and its resident individual
populations, sampled in any one year is relatively small. Deriving metric
values that convey something approaching reality therefore requires 20 or
more individual trawl samples to be combined to generate a single
representative sample (Greenstreet and Piet, 2008). The consequence of this
is that in order to examine temporal trends at the resolution of single years,
data collected across ten or more ICES rectangles need to be combined. This
clearly limits the spatial resolution at which these surveys can be used to
address questions regarding variation in fish biodiversity and food web
dynamics. The value of groundfish surveys therefore starts to diminish at
spatial scales smaller than the spatial units used in, for example, the UK
Charting Progress 2 process. A further consequence of this scale issue is
that coastal areas are relatively under-surveyed. This is also partly due to the
nature of the vessels generally involved in groundfish surveys, which rarely
operate in water shallower than 30m.
Indicator derivation
Firstly, it was necessary to determine which of the indicators stipulated in the
EC Decision document (Table A9-1) could be populated with regard to the fish
sub-component. “Habitat” level metrics were considered not appropriate for
fish; although there may be a need to ensure that fish-related habitat issues,
for example conservation of key habitats such as spawning grounds, were
adequately covered in the development of “habitat” indicators. Even here
though, problems related to the availability of key fish habitats should be
reflected by changes in the “species” level indicators set for criteria 1.1
species distribution, 1.2 population size, and 1.3 population condition.
Indicator 1.1.3 area covered by the species (for sessile and benthic species)
was also considered not relevant to mobile species such as fish; related
issues in respect of fish would be addressed via indicator 1.1.1 distributional
range. Finally, in respect of indicator 1.3.2 population genetic structure, whilst
there is evidence of population genetic structuring in some fish species, these
invariably involve commercially targeted species such as cod (Hutchinson et
al., 2001; Nielsen et al., 2009). For the vast majority of fish species there
simply are no data. Since genetically separate fish populations would require
a degree of spatial segregation, any issues associated with a decline in one or
more genetically distinct populations would be reflected by changes in range
extent.
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Table A9-1. Levels, criteria and indicator types proposed for Descriptor 1 “Biological diversity is
maintained” and Descriptor 4 “Food webs” of the MSFD (EC 2010).
Descriptor
Level
Criterion
1.1 - Species
distribution
Species
1.2 - Population size
1.3 - Population
condition
1
1.4 - Habitat
distribution
1.5 - Habitat extent
Habitat
1.6 - Habitat condition
4
Ecosystem
1.7 - Ecosystem
structure
Species or
functional
groups
4.1 - Productivity
(production per unit
biomass) of key
species or trophic
groups
4.2 - Proportion of
selected species at the
top of food webs
4.3 Abundance/distribution
of key trophic
groups/species
Indicator
1.1.1 - Distributional range
1.1.2 - Distributional pattern within the
latter, where appropriate
1.1.3 - Area covered by the species (for
sessile/benthic species)
1.2.1 - Population abundance and/or
biomass, as appropriate
1.3.1 - Population demographic
characteristics (e.g. body size or age
class structure, sex ratio, fecundity
rates, survival/ mortality rates)
1.3.2 - Population genetic structure,
where appropriate
1.4.1 - Distributional range
1.4.2 - Distributional pattern
1.5.1 - Habitat area
1.5.2 - Habitat volume, where relevant
1.6.1 - Condition of the typical species
and communities
1.6.2 - Relative abundance and/or
biomass, as appropriate
1.6.3 - Physical, hydrological and
chemical conditions
1.7.1 - Composition and relative
proportions of ecosystem components
(habitats and species)
4.1.1 - Performance of key predator
species using their production per unit
biomass (productivity)
4.2.1 - Large fish (by weight)
4.3.1 - Abundance trends of functionally
important selected groups/species
Criterion 4.1 was also considered to be largely irrelevant to fish indicators and
targets. This criterion, and its associated indicator, was considered to relate
primarily to “reproductive” productivity, for example kittiwake chick production
per breeding pair, which has been shown to be closely linked to the availability
of suitable prey (Frederiksen et al., 2004; Daunt et al., 2008). In fish
populations, recruit production, the main measure of successful reproductive
productivity, is highly variable. Its relationship to spawning stock size is
generally weak and rarely statistically significant until spawning stock size falls
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to critically low levels, at which point recruit production often declines
markedly. This variability in recruit production is the consequence of small
variations in the exceptionally high mortality rates that occur during a number
of processes between the egg and juvenile phases of the life cycle. Recruit
production is therefore considered to be primarily driven by a number of
stochastic processes strongly influenced by environmental factors, and
generally not related to anthropogenic activities. The possibility of using
growth productivity indicators, e.g. Production/Biomass (P/B) ratios, was
instead considered. However, for most species, but particularly “sensitive”
species, we would want populations to exhibit low P/B ratios; populations
dominated by older, larger, mature fish, close to the asymptote of their growth
curves, and therefore exhibiting low growth production per unit biomass.
However, it was thought that this would be “counter-intuitive” for most stakeholders, and could potentially confuse matters.
Thus, in respect of demersal fish, metrics could be identified, or suggested,
that could fulfil indicator roles for: 1.1.1 Distributional range; 1.1.2
Distributional pattern within the range; 1.2.1 Population abundance and
biomass; 1.3.1 Population demographic characteristics; 1.7.1 Composition
and relative proportions of ecosystem components; 4.2.1 Large fish (by
weight); and 4.3.1 Abundance trends of functionally important selected
groups/species. However, some of these metrics were considered
insufficiently understood at the current time and would therefore require
further development before appropriate targets for them could be set.
Distribution range
Geographic shifts (i.e., northwards or southwards) in a species’ range were
considered primarily to be a response to environmental change, whereas
changes in the extent of a species’ range may well be a response to pressure
from human activities. Indicators for this criterion also needed to take account
of differences in situation; for example, continental shelf communities or shelfedge communities. Thus for a continental shelf sea, variation in range
considered the horizontal plane, where as for shelf-edge seas, variation in
range considered the vertical axis (depth). For each species-based “range”
indicator (Rs)19 therefore, the metric proposed considers the proportion of
ICES rectangles (shelf sea) (equation 1), or the proportion of sampled depth
bands (shelf-edge sea) (equation 2),
19
Distributional range as suggested here relates to the “extent” of a species’ distribution and
not the geographical position of its distribution.
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Rs , y 
Rs , y 
Cs , y
1.
CTotal , y
Ds , y
2.
DTotal , y
sampled by each annual survey in which the species (s) in question is
recorded present in each year (y). Cs,y and Ds,y are, respectively, the number
of ICES rectangles or depth bands that the species in question is recorded
present in each year and CTotal,y and DTotal,y are, respectively, the number of
ICES rectangles or depth bands sampled in the survey in each year.
Distributional pattern within the range
This indicator was considered to be concerned about variation in the
distribution of individuals within the occupied range (ie. Cs,y, see equation 2);
increases or decreases in the patchiness (contagion) or evenness (dispersion)
of individuals over the area occupied. As a simple dispersion/contagion
metric, the mean/variance ratio was therefore proposed.
c  As , y ,max
A
c  As , y ,min
Ps , y 
s, y ,c
Cs , y
c  As , y ,max




A

,
,
s
y
c
c  Asy ,max


c  As , y ,min

 As , y , c 

Cs , y 
c  As , y ,min 




Cs , y  1
2
3.
This metric can be computed using either ICES rectangle abundance data
(numbers km-2) or biomass data (kg km-2), both of which can be substituted in
equation 3 as As,y,c, the abundance or biomass of a given species (s) in each
year (y) in each ICES rectangle (c) where it is present, and simply involves
calculating the mean of the values across all the rectangles in which a species
was recorded present in any one year (numerator part of equation 3) and
dividing this by the variance of these values (denominator part of equation 3).
In a Poisson distribution, which describes the distribution of randomly
dispersed objects, the mean and the variance are equal; a mean:variance
ratio of 1.0 therefore indicates a random distribution of individuals over the
occupied area. Values <1.0 (variance>mean) indicate patchy or contagious
distributions while values >1.0 (mean>variance) indicate even or dispersed
distributions; declining trends reflect increasing contagion, while increasing
trends suggest increasing dispersion. Given the generally restricted number
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of depth bands considered in most studies of shelf-edge fish communities, this
approach may not be applicable in this situation.
Population abundance and/or biomass
Both abundance and biomass data are readily available from the majority of
groundfish surveys, or easily determined through application of weight-atlength relationships to the abundance data. Metrics of both population
abundance and biomass are therefore generally available. The question is
whether both are necessary in respect of fish for the biodiversity indicator?
Some pressures from human activities, such as fishing, are size selective
(targeting the larger individuals) and raise mortality rates. Any increase in
mortality reduces life expectancy, so average age in a population declines.
Being non-deterministic in their growth, any reduction in average age in a fish
population results in a reduction in average length. Since weight varies with
length as a cubic power, pressures that cause mortality rates to increase
affect population biomass to a greater extent than they affect population
abundance. On the other hand, other anthropogenic pressures on the marine
ecosystem, such as chronic or acute pollution events might influence the
productivity of particular populations. Such effects might be better detected
using metrics of population abundance. There are therefore good arguments
to support the use of indicators of both population abundance and population
biomass. Since we have the capacity to provide both, this is the obvious way
forward.
The metrics used to act as abundance and biomass indicators in the North
Sea pilot study standardise the abundance and biomass data by taking
account of the area swept by the trawl gear in each annual survey, thus:
CTotal , y
As , y 
A
c 1
CTotal , y
s , y ,c

c 1
 Std
4.
 Std
5.
y ,c
CTotal , y
Bs , y 
B
c 1
CTotal , y
s , y ,c

c 1
y ,c
As,y and Bs,y are the desired annual species-based indicators. These are
derived by first summing the abundances As,y,c (or biomasses Bs,y,c) of the
species in question (s) in each year (y) in each ICES rectangle (c) surveyed
across all the rectangles surveyed in each year (CTotal,y). Next the total area of
seabed swept in each annual survey is determined by summing the areas
swept in each ICES rectangle (φy,c) across all rectangles surveyed in each
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year and the abundance (or biomass) sum is divided by this value to derive
“whole survey” density estimates (numbers km-2 or biomass kg km-2 at a
“regional” scale (in MSFD terms “sub-regional” or “sub-sub-regional” scale),
i.e. the area covered by the survey (in our pilot study, the North Sea covered
by the ICES Q1 IBTS). We have used are square kilometres (km2) because
this seems a sensible spatial unit by which to consider most fish populations.
However, many of the rarest fish species will be recorded at densities of
<1km-2 (or <1kg km-2), and the combination of values <1 and >1 can cause
analytical problems, particularly if transformation is required. Consequently,
these survey density estimates were raised by a “standard” area (ФStd), which
in the case of the North Sea pilot study was 30km2, this being an
approximation of the mean or median area surveyed across all years of the
ICES Q1 IBTS.
If species biomass in any year and rectangle are not available directly from
the survey, this can be estimated from the species abundance at length data
(per year and rectangle) by applying species specific weight-at-length
relationships of the form W s ,l  sl  s , where αs and βs are, respectively, the
species-specific constant and exponent parameters of the power function, l
is the length in question and Ws,l is the corresponding weight of an individual
fish of this species and length. Biomass estimates for each species in each
year and rectangle (Bs,y,c) can then be determined as Bs , y ,c 
l  Max
W
l  Min
s ,l , y ,c
As ,l , y ,c ,
where Ws,l,y,s is the weight of each individual fish of species s and length l in
year y rectangle c and As,l,y,c is their abundance.
Population demographic characteristics
Data to assess variation in fish population demographics are not routinely
collected as part of the groundfish survey protocols. However, it is possible to
generate some potential metrics using life-history trait information and
applying these to the standard abundance-at-length data provided by the
surveys. Thus length at first maturity data are available for many species (see
Table A9-2), and where they are not, they can be estimated from von
Bertalannfy growth equation ultimate body length parameter values (see
Table A9-2) using regression analysis (Figure A9-1). In any year, and for any
species, sampled in a survey, the proportion of individuals, or the proportion of
the sampled biomass, that exceeds this length can be determined. This
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provides an estimate of the proportion of mature individuals (MNos,s,y) or
biomass (MBiom,s,y) in the population20. The indicator is calculated as:
CTotal , y l  Ls , Max
 
As ,l , y ,c
c 1 l  Ls . Mat
CTotal , y
M Nos ,s , y 
6.
A
c 1
s , y ,c
CTotal , y l  Ls , Max
M Biom,s , y 
 
c 1 l  Ls . Mat
CTotal , y
7.
B
c 1
200
Bs ,l , y ,c
s , y ,c
Lmat = 0.75782L0.91228
n = 60, r 2 = 0.884
POR
160
SKA
Lmat (cm)
STU
TOP
120
BRA
LIN HAL
80
40
ANG
SER
COD
SPU
SPY
TRA
CRA
LSD
TOR
STY
TUR
CAT
BRI
HAK
HAD
BAN
PIP
LEQ
PLA
TBR
LSO
RGU
RSB
TNM
DSO
FLO
GFO
HAG
BLM
BIB
SSO
GGU
SNB
WHI
WIT
NPO
MEG
FME
CUW
BRO
LRD
NHA
TSO
FOR
PCO
DRA
CDA
PAN
HOO
SHE
SOL
CEE
SAI
0
0
100
200
L(cm)
300
400
Figure A9-1. Relationship between Length at maturity (Lmax) and the von Bertalanffy ultimate
body length (L∞) parameter for 60 demersal species where estimates for both parameters were
available. Each species data point is identified by the MS 3-letter species code.
20
It is important to realise that variation in this metric as defined actually reflects variation in
the size composition of the population, rather than any change over time in the length at
which individuals of a particular species mature.
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Composition and relative proportions of ecosystem components
This indicator was interpreted as the species composition and relative
proportions of species in the demersal fish community. Univariate community
metrics that have commonly been applied to fish communities could therefore
be used for the purposes of this indicator (Greenstreet and Hall, 1996;
Greenstreet et al., 1999; Rogers et al., 1999; Piet and Jennings 2005;
Greenstreet and Rogers, 2006). In respect specifically of biodiversity, these
include metrics of species evenness (Pielou’s evenness index, the ShannonWeiner index, Simpson’s index, and Hill’s N1 and N2, which are the
exponential and reciprocal of the last two metrics respectively) and metrics of
species richness (species counts or Margaleff’s richness) (Greenstreet et al.,
in press). However, it is not clear what targets might be set for these metrics.
The Q1 IBTS case study presented here has demonstrated that both species
richness and species evenness have increased over the duration of the
survey time-series.
The current OSPAR EcoQO for “fish communities” is based on the large fish
indicator (LFI) (the proportion by weight of fish in the community larger than a
specified length threshold). The LFI was specifically developed to monitor the
effect of fishing pressure on the status of the broader fish community, beyond
just the commercial stocks that are the subject of annual assessments. Under
the auspices of ICES, the LFI has been the focus of a considerable research
and development effort, with attention paid to: refining its sensitivity to fishing
pressure; determining appropriate targets; developing an appropriate
theoretical modelling framework to underpin management advice; and “rolling
the process out” to redefine the LFI and set appropriate targets for additional
marine regions beyond just the North Sea pilot area (Greenstreet et al., 2011;
Shephard et al., in press). The LFI is therefore a prime candidate as an
indicator of change in the composition and relative proportions of ecosystem
[fish community] components. However, the LFI is also explicitly mentioned in
the EC 2010 Decision Document as the indicator for Criterion 4.2 proportion of
selected species at the top of food webs (see next section), but there seems
to be no prohibition of the same indicator fulfilling two different indicator roles
across different Descriptors.
Large fish (by weight)
The use of the large fish indicator (LFI) in a food web context is firmly rooted
in size-based aquatic food web theory (Kerr & Dickie, 2001). Body-size is
widely regarded as having at least as important a role to play in the processes
structuring marine communities and controlling food web dynamics as species
identity (Jennings et al., 2001; 2002; Jennings & Mackinson 2003). The LFI
was developed as part of the OSPAR EcoQO pilot study carried out for the
North Sea (Greenstreet et al., 2011). However, the indicator is region and
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survey specific. It is the underlying process used in the North Sea to define
and set targets for the indicator (Greenstreet et al., 2011) that needs to be
“rolled out” to other regions and surveys, rather than simply applying the North
Sea indicator definition and targets in a “prescribed” fashion (Shephard et al.,
in press). Derivation of the indicator is described in detail in the two cited
studies, but in essence the LFI is defined as:
l ls , max
CTotal , y S
LFI y 
  B
c 1
s ,l , y ,c
s 1 l lLFI _ Threshold
S
B
s 1
8.
s, y
where S is the total number of species in the sample and l LFI _ Threshold is the
region/survey specific large fish length threshold (see equation 5 and
associated text for explanation of the remaining terms) and ls ,max is the
maximum length of each species recorded in the survey.
Abundance trends of functionally important selected
groups/species
Fish trophic groups have been defined in previous studies. For example, the
European Regional Seas Ecosystem Model (ERSEM) defines and models
carbon flow through four fish groups: pelagic planktivore; pelagic piscivores;
demersal benthivores; and demersal piscivores (Greenstreet et al., 1997).
For ERSEM, species were assigned to each group on the basis of the adult
fish diet. However, fish diet varies markedly with age and length (Hislop,
1997; Greenstreet, 1996; Greenstreet et al., 1998), and more meaningful
indicators might be developed by taking account of both species- and sizerelated variation in diet.
Selection of species-specific indicators
The wealth of data that groundfish surveys provide in itself also poses
problems: for example in deciding the basis on which particular species are
selected to fulfil specific indicator roles. The Q1 IBTS analysed here has, over
the course of its 26y history up to 2008, generated data on 128 demersal fish
species alone. Our analyses have illustrated the variety of different ways that
particular aspects of these species have varied over this time. Simply
assessing variation in 128 different metrics fulfilling each of the different
indicator roles listed in Table A9-1 would present considerable difficulties,
particularly with regard to target setting. In order to interpret trends in
indicator values for particular species, and then set targets for these
indicators, it is necessary to have some a priori expectation as to what the
metric value might be under conditions of sustainable exploitation; most
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particularly, what this value might be compared with present day or recent
historic values.
The sensitivity of different fish species to human pressure has been linked to
their life-history characteristics. Species with k-type traits, such us large
ultimate body size, slow growth rate, low fecundity, late age and large size at
maturity, etc, are generally more sensitive to human activities that increase
mortality rates (Jennings et al., 1998; Jennings et al., 1999; Gislason,et al.,
2008). Human pressure on marine ecosystems generally brings about a
decline in such species (Jennings et al., 1998; Jennings et al., 1999), for
example the well documented decline in many elasmobranch species in the
North Sea (Walker & Heessen, 1996; Walker & Hislop, 1998; Greenstreet &
Rogers, 2000). Conversely, r-type species, which have the opposite traits,
are opportunistic in nature and tend to flourish in disturbed situations, or when
populations of their k-type predators are diminished (Greenstreet et al. 1999;
Daan et al., 2005; Greenstreet et al. 2011). Opportunistic species often
respond positively to other pressures on the ecosystem, such as chronic
enrichment pollution. Taking account of species life-history characteristics
can therefore provide the basis for selecting particular species to perform the
indicator roles set out in the EC 2010 Indicator Decision document for
Descriptor 1.
A further requirement for species selected to perform an indicator role is that
they are adequately represented in the groundfish survey time-series . In the
case study presented here, representation in at least half of the years that the
Q1 IBTS was carried out was deemed a key requirement and 76 species met
this condition. These 76 species were then ranked according to three lifehistory traits, ultimate body length (Linfinity) von Bertalanffy growth parameter
(K), and length at first maturity (Lmaturity). The average of these three rankings
was determined, and in turn ranked to place each species along an r-k
spectrum with values from 1 (most opportunistic species) to 76 (most sensitive
species) (Figure A9-2A). 33%iles then defined three groups of species: the
25 lowest ranked species, considered to be r-type or opportunist species; the
25 highest ranked species, considered to be k-type sensitive species, and a
group of 26 middle ranked r/k-type species considered to be intermediate in
their opportunistic/sensitivity traits (Table A9-2). Variation in the three lifehistory traits across these three groups is illustrated in the Box-Whisker plots
shown in Figure A9-2B. Overlap in either of the three traits was minimal
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between the two extreme groups; sensitive k-type species and opportunist rtype species21.
300
250
Linfinity
A
Linfinity
Lmaturity
150
100
50
k
300
Lower 33%ile
"opportunist"
r-species
Middle 33%ile
"intermediate"
r/k-species
B
200
2.5
Upper 33%ile
"sensitive"
k-species
0
2.5
2
2
1.5
K
200
1.5
1
L
K
0.5
1
0
160
100
0.5
0
20
40
60
r-k spectrum rank
80
Lmaturity
0
0
120
80
40
0
r
r/k
k
Figure A9-2. A. Variation in ultimate body length (Linfinity) von Bertalanffy growth parameter (K),
and length at first maturity (Lmaturity) with increasing ranking on the r-k scale. Dashed vertical
lines indicate the upper, middle and lower data 33%iles, representing sensitive, intermediate and
opportunist species. B. Box-whisker plots showing the median, upper and lower quartiles, and
maximum and minimum ultimate body length (Linfinity) von Bertalanffy growth parameter (K), and
length at first maturity (Lmaturity) values for three groups of species, opportunists (r), sensitive (k)
and intermediate trait species (r/k).
21
Figure 2 and Table 2 define the sensitive k-type and opportunist r-type species groups
based on the North Sea Q1 IBTS demersal fish case study. These groups would need to be
defined explicitly and specifically for each survey data set used in any given marine region
assessment. Further note that this species grouping, based on species-specific life-history
traits, is particularly appropriate in respect of pressures that increase rates of mortality above
the natural rate. If a particular anthropogenic pressure affects fish species in other ways,
some alternative approach to identifying “sensitive” species may be necessary.
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Table A9-2. List of 76 species recorded present in the Q1 IBTS in at least half (13y or more) of the survey’s time-series giving their r-k spectrum ranking and group,
and detailing their life-history trait data on which this ranking and grouping was based. Shaded cells indicate details for species currently listed on the OSPAR list
of threatened and endangered species.
r/k group
Opportunist
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Ultimate body
length (cm)
Von Bertalannfy
growth
parameter
Length at first
maturity (cm)
r-k spectrum
rank
Scientific name
Common name
Aphia minuta
Transparent goby
5.40
2.230
3.53
1
Pomatoschistus minutus
Sand goby
9.20
0.928
5.74
2
Callionymus reticulatus
Reticulated dragonet
8.76
0.495
5.49
3
Liparis montagui
Montagu's sea snail
9.54
0.472
5.93
4
Buglossidium luteum
Solenette
11.70
0.540
7.00
5
Phrynorhombus norvegicus
Norwegian topknot
9.54
0.472
5.93
6
Arnoglossus laterna
Scaldfish
15.80
0.840
9.40
7
Liparis liparis
Sea snail
11.87
0.417
7.24
8
Echiichthys vipera
Lesser weever
11.87
0.417
7.24
9
Callionymus maculatus
Spotted dragonet
12.65
0.402
7.67
10
Agonus cataphractus
Hooknose
17.40
0.419
9.00
11
Syngnathus rostellatus
Nilsson's pipefish
20.00
0.747
11.65
12
Lycenchelys sarsii
Sar's wolf eel
15.73
0.355
9.36
13
Trisopterus minutus
Poor cod
20.30
0.506
13.00
14
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r/k group
Intermediate
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Ultimate body
length (cm)
Von Bertalannfy
growth
parameter
Length at first
maturity (cm)
r-k spectrum
rank
Scientific name
Common name
Triglops murrayi
Moustache sculpin
15.73
0.355
9.36
15
Callionymus lyra
Dragonet
22.20
0.471
13.00
16
Ciliata mustela
Five-bearded rockling
19.58
0.314
11.43
17
Trisopterus esmarkii
Norway pout
22.60
0.520
19.00
18
Zeugopterus punctatus
Topknot
19.58
0.314
11.43
19
Taurulus bubalis
Sea scorpion
18.70
0.251
10.96
20
Microchirus variegatus
Thickback sole
20.70
0.374
14.00
21
Pholis gunnellus
Butterfish
26.30
0.420
14.96
22
Raniceps raninus
Tadpole fish
21.87
0.295
12.64
23
Mullus surmuletus
Striped red mullet
33.40
0.430
18.61
24
Hippoglossoides platessoides
Long rough dab
24.60
0.336
15.00
25
Capros aper
Boarfish
23.40
0.283
13.45
26
Limanda limanda
Common dab
26.70
0.261
13.00
27
Myoxocephalus scorpius
Bullrout
34.00
0.240
15.00
28
Chelidonichthys cuculus
Red gurnard
41.70
0.460
25.00
29
Merlangius merlangus
Whiting
42.40
0.320
20.00
30
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Ultimate body
length (cm)
Von Bertalannfy
growth
parameter
Length at first
maturity (cm)
r-k spectrum
rank
Scientific name
Common name
Microstomus kitt
Lemon sole
37.10
0.415
27.00
31
Enchelyopus cimbrius
Four-bearded rockling
35.90
0.196
14.00
32
Solea vulgaris
Dover sole
39.20
0.280
25.00
33
Syngnathus acus
Great pipefish
38.58
0.213
21.22
34
Trisopterus luscus
Bib
38.00
0.211
23.00
35
Lycodes vahlii
Vahl's eelpout
40.09
0.209
21.98
36
Trachinus draco
Greater weever
40.85
0.207
22.36
37
Lumpenus lampretaeformis
Snake blenny
47.60
0.205
20.00
38
Platichthys flesus
Flounder
47.30
0.230
25.00
39
Glyptocephalus cynoglossus
Witch
45.50
0.165
20.00
40
Entelurus aequoreus
Snake pipefish
46.12
0.193
24.97
41
Scophthalmus rhombus
Brill
50.00
0.270
37.00
42
Eutrigla gurnardus
Grey gurnard
46.16
0.156
21.00
43
Psetta maxima
Turbot
57.00
0.320
46.00
44
Sebastes viviparus
Norway haddock
36.00
0.070
20.90
45
Gaidropsarus vulgaris
Three-bearded rockling
47.50
0.191
27.00
46
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r/k group
Sensitive
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Ultimate body
length (cm)
Von Bertalannfy
growth
parameter
Length at first
maturity (cm)
r-k spectrum
rank
Scientific name
Common name
Helicolenus dactylopterus
Bluemouth
37.20
0.095
25.00
47
Lepidorhombus whiffiagoni
Megrim
51.80
0.073
19.00
48
Amblyraja radiata
Starry ray
66.00
0.233
46.00
49
Myxine glutinosa
Hagfish
61.13
0.164
25.00
50
Melanogrammus aeglefinus
Haddock
68.30
0.190
34.00
51
Zoarces viviparus
Viviparous blenny
52.00
0.130
27.86
52
Cyclopterus lumpus
Lumpsucker
55.00
0.120
29.33
53
Pleuronectes platessa
Plaice
54.40
0.110
27.00
54
Chelidonichthys lucerna
Tub gurnard
65.00
0.148
34.15
55
Pollachius pollachius
Pollack
85.60
0.186
43.91
56
Scyliorhinus canicula
Lesser spotted dogfish
90.00
0.200
58.00
57
Raja clavata
Thornback ray
105.00
0.220
65.00
58
Gadus morhua
Cod
123.10
0.230
70.00
59
Anguilla anguilla
European eel
83.20
0.076
42.78
60
Squalus acanthias
Spurdog
90.20
0.150
67.00
61
Merluccius merluccius
Hake
103.60
0.107
37.00
62
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Scientific name
Common name
Mustelus asterias
Starry smooth hound
Brosme brosme
Ultimate body
length (cm)
Von Bertalannfy
growth
parameter
Length at first
maturity (cm)
r-k spectrum
rank
105.71
0.121
53.23
63
Torsk
88.60
0.080
50.00
64
Raja montagui
Spotted ray
97.80
0.148
67.00
65
Lophius piscatorius
Angler
135.00
0.176
75.00
66
Leucoraja naevus
Cuckoo ray
91.64
0.109
59.00
67
Chimaera monstrosa
Rabbit ratfish
113.10
0.116
56.61
68
Galeorhinus galeus
Tope
163.00
0.168
120.00
69
Anarhichas lupus
Catfish
117.40
0.047
43.00
70
Raja brachyura
Blond ray
139.00
0.120
100.00
71
Pollachius virens
Saithe
177.10
0.070
55.00
72
Molva molva
Ling
183.00
0.118
85.00
73
Hippoglossus hippoglossus
Halibut
204.00
0.100
83.00
74
Mustelus mustelus
Smooth hound
205.00
0.060
97.39
75
Dipturus batis
Skate
253.70
0.057
155.00
76
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Commercially exploited species used as part of the assessment for Descriptor 3 –
Commercial fish and shellfish were deemed eligible for inclusion as indicator species for
Descriptors 1 – Biodiversity and 4 – Food webs (provided they met the selection criteria set
out above) because they generally constitute key members of the demersal fish community.
Where Descriptor 3 species contributed to the breaching of targets set for individual
descriptor 1 or 4 indicators and criteria, this should be taken as an indication that
management of that species through the CFP was either inadequate or not being applied
appropriately.
Target setting
When the status of the demersal fish community is deemed to be unsatisfactory, i.e.
below good environmental status (GES), targets for k-type species should reflect the
need to encourage an increase in their abundance. If fish community status is
considered adequate (i.e. at GES), then targets should reflect the need to ensure
that populations of k-type species are maintained and do not decline as a
consequence of human activity. Conversely, r-types species may well be overrepresented in perturbed communities, and even when fish community status might
be considered adequate, one would not wish to see any undue increase in their
abundance. Targets for r-type should at all times therefore reflect the need to
ensure that, generally, populations of these opportunist species do not increase.
Targets for opportunist r-type species were considered necessary because:

Such species may be more responsive to human pressures other than fishing,
such as pollution enrichment events, which may affect local productivity.

By the very nature of their life-histories, such species may respond more
quickly to both natural and anthropogenic disturbance, thereby potentially
providing “early-warning” of impending issues.

Opportunist species are often amongst the most abundant species in fish
communities. They therefore have the potential, if their populations increase,
to exert high predation pressure on their prey, which could include the eggs
and larval phases of sensitive k-type species. Similarly, juveniles of sensitive
k-type species, as they grow through their small size phase, could be
subjected to higher levels of competition from opportunist r-type species.
For several of the indicators described above, no targets have been proposed. In
these cases, the relationship between the proposed indicator and anthropogenic
pressure on the fish community was not considered to be sufficiently well understood
as to allow reliable targets to be proposed. The species-based indicators falling into
this category were 1.1.2 distributional pattern within the range and 1.3.1 population
demographic characteristics. Targets could be proposed for 1.1.1 distributional
range, 1.2.1 population abundance and biomass, 1.7.1 composition and relative
proportions of ecosystem components, and 4.2.1 large fish (by weight).
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To date, most fish-focused marine ecosystem-related work (i.e. not stock
assessment science) has focused on setting reference points (or baselines) and
targets for community level univariate indicators (Greenstreet and Rogers, 2006);
e.g., the 1983 reference period that gave rise to a target of 0.3 for the North Sea
demersal fish community LFI (Greenstreet et al., 2011). The rationale underlying
this approach does not apply to the single species based indicators stipulated by the
EC 2010 Decision document for “species” level criteria (1.1, 1.2, and 1.3).
Reference periods for different species differ markedly depending on each species’
life-history characteristics. Because species ranked higher along the r-k spectrum
have lower tolerance to pressure from human activities, they would have been
adversely affected by activities such as fishing earlier than lower ranked species.
For many k-type species, notable fishing impacts would already have occurred long
before the advent of the Q1 IBTS. The current proposal therefore uses the entire
groundfish survey time series as a “reference” and compares indicator values in the
latest assessments with the mean and standard deviation for all data over the full
survey time series. Essentially targets would be set based on the recent deviation in
metric values compared with variation over period covered by each survey. Target
deviation direction and extent would then depend on whether the species in question
was considered to be a sensitive k-type or opportunist r-type species, and whether
the management situation involved conservation of a situation currently at GES, or
restoration of a community towards GES. For those indicators considered
sufficiently well understood as to allow targets to be proposed, a probabilistic
approach to target setting was developed with the objective of being able to assess
whether criterion-level targets were achieved with a specified level of statistical
significance.
Analytical procedures
Factor analysis performed on each of the species based indicators suggested
between 5 and 8 general types of temporal trend (see accompanying North Sea
case study). For the distributional pattern indicators, basing the mean/variance ratio
on either ICES rectangle abundance data or biomass data, seven or eight trend
types respectively were identified, none of which were monotonic in nature. For each
of the remaining indicators, only one of the factor score trends was monotonic, and
just 24% to 55% (average 44%) of the 49 species analysed were linked to the
monotonic factor (only 49 species, those recorded present in all years of the ICES
Q1 IBTS, were analysed). For all six indicators examined therefore, the use of
simple trend based statistics to set targets would have been questionable.
An alternative approach is therefore proposed. This essentially uses the entire time
series of each indicator to provide the “reference level” or “baseline”. Firstly, for
each species-based (s) indicator time series, the mean indicator value ( I s ) and the
standard deviation around this mean ( I s ) across all years of available data in the
indicator time series YI  (from the first [yfirst] to the last year [ylast]) was calculated.
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ylast
Is 
I
s, y
y first
9.
YI
 I
I s 

2
ylast
s, y
 Is
y first
10.
YI  1
where Is,y is the indicator value for a given species and year. Each year’s indicator
value can then be converted to its standardised deviate (Is,y,STD_DEV) equivalent by
I s , y ,STD _ DEV 
I s, y  I s
I s
11.
Abundance and biomass data are notoriously non-normal in their distribution,
generally being skewed to the left (long “tail” of a few higher than expected values).
Log transformation mitigates this situation and stabilises variances (reduces the
tendency for variance to increase with the mean). Before substituting the As,y and
Bs,y into Is,y in equations 8, 9, and 10 therefore, the raw indicator values must first be
log-transformed.
Calculating the standardised deviates of an indicator’s values does not in any way
alter the trend shape. It simply places each indicator trend at the same central point
(the mean) and fixes the range in values over a constant scale. This is illustrated
using the biomass indicator (Bs,y) for three sensitive species: angler, spurdog and
spotted ray (Figure 3). By equally scaling the variation in each species-specific
indicator in this way, each species’ trend can be compared directly with any other
species. Between species differences in indicator values (comparisons between
high abundance species and low abundance species for example) are eliminated so
that each indicator has equal weighting in terms of their contribution to criterion-level
targets. It also means that all indicator-level and criterion-level targets can be
expressed using a single term, which is applicable to all species-specific indicators
regardless of actual indicator values; greatly simplifying target setting.
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Angler
Spurdog
Spotted ray
6
4
Standardised Deviates of Log10 Bs,y
Log10 Bs,y (g 30km-2)
5.6
5.2
4.8
4.4
4
3.6
A.
1980
2
0
-2
-4
1985
1990
1995
Year
2000
2005
2010
B.
1980
1985
1990
1995
Year
2000
2005
2010
Figure A9-3. Trends in angler fish, spurdog and spotted ray log-transformed biomass indicator values (A)
and standardised deviates of the log-transformed indicator values (B) derived from the North Sea Quarter
1 International Bottom Trawl Survey.
Figure A9-4A shows fitted normal distributions for each of the biomass trends
illustrated in Figure A9-3A; each distribution is determined by the mean and standard
deviation of the indicator values. Since all three of these species are sensitive
species, if not currently at GES, then our targets would require their biomass to
increase in order to achieve GES. Appropriate targets might therefore be “the most
recent biomass estimate in each species time series should exceed +1 standard
deviation above the long-term mean value”. This would necessitate setting separate
individual targets for each species-specific (log-transformed) biomass indicator; for
example, 5.48 for Angler fish, 5.29 for spurdog and 4.80 for spotted ray ( x   ); and
the same might need to be done for a possible further 73 species in the North Sea
case study. This same process would also have to be repeated for each of the other
species-specific indicators that are sufficiently well developed as to allow target
setting (abundance and distributional range). Furthermore, with each new year of
monitoring, with new “recent” indicator values and the each time series extended by
another year, this entire target setting procedure would have to be undertaken again.
However, converting the basic indicator values to their standardised deviates
overlays each distribution, placing each on an identically scaled abscissa (Figure A94B). Indicator targets can now be phrased as “recent indicator standardised
deviates should exceed +1”. The same target is relevant to each of the sensitive
species, and it could well apply to several or all of the different species-specific
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indicators. Furthermore, the target remains the same in each and every year till
GES is finally achieved.
Angler
Spurdog
Spotted ray
0.15
0.15
+1 standard
deviation
X = 5.33,
= 0.154
0.1
0.1
Frequency
Frequency
X = 5.04,
= 0.249
X = 4.52,
= 0.282
0.05
0.05
A.
0
3
0
4
5
6
Log10 Bs,y (g 30km-2)
7
B.
-4
-2
0
2
Standardised Deviates of Log10 Bs,y
4
Figure A9-4. A: Normal distributions fitted to the angler fish, spurdog and spotted ray log-transformed
biomass indicator values shown in Figure 31A. The mean and standard deviation parameter values for
each distribution are shown. B: The same normal distributions applied to the standardised deviates of
the log-transformed biomass indicator values.
The biggest advantage to this approach, however, lies in the fact that the normal
distribution probability density function can be used to determine the probability of
any specified deviation away from the mean (Figure 5). Thus if the target suggested
above, “recent indicator standardised deviates should exceed +1”, were to be set for
sensitive species, then for every one of the sensitive species monitored (25 in the
instance of the North Sea case study) there would be a 16% probability of observing
such a value. Given this relatively high probability of observing such a value simply
by chance, such a target may initially appear unambitious. However, sensitive
species have k-type population dynamics. Populations of many of these species
may have been reduced to relatively low levels by detrimental human activities and,
by their very nature, such species will only be capable of relatively low rates of
population recovery. In this context, such a target may now seem biologically
unrealistic, particularly if time scales to achieve targets are short. Consequently,
more appropriate individual indicator-level targets for sensitive k-type species might
be “the most recent indicator standardised deviates should exceed +0.5”. The
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probability of observing such a value, based on each species historic indicator time
series, would now be 35%.
0.08
P=0.2996
Frequency
0.06
P=0.1915
P=0.1915
0.04
0.02
P=0.1587
P=0.1587
0
-4
-3
-2
-1
0
1
2
Standardised Deviates of Y
3
4
Figure A9-5. Normal distribution probability density function indicating the probabilities associated with
observing standardised deviates of <-1.0, <-0.5 to -1.0, -0.5 to +0.5, >+0.5 to +1.0, and >+1.0.
Any assessment of the state of the fish community would not rely on whether
individual species had met their indicator-level targets or not. Instead the
assessment would rely on meeting criterion-level targets. Since we know the
probability of an individual indicator meeting its target, and we know the number of
individual species-specific indicators we have assessed (25 sensitive k-type species
in the case of the North Sea demersal fish case study), we can use the binomial
distribution to determine the probability of a specified number (or proportion) of these
indicators meeting their targets with a pre-determined probability of this number
doing so simply by chance. Science generally adopts a 5% probability significance
level, and this would seem to be sufficiently ambitious as the basis for setting
criterion-level targets. The binomial experiment for the North Sea case study can
therefore be summarised as:
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
“Assuming individual indicator targets of “the most recent indicator
standardised deviate should exceed +0.5”, there is a 35% probability of this
happening by chance in respect of each individual indicator. Out of 25
indicators, what number would have to meet this target for there to be a less
than 5% probability of this overall result occurring by chance?”
One would expect at least 8 to 9 species to meet their individual targets purely by
chance (.35 x 25), but it turns out that if 14 achieve their target, there is a <5%
probability that such a result could come about purely by chance. This represents
56% of the 25 sensitive k-type species assessed in the North Sea case study.
However, the proportion of indicators that need to meet their targets is sample size
dependent; if only 10 sensitive species had been monitored then 70% would have
needed to meet the target, but this proportion drops to 50% if 40 species-specific
indicators are analysed (Table A9-3).
More ambitious targets could be set for the individual species-specific targets; for
example the other target previously considered, “the most recent indicator
standardised deviate should exceed +1.0”. Now the probability of any individual
indicator meeting its target is reduced to 16%. Assuming the same level of
significance for meeting the criterion-level target, only 8 of the 25 North Sea sensitive
species would have to meet this more ambitious indicator-level target for this to
occur by chance with a probability of <5% (Table A9-3). The combinations of
indicator-level and criterion-level targets presented in Table A9-3 all represent the
same level of statistical significance at the criterion-level. This illustrates that the
binomial distribution can be used to “trade off” levels of ambition at the indicator- and
criterion-levels so as to maintain a constant level of ambition at the criterion-level.
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Table A9-3: The number of individual species-specific indicators that need to meet their stipulated
indicator-level targets in order to achieve the criterion-level target, implying that at the <5% probability
significance level, a significant fraction of the individual indicator targets have been met. The table
shows how variation in the number of species assessed affects the criterion level targets, and how
modifying the level of ambition in the individual species targets affects the fraction of the assessed
species that need to meet their indicator targets in order to demonstrate a significant improvement at the
criterion level. Green shading shows the situation for the demersal fish analysed in the North Sea case
study described in the working document.
Number of
individual
species
indicators
Targets for individual indicators:
The most recent indicator
standardised deviates are >+1.0
relative to the long-term mean.
Targets for individual indicators:
The most recent indicator
standardised deviates are >+0.5
relative to the long-term mean.
Criterion Target
Proportion
Criterion Target
Proportion
10
5
0.50
7
0.70
15
6
0.40
9
0.60
20
7
0.35
12
0.60
25
8
0.32
14
0.56
30
9
0.30
16
0.53
35
10
0.29
18
0.51
40
11
0.28
20
0.50
So far we have considered the rationale underpinning the setting of criterion-level
targets for sensitive k-type species when not at GES, and needing improvement in
their status at the criterion-level to achieve GES. But once GES is achieved, all that
is then required is that current status is conserved; i.e. no significant decline in the
criterion-level status of sensitive species. Thus individual indicator-level targets
could be “the most recent indicator standardised deviate should equal or exceed the
long-term time series mean (standardised deviate ≥0.0)”. The criterion level target
would then be “the proportion of species meeting their individual indicator targets
should be sufficiently high that there is a <5% probability of this happening by
chance”. Since there is a 50% probability of species meeting their individual
indicator-level targets by chance, out of 25 species-specific indicators, between 12
and 13 might be expected to meet their targets through chance alone. But if this was
the situation, then that would mean that there was no management in place to
actively prevent species failing their targets, or that such management was
ineffective. To address this concern, the required binomial experiment can be stated
“if there is a 50:50 chance of species meeting their target, then with a given number
of species-specific indicators, what number should equal or exceed the long-term
time series mean for this to occur by chance with a probability of <5%”? In the North
Sea case study, with 25 sensitive k-type species, this number turns out to be 18.
Thus if 8 species in the North Sea were to fail their target, this could infer that there
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was a significant risk of impending failure to maintain sensitive demersal fish GES in
the North Sea. More than 12 species failing the criterion-level target would be
indicative of current actual failure. Table A9-4 reveals that meeting such
“conservation-orientated” criterion-level targets is increasingly difficult the lower the
number of individual species-specific indicators assessed. Essentially, the objective
of this target is to prove “no change” and “no change” is generally regarded as being
the “null hypothesis”. Null hypotheses are notoriously difficult to prove, depending
heavily on the statistical power of the analysis. Clearly in this case, statistical power
improves markedly once the number of individual species-specific indicators reaches
30 or more.
Table A9-4. The number of individual species-specific indicators that need to meet their stipulated
indicator-level targets in order to achieve the criterion-level target, implying that at the <5% probability
significance level, a significant fraction of the individual indicator targets have been met. The table
shows how variation in the number of species assessed affects the criterion level targets, and how
modifying the level of ambition in the individual species targets affects the fraction of the assessed
species that need to meet their indicator targets in order to demonstrate a significant improvement at the
criterion level. Green shading shows the situation for the demersal fish analysed in the North Sea case
study described in the working document.
Number
of
individual
species
indicators
Conserving current status of sensitive k-type
species when at GES
Preventing undesirable change in r-type
opportunists at all times
Targets for individual indicators:
Targets for individual indicators:
“The most recent indicator standardised
deviate should equal or exceed the long-term
time series mean (standardised deviate
≥0.0)”
“The most recent indicator standardised
deviate should not exceed, and ideally be
less than, the long-term time series mean
(standardised deviate ≤0.0)”
No active
management
Active management
No active
management
Active management
Number
Proportion
Number
Proportion
Number
Proportion
Number
Proportion
10
5
50%
9
90%
5
50%
9
90%
15
8
53%
12
80%
7
47%
12
80%
20
10
50%
15
75%
10
50%
15
75%
25
13
52%
18
72%
12
48%
18
72%
30
15
50%
20
67%
15
50%
20
67%
35
18
51%
23
66%
17
49%
23
66%
40
20
50%
26
65%
20
50%
26
65%
Regardless of whether the current management situation is “managing to achieve
GES” or “managing to maintain GES”, targets for opportunist r-type species should
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take account of the fact that increases in the abundance, biomass and distributional
range of their populations are considered undesirable. Indicator-level and criterionlevel targets similar to those suggested for conserving sensitive k-type species,
albeit with the directionality reversed, would therefore seem appropriate. Thus
individual indicator-level targets could be “the most recent indicator standardised
deviate should not exceed, and ideally be less than, the long-term time series mean
(standardised deviate ≤0.0)”. The criterion level target would then be “the proportion
of species meeting their individual indicator targets should be sufficiently high that
there is a <5% probability of this happening by chance”. This binomial experiment is
identical to the one described above, so the target numbers and proportions are the
same (Table A9-4).
Final caveats
The two summation terms in equations 9 and 10 encompass the entire time series of
each indicator in each new assessment, indicating that with each assessment the
most recent indicator values added to the time series should be included when
calculating the long-term mean and standard deviation. However it has also been
suggested that both the mean and the standard deviation should be calculated up to
a fixed point in time, e.g. 1983 to 2008, or perhaps up to the year that management
measures are implemented.
Consider a situation where the fish community is below GES and management intent
is to recover sensitive k-type species to achieve GES. For any given species the
target is “the most recent indicator standardised deviate should exceed +0.5”. If in
the most recent assessment, based for example on the period 1983 to 2008, the
indicator standardised deviate just meets the target with a value of +0.500001. Then
if in the following assessment, the summations to derive the mean and standard
deviation are carried out over the same period (i.e. 1983 to 2008), neither parameter
will change, and if for the species in question there is no change in indicator value, it
will again record an indicator standardised deviate of +0.500001 and be judged to
have met its indicator level target. However, if currently below GES, the intent would
be for year on year improvement until GES is ultimately reached. If in the initial
assessment the criterion-level target is reached, so that significantly more than 35%
of sensitive k-type species record indicator standardised deviates >+0.5, this will
inevitably cause their long-term time series means to have increased at the time of
the next assessment. Under these circumstances, the species in the example
above, showing no change in indicator value between the initial assessment and the
next, would in all likelihood record an indicator standardised deviate <+0.5, and
consequently fail to meet its indicator-level target. Determining the means and
standard deviations over the entire time series, including each new additional
assessment, provides the “moving target” that ensures continual improvement
towards the ultimate achievement of GES.
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However the situation changes once GES is reached; now management intent would
be to maintain current GES. For any given species the target is “the most recent
indicator standardised deviate should equal or exceed the long-term time series
mean (standardised deviate ≥0.0)”. If in the most recent assessment, based for
example on the period 1983 to 2008, the indicator standardised deviate fails the
target with a value of -0.2. Then if in the following assessment, the summations to
derive the mean and standard deviation are carried out over the same period (i.e.
1983 to 2008), neither parameter will change, and if for the species in question there
is no change in its indicator value, it will again record an indicator standardised
deviate of -0.2, and will again be judged to have failed its indicator-level target. If
nothing changes in each subsequent assessment, this species will be flagged as a
perpetual “failure” case. However, if following the initial assessment, all subsequent
assessments derive the means and standard deviations used to determine the
indicator standardised deviates on the entire data set, then ultimately the mean
values will fall and the species will get closer and closer to meeting its indicator-level
target without any specific remedial action ever being implemented. This is not how
the process should work.
The summation terms in equations 9 and 10 are therefore correctly stated if current
status is “below GES” and management intent is to move towards GES. But if
current status is “at GES” and management intent is to conserve current status, then
ylast should be replaced by yGES, that year in which GES was deemed to have been
attained, in the both equations.
As currently stated, even though the criterion-level targets might be met in
successive assessments, particular sensitive k-type species might still be in decline.
By chance alone, 35% of sensitive species could have indicator standardised
deviates of <-0.5. With recovery management in place the proportion of “sensitive”
species in this situation should be less than this. However, application of the
binomial distribution, with 25 species and assuming a 65% probability of individual
species specific indicator standardised deviates exceeding -0.5, even if criterionlevel targets were being met at the 5% significance level, it is likely that 4 species
(16%) will have indicator standardised deviates of <-0.5. If on each assessment
occasion a different four species fall into this situation, then this would be of little
concern. But if the same species perpetually meet this condition then this would
infer that, although the status of sensitive k-type species was generally improving,
particular species might still be in persistant decline, and so cause for concern. If the
species involved should also happen to be included in, for example, the OSPAR list
of threatened and endangered species (see TableA9-2), then this may need
immediate action to be taken. The assessment process would need to be carried
out in such a way as to flag-up these types of issue.
Similarly, in the process described thus far, no consideration has been given to the
intermediate r/k group of species. Whilst there is no underlying rationale to set
targets for this group, nevertheless these species should still be assessed following
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the protocols described above so as to detect persistent changes in indicator values;
particularly increasing trends in species nearer the r end of the spectrum and
decreasing trends in species nearer the k end of the spectrum.
Summary of Indicator-level and Criterion-level Targets
Distribution range
The rationale for setting targets assumes that increasing human pressure would
cause the ranges of opportunistic species to increase and of vulnerable species to
decline. Table A9-5 lists both the individual indicator and the criterion targets
proposed for the distributional range indicators defined for two different marine
situations; continental shelf seas and shelf-edge seas.
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Table A9-5. Indicators and targets proposed for the “distribution range” indicator applied to demersal
fish.
Situation
Indicator
metric
Species
type
Opportunisti
c r-type
species
Continental
shelf sea
Proportion
of
sampled
ICES
rectangles
in which
the
species
occurs.
Managemen
t situation
At any time
Below GES
Sensitive ktype species
At GES
Opportunisti
c r-type
species
Shelf-edge
sea
Proportion
of depth
bands in
which the
species
occurs.
At any time
The most recent
standardised deviate
of the distribution
range indicator
should exceed +0.5.
The most recent
standardised deviate
of the distribution
range indicator
should equal or
exceed the long-term
time series mean
(standardised deviate
≥0.0).
The most recent
standardised deviate
of the distribution
range indicator
should not exceed,
and ideally be less
than, the long-term
time series mean
(standardised deviate
≤0.0).
Below GES
The most recent
standardised deviate
of the distribution
range indicator
should exceed +0.5.
At GES
The most recent
standardised deviate
of the distribution
range indicator
should equal or
exceed the long-term
time series mean
(standardised deviate
≥0.0).
Sensitive ktype species
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Indicator targets
The most recent
standardised deviate
of the distribution
range indicator
should not exceed,
and ideally be less
than, the long-term
time series mean
(standardised deviate
≤0.0).
Criterion target
The proportion of
species meeting their
individual indicator
targets should be
sufficiently high that,
based on the binomial
distribution, there is a
<5% probability of this
happening by chance.
The proportion of
species meeting their
individual indicator
targets should be
sufficiently high that,
based on the binomial
distribution, there is a
<5% probability of this
happening by chance.
The proportion of
species meeting their
individual indicator
targets should be
sufficiently high that,
based on the binomial
distribution, there is a
<5% probability of this
happening by chance.
The proportion of
species meeting their
individual indicator
targets should be
sufficiently high that,
based on the binomial
distribution, there is a
<5% probability of this
happening by chance.
The proportion of
species meeting their
individual indicator
targets should be
sufficiently high that,
based on the binomial
distribution, there is a
<5% probability of this
happening by chance.
The proportion of
species meeting their
individual indicator
targets should be
sufficiently high that,
based on the binomial
distribution, there is a
<5% probability of this
happening by chance.
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Distributional pattern within the range
Assuming that some sort of dispersal process (e.g. the Ideal Free Distribution
[Fretwell and Lucas, 1970; Partridge, 1978]) underlies most fish distributions, the
following rationale for target setting was initially considered. The core preferred
habitat of any organism is a physical attribute of the environment, and therefore
remains constant in size. Being the best habitat for the species in question, this is
where abundances are highest. Like any predator, fisheries are attracted to such
locations because high abundances are reflected in higher catch rates per unit effort.
Thus fish are primarily extracted from such locations, reducing abundance in these
prime habitat hot-spots, tending to reduce contagion and causing the mean:variance
ratio to increase. As abundance declines in the prime habitats, the Ideal Free model
predicts that individuals in less optimal habitats will move into the now vacant, or less
occupied, prime locations. This will tend to reduce the extent of the species range
as the lowest occupancy, least optimal, locations empty; the number of high density
sites (ICES rectangles) remains the same, but the number of low density sites
reduces. The effect of this on the mean is much less than on the variance,
consequently causing the mean:variance ratio to rise, again suggesting increased
dispersion across the populated range.
However, the arguments presented above are primarily based on how we might
expect the degree of contagion/dispersion to vary mainly as a function of changes in
abundance and range. On this premise, the level of correlation between the
distributional pattern indicator and indicators of abundance and distribution range
would be high; implying a high level of indicator redundancy and negating the need
for all three indicators. It was not clear how distributional pattern might change
independently of these other two indicators. Furthermore, indicators of abundance,
biomass and distribution range were thought likely to be more sensitive to
anthropogenic pressure than the proposed indicator of distributional pattern. Finally,
mitigation measures implemented to meet other targets, particularly those set for
other ecosystem components, such as habitat restoration and recovery of prey
resources, might lead to conflicts between targets set for fish distributional pattern.
Consequently, no targets are currently proposed for the distributional pattern
indicator. This indicator needs further development in respect of the fish component.
Population abundance and/or biomass
In setting targets, we have assumed that the pressure from human activity would
cause a decrease in the abundance and biomass of vulnerable species and an
increase in the abundance and biomass of opportunistic species. Management
would therefore need to reverse or control these tendencies. Table A9-6 lists both
the individual indicator-level and the criterion-level targets proposed for both
population abundance and population biomass indicators.
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Table A9-6. Indicators and targets proposed for the population abundance and biomass indicators
applied to demersal fish.
Situation
Indicator
metric
Species
type
Opportunistic r-type
species
Manage
ment
situation
Indicator targets
Criterion target
The most recent
standardised
deviate of the
population
abundance and
population biomass
indicators should
not exceed, and
ideally be less than,
the long-term time
series mean
(standardised
deviate ≤0.0).
The proportion of
species meeting
their individual
indicator targets
should be
sufficiently high
that, based on
the binomial
distribution, there
is a <5%
probability of this
happening by
chance.
Below
GES
The most recent
standardised
deviate of the
population
abundance and
population biomass
indicators should
exceed +0.5.
The proportion of
species meeting
their individual
indicator targets
should be
sufficiently high
that, based on
the binomial
distribution, there
is a <5%
probability of this
happening by
chance.
At GES
The most recent
standardised
deviate of the
population
abundance and
population biomass
indicators should
equal or exceed the
long-term time
series mean
(standardised
deviate ≥0.0).
The proportion of
species meeting
their individual
indicator targets
should be
sufficiently high
that, based on
the binomial
distribution, there
is a <5%
probability of this
happening by
chance.
At any
time
Population
abundance
density
Continental
shelf and
shelf- edge
seas
AND
Population
biomass
density
Sensitive
k-type
species
Population demographic characteristics
It was not obvious what the targets should be for such an indicator. Initially one
might expect that, for a vulnerable species, any reduction in mortality rate should
increase life-expectancy so that a greater proportion of each population should grow
to exceed their length at first maturity, and so cause indicator values to increase.
However, reduced fishing activity should also reduce discarding rates of juvenile fish.
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Increased survival rates among such fish might bring about an initial decline in the
proportion of mature fish indicator, and it is only when these fish eventually grow to
exceed each species’ length at first maturity threshold that indicator values might
start to increase. Some relatively simple population modelling is required to explore
these questions before appropriate targets can be set. The results of such modelling
should also indicate whether it is better to derive this indicator based on biomass or
on abundance. Consequently, no targets are currently proposed for the population
demographic characteristics indicator. This indicator needs further development in
respect of the fish component.
Composition and relative proportions of ecosystem components
Long lags between changes in pressure and structural and compositional responses
by fish communities have been demonstrated empirically in several studies (Daan et
al, 2005; Greenstreet et al., 2011; Shephard et al., In press) and seem to be
supported by the results of process-based, multiple-species, size-based modelling
work (Fung et al., in review; Rossberg et al., 2008). The North Sea case study
analysis has indicated that the increase in species richness might be interpreted as
either a positive or a negative response to changes in fishing pressure depending of
the length of the response lag involved (Figure A9-2). Alternatively the change in
species richness may be the result of change in environmental conditions.
Fishing generally targets the more dominant species in the community. Reductions
in dominant species’ population size might be expected to bring about an increase in
species evenness; declining status could be associated with increased evenness!
Conversely, reduced predation pressure from target species could elicit marked
expansion in the populations of their smaller prey species, particularly among the
competitively dominant species. Tropho-dynamics theory suggests that increases in
prey biomass should be approaching an order of magnitude larger than declines in
predator biomass; in terms of abundance, this difference would be even greater.
Thus across the whole community, this marked increase in the apparent dominance
of a few prey species would bring about a reduction in species evenness associated
with fishing disturbance; the process alluded to in several previous studies
(Greenstreet and Hall, 1996; Greenstreet et al., 1999; Greenstreet and Rogers,
2006; Greenstreet et al., in press). But the above hypothesis posits opposing
responses in species evenness to variation in fishing pressure, suggesting that these
metrics should be applied independently to different size classes of fish in the
community, with specific targets set for each size class dependent on their trophic
functional role.
Once again, more multi-species community modelling work is required to provide a
secure basis for setting targets for these indicators. In recent years there has been a
proliferation in the number of such models available, and their development has
become increasingly directed towards addressing such management-related
questions. Within the next year it is quite possible that some of these models could
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be sufficiently developed as to be able to support the target setting process. It is
almost certain that they will be available by 2015 to provide advice in respect of the
measures required to achieve such targets.
The LFI was developed specifically to assess the impact of fishing on the “health” of
the demersal fish community. As such the LFI is perhaps the best metric currently
available to fulfil the indicator role for this Criterion. The use of the LFI to support the
OSPAR EcoQO for fish communities has been fully developed (Greenstreet et al.,
2011; Shephard et al., in press) and we simply adopt the indicator definition and
targets. Since a single indicator for each “fish community” assessed is proposed, the
indicator-level target is de facto the same as the criterion-level target (Table A9-7).
Table A9-7. Indicators and targets proposed for the composition and relative proportions criterion in
respect of demersal fish.
Species type
Situation
Indicator metric
Manage
ment
situation
Indicator
targets
Criterion
target
The “large fish
indicator” (LFI)
“the proportion of
fish (by weight)
exceeding a
specified length
threshold”
Continent
al shelf
and shelfedge
seas
Length thresholds
are dependent on
region/survey/specie
s suite
North Sea threshold
40cm
Celtic Sea threshold
50cm
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LFI >
regional/survey
specified target.
Demersal
assemblage
(but with
specified
species
composition)
North Sea target
0.3
At any
time
Celtic Sea target
0.4
Targets are
dependent on
region/survey/
species suite
Indicator
target
should
be met
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report
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Large fish (by weight)
In the North Sea there is some evidence to suggest that the link between variation in
the LFI and changes in the trophic structure of the food web might not be as tight as
traditional size-based aquatic food web theory might predict. In a heavily fished
region the expected trend towards smaller size was noted, but no change in trophic
level (Nitrogen stable isotope ratio analysis) was observed (Jennings et al., 2002);
large piscivores of one species were replaced by small piscivores of another
species. The use of the LFI as a food web structure (proportion of top predators)
indicator therefore still needs to be properly validated. However, The EC 2010
Decision document explicitly stipulates that the LFI should be used as a Descriptor 4
food web indicator to address Criterion 4.2 - Proportion of selected species at the top
of food webs. Until this validation work is done, this is the proposed course of action.
The indicators and targets are identical to those proposed for Criterion 1.7 Composition and relative proportions of ecosystem components given in Table A9-7.
Abundance trends of functionally important selected groups/species
Although trophic functional groups for fish have been suggested, the actual
assignment of species and size classes to these groups has yet to be carried out.
So while these indicators are conceptually easy to derive, no operation indicators are
currently available. Neither is it clear what the appropriate targets should be. The
fish communities of the North Sea and Celtic Sea have undergone quite profound
changes in composition and structure that these have been described as regime
shifts (Greenstreet et al., 1997; Heath, 2005a; 2005b). The causes of these changes
have been linked to both anthropogenic and climatic factors. Considerable
development is therefore required before this indicator can be made operational and
appropriate targets selected.
Making the species-specific targets operational
Targets suggested for the species-specific indicators considered operational at the
current time are all essentially “trend-based”; the most recent indicator value should
be at a particular level with respect to all other indicator values in the time series.
The problem with such targets is that they do not actually define GES in respect of
each particular indicator. Rather they describe how the indicator should change
under different circumstances and management regimes; whether currently at GES
and managing to conserve this state, or currently below GES and managing to attain
this state. If currently in the latter position, there is no mechanism associated with
each individual indicator to determine when or if GES is actually reached, and the
situation should switch to the former. Choice of target in Tables A9-5 and A9-6 is
dependent on the condition given in the “Management situation” column. However,
nothing linked to the indicators themselves provides any indication as to which
condition currently prevails.
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The LFI is the only indicator proposed so far for the fish component that has an
explicit numeric target value. Implicit in this is the assumption that target values for
the LFI represent GES; if the target for any given region is met then GES for fish in
that region will have been met in respect of this indicator. At the last assessments,
the LFI in the North Sea was 0.22, below the target of 0.3 (Greenstreet et al., 2011)
and the LFI for the Celtic Sea was 0.12, below the target of 0.4 (Shephard et al., in
press). According to the LFI therefore, GES for the fish community in both regions
has yet to be achieved. Consequently, a precautionary approach would be to
assume that, with regard to the species-specific indicators listed in Tables A9-5 and
A9-6 the current management situation is “below GES”, and the corresponding
indicator-level and criterion-level targets should be adopted. If in subsequent
assessments these targets are achieved, this would not mean that the state of the
fish community was necessarily at GES. It would, however, imply that the
management measures introduced to achieve GES were being effective, and were
actually altering the state of the community in the desired direction towards GES.
The corollary to this proposition is that, once the LFI targets are met, GES is
achieved. Targets for the species-specific indicators associated with the
management situation of “at GES”, listed in Tables A9-5 and A9-6 should then be
adopted. This essentially identifies the LFI as the indicator that defines GES for the
broader fish community, but at present there appears little alternative to this.
Interestingly, this means that when LFI targets are reached, values of the speciesspecific indicators that prevail at that time might now reflect actual GES values.
There is some circularity to this argument, but again at present it seems that this
cannot be avoided.
The accompanying North Case study working document that has informed much of
the development of indicators and targets for fish just considers demersal fish
species. Pelagic species (herring, sprat, sandeels, etc) are a major component of
fish communities so this could be considered to represent a major gap. However,
groundfish surveys also sample pelagic species and fisheries management certainly
uses these data to derive abundance indices for species such as herring and sprat.
The shoaling nature of herring and other pelagic species affects sampling
probabilities in a way that differs markedly from the sampling probability of most
demersal species. Two survey trawls in a given ICES rectangle may miss all shoals
of herring in the area, so recording a rectangle density estimate of zero. Conversely,
both trawls might hit herring shoals, thereby recording a density far in excess of the
actual density present in the rectangle. Demersal species do not shoal to the same
extent; they are more evenly distributed so trawl sample densities are generally more
representative of actual local scale density and this issue is less of a concern. This
variability in sampling probability can markedly influence outcomes in studies
applying univariate community metrics to groundfish survey data. Hence, in such
studies, pelagic species have traditionally been excluded from the analysis
(Greenstreet et al., 1999; Greenstreet & Rogers, 2006; Greenstreet et al., 2011).
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However it is a question of variability and scale. In surveys covering whole marine
regions, such as the ICES Q1 IBTS covering most of the North Sea, this sampling
variability evens out; hit the shoals in one rectangle, miss them in the next. At a
regional scale therefore, the overall estimate of density may reasonably well reflect
the actual density of fish across the whole region, but the inter-rectangle variability
will be high. Thus groundfish surveys may well be capable of providing data for
pelagic species to support the species-specific indicators proposed here. However,
while these indicators may be reliable enough at large spatial scales, MSFD subregion scale (e.g. the Greater North Sea), they may be less reliable at smaller spatial
scales.
There is some concern over the issue of indicator redundancy (Greenstreet et al., in
press). For example among the fish indicators for which targets are being proposed,
there is a strong possibility that distribution range, population abundance and
biomass will all be strongly cross-correlated. Should one indicator be selected,
perhaps the one deemed most sensitive to changes in pressure, or the one thought
most comprehensible to a layman audience, or the one where the evidence base
underpinning target setting is most comprehensive? Or should a concept of
“headline” indicators and supporting “tracking” or “surveillance” indicators be
invoked? Or should all of them just be proposed anyway?
Finally there is the issue of indicator compatibility. If in recovering populations of
sensitive k-type species this brings about an increase in large bodied piscivorous fish
in the community, what effect might this have on management capacity to achieve
indicator targets proposed for other ecosystem components? For example,
maintenance of kittiwake chick productivity might be compromised through increased
competition between adult kittiwakes, foraging for fish prey for their chicks, and
increased numbers of piscivorous fish predators in the marine environment.
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Greenstreet, S. P. R., and Piet, G. J. (2008) Assessing the sampling effort required
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Greenstreet, S.P.R., Robinson, L.A., Piet, G.J., Craeymeersch, J., Callaway, R.,
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Goffin, A. (2007) The ecological disturbance caused by fishing in the North Sea. FRS
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Greenstreet, S. P. R., and Rogers, S. I. 2006. Indicators of the health of the North
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northeast Atlantic shelf seas: patterns in fishing effort, diversity and community
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increase in snake pipefish (Entelurus aequoreus) in northern European seas since
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exploited fish community: a consequence of differential fishing effects on species
with contrasting life histories. Journal of Animal Ecology, 68, 617-627.
Jennings, S., Greenstreet, S.P.R., Hill, L., Piet, G.J., Pinnegar & Warr, K.J. (2002)
Long-term trends in the trophic structure of the North Sea fish community: evidence
from stable isotope analysis, size-spectra and community metrics. Marine Biology,
141: 1085-1097.
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Aquatic Production. Columbia University Press, New York.
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Piet, G.J., van Hal, R. & Greenstreet, S.P.R. (2009) Modelling the direct impact of
bottom trawling on the North Sea fish community to derive fishing mortality estimates
of non-target fish species. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 66:1985-1998.
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Fishing effects in northeast Atlantic shelf seas: patterns in fishing effort, diversity and
community structure. IV. Can comparisons of species diversity be used to assess
human impacts on demersal fish faunas? Fisheries Research, 40, 135-152.
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Walker, P.A. & Hislop J.R.G. (1998) Sensitive skates or resilient rays? Spatial and
temporal shifts in ray species composition in the central and northwestern North Sea
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Appendix 10 - Detailed targets and indicators for each biodiversity
descriptor
AMALGAMATED_DAT
A_SHEET_5.xls
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Appendix 11 - CBA spreadsheets of biodiversity targets, pressures
and measures:
pg 206 CBA
appendix11 with HBD
Addendum:
This spreadsheet was submitted to Eftec (working under contract to Cefas) on
03/06/11 as part of the MSFD CBA. Since then, there have been some changes to
the targets of the biodiversity descriptors and the other Descriptors referred to in the
spreadsheet, however, the essence of the targets remains the same.
With regard to costings for additional monitoring of pelagic habitat – these have been
amended but not updated in the spreadsheet – please refer to section 3.3.11 of this
report.
Notes on spreadsheets
1. Criterion Targets (Column E)
These are derived from the amalgamated outputs of the HBDSEG Birmingham
workshop (29th-31st March) and further development at the Kew workshop (4th/5th
May 2011). Each of these targets represents the boundary between achieving GES
and failing to meet GES.
Column F refers to the level of confidence that the proposed criterion target would
equate to GES. Where the confidence in the criterion target equating to GES is low
(i.e. where there is low confidence in the indicator targets underpinning these, and/or
if the underlying data are sparse), the target may need to be set higher in terms of
required state in order to ensure that GES is reached. Determining whether or not
these criterion level targets have been reached (using the aggregated data on the
underlying indicator targets) will ultimately determine whether GES has been
achieved for UK biodiversity under the descriptors 1, 4 and 6.
2. Costs of monitoring progress towards criterion targets
The monitoring costs are also derived from the amalgamated outputs of the
HBDSEG Birmingham and Kew workshops
They represent a summary of the estimated cost of monitoring the indicators
underpinning each criterion.
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We have indicated where existing monitoring will suffice (i.e. no additional cost), and
where additional monitoring or new monitoring schemes are required at medium cost
(<£100k pa) and a high cost (>£100k pa).
These cost categories were originally suggested by the MMO, but HBDSEG has
included more precise cost estimates where possible.
3. Pressure and Impacts
For each biodiversity target, we have identified (in Column J) which MSFD pressures
and impacts will most greatly affect the probability of attaining them (from Table 2
Annex III of the Directive - see worksheet <MSFD Pressures & Impacts>). We
have included only those pressures that are listed as having a high or medium
impacts on the component - see worksheet <Pressures on components> which
was derived from outputs from the Cefas workshop on Measures.
HBDSEG were invited by eftec to make additions to this list of pressures, where
necessary. HBDSEG have assigned a confidence rating for the link between the
listed pressures and the changes in state which would affect achieving the specified
criterion target (Column K).
4. Pressure Targets
For each pressure/impact identified, we have assigned a relevant pressure target(s)
from the Pressure Descriptors (3, 5, 8, 9, 10 and 11) (see current provisional list in
worksheet <Cefas Pressure targets>); where none of these were appropriate, we
have included new pressure targets suggested by the HBDSEG workshop. Where
no pressure targets are appropriate or available from either source, columns L & M
were left blank.
5. Measures
For each target, we have inserted a list of likely management measures that would
help achieve that criteria targets (Column N). The measures list comes from the
Cefas pressures workshop, and is presented in the worksheet <Cefas Measures>.
At eftec’s recommendation, HBDSEG have included additional measures where
there were felt to be gaps. In column O, we have specified the confidence
associated with the effectiveness of the measure(s) to achieve the target. The
confidence rating relates to the ‘suite’ of measures proposed for each pressure,
although HBDSEG has provided further information where confidence ratings vary
significantly within each ‘suite’.
6. Business as Usual (BAU)
In column P, we have assessed whether the criterion targets will be attained by 2020
under a business as usual scenario of measures or whether additional measures
and response monitoring will be required. The BAU scenario was informed by
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Chapter 2 ‘Baseline’ in the ‘ME5405: Cost-Benefit Analysis of MSFD Targets – Draft
Interim Report’. Again, the measures in column N were considered as a ‘suite’.
Column Q refers to additional measures and monitoring required over and above
BAU.
7. Definitions of levels of confidence and uncertainty
The definition of ‘confidence’ is based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (2005).
A level of confidence is used in the IA to describe uncertainty that is based on expert
judgment (in terms of the correctness of an analysis or a statement). Definitions of
the terms used to communicate this are provided in Table A11-1.
Table A11-1. Definition of terms used to communicate confidence in information.
Terminology
Degree of confidence in being correct
Very High confidence
At least 9 out of 10 chance of being correct
High confidence
About 8 out of 10 chance
Medium confidence
About 5 out of 10 chance
Low confidence
About 2 out of 10 chance
Very low confidence
Less than 1 out of 10 chance
8. Key unknowns
The information provided to eftec in this spreadsheet is affected by a series of
‘unknowns’. Specifically, there are uncertainties surrounding:
The UK MPA network:
- Percentage cover of final UK MPA network
- Management measures in final MPA network
- Likely displacement of activities when MPAs are designated - What will be required
over and above the MPA network to protect species and habitats
EU Directives (HD, BD, WFD)
- The alignment of MSFD targets with those in other existing EC Directives
Quality vs quantity
- GES is unlikely to be met uniformly across UK seas. It is anticipated that the status
of some areas may get worse, while others better. GES targets will therefore need
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to take into consideration issues of scale, specifically regarding acceptable
proportions of areas under different condition and their contribution to GES.
Current Status
- For some features/areas, we have little information regarding current state in
relation to the target state.
Overlaps
- In most cases, targets will be achieved through the implementation of multiple
measures. It is challenging to distinguish between the relative importance of each
measure at this stage. There are also significant overlaps/redundancies in relation
to monitoring costs.
Accuracy
- Amalgamation in terms of both within a criterion (i.e. combining indicator targets to
come up with criterion targets) and across biodiversity components (targets applying
to multiple biodiversity components) may significantly affect the accuracy of cost
estimations.
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Appendix 12 - Background information on Baseline
Climate Change
The recent Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) report provides an
up-to-date review of information illustrating the effects of climate change on the
marine environment. This is used here to illustrate the baseline scenario of the
marine environment under current projections of human activity and government
policy regarding climate change. From this basis, and combined with other
projections, it is then possible to understand which descriptors need to be targeted
for the eventual goal of Good Environmental Status.
This section starts by looking at the physico-chemical impacts of climate change,
and then moves on to the implications for ecosystem services and their components
which are generally split between looking at physical and human effects. Discussion
of these points is provided through information compiled at the 2-3 March 2011
Cefas measures workshop.
Physico-Chemical Relationships
These impacts involve the changes in the physical and geographical features and
chemical composition of the marine environment. It is important to note that many of
these display feedback mechanisms which can make the estimation of future states
of the world less accurate, and especially so where there is a distinct lack of certainty
about the extent of initial effects.
A major consequence of climate change has been the increase in air and sea
temperatures in UK waters over the last 25 years. The largest increases have been
observed in the southern North Sea (region 2, as defined in Charting Progress 2),
where air temperatures have risen around 0.6°C per decade, and sea surface
temperatures have risen between 0.6 and 0.8°C. This overall warming trend is
predicted to continue up until the 2080s at a minimum; however, temperature
predictions for a given year, or over a shorter time period, are much less certain as
natural oceanic and atmospheric variability can cause fluctuations around the mean
trend. An example of this is that 2008 UK coastal sea surface temperatures were
lower than the 2003-2007 average.
Increases in global temperatures are causing arctic sea ice to melt, which releases
freshwater into the oceans in the north of the UK. This has an important positive
feedback mechanism, by which reduced ice cover results in increased solar energy
absorbed and therefore increased warming (the ice-albedo effect). The thawing of
permafrost may release significant quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas, into the
atmosphere, further exacerbating the warming of the global climate. These effects
are difficult to accurately predict, but also raise questions surrounding the possibility
of critical thresholds after which rates of global warming increase rapidly.
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The release of freshwater has implications for the level of ocean salinity, although
current observations and predicted future trends do not necessarily match up. As ice
melt increases, salinity is expected to decrease and this is the prediction of models
looking forward; however, the data collected since the 1970s demonstrates a
somewhat mixed picture. Shelf sea and oceanic surface waters to the north and
west (CP2 regions 7 and 8) have shown increases in salinity, CP2 regions 2, 5 and 6
no clear trend, while the deep waters of the north Atlantic decreased in salinity
between 1960 and 2000 but have stabilised since. The long term effects are
primarily dependent on the extent of polar and sea ice melt.
Polar and sea ice melt has also contributed to global sea level rise; between 1955
and 1992, this occurred at an average of 1.8mm per year and since then has
increased to 3mm per year. Measurements of UK sea level rise are consistent with
those made globally and while the trend of increased sea levels is strongly expected
to continue, the level of increase is not agreed. Compared to a 1980 – 1999
baseline, projections of UK sea level rise range from 12 to 76cm by 2095; this
corresponds to yearly rates of increase between 1.2mm and 7.6mm. The relative
increase is expected to be greater in the south (i.e. regions 3 and 4) than the north
(6) as a result of post-glacial rebound.
The Atlantic heat conveyor is the process by which equatorial waters are transported
to higher latitudes in the north Atlantic, contributing to relatively mild winters in the
UK. There is some evidence to suggest that there has been a slowing of the
conveyor during the 1990s and early 2000s, and daily observations began in 2004
which will help to strengthen the evidence base. The IPCC (IPCC, 2007) suggest
that this trend will continue, with a greater than 90% chance that the conveyor will
slow by an average of 25% in comparison to pre-industrial levels over the course of
the 21st century. If these predictions are correct, then this slowdown may offset
some of the warming of the north Atlantic.
In line with the melting of the arctic ice cap, there is evidence that temperature
stratification over the north-western European shelf seas is beginning slightly earlier
each year. Models predict that, by 2100, thermal stratification will begin around 7
days earlier and end between 5 and 10 days later than is currently the case.
The oceans can regulate climate stability, as they remove about 25% of
anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere. As atmospheric
levels of the gas have increased, the volume absorbed into the oceans increases,
which in turn results in the acidification of the oceans. Since 1750, there has been a
30% decrease in surface pH and a 16% decrease in carbonate ion concentrations;
this rate of pH change is faster than anything experienced during the last 55 million
years. While the general trend of acidification is expected to continue – the partial
pressure of carbon dioxide is expected to increase to double its pre-industrial level
by 2050 – there may be limiting effects. As the general level of acidification
increases, the ability of the oceans to absorb yet more carbon dioxide may decrease;
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indeed, this may already be being observed in the north-east Atlantic. Furthermore,
the process is not spatially constant, with some areas absorbing more than average,
and others acting as net emitters.
The rate of coastal erosion is a concern for many UK coastal communities and this
may be a secondary effect of climate change as a result of sea level rise and the
potential for stronger storm and wave systems. The main determinant of coastal
erosion, however, is the local geology of the area, and as such, those areas already
at risk will likely see their rate of erosion increase the most relative to other areas.
The effect of wave and storm systems is uncertain because of large natural
variability in wave climate as well as an unclear anthropogenic influence.
Finally, ocean acidification caused by climate change can increase the distance that
sound can travel underwater22. Climate change will not increase the levels of noise,
but will increase the distances that noise can be heard by marine organisms.
Outputs from the 2-3 March 2011 Cefas measures workshop indicate that the trends
of physico-chemical relationships with climate change are mixed. All physicochemical changes due to climate change that have been considered in the workshop
have been graded as small pressures on the UK marine environment over the next
10-20 years and there is only medium to low confidence in the understanding of
these.
Ecosystem Impacts
Having assessed the physical and chemical impacts that are expected from climate
change, it is now possible to interpret what these mean for the marine ecosystem.
Ecosystem impacts can be heavily interlinked and we can start by looking at the
observations and subsequent implications on food webs.
The increase in sea temperature has had a significant impact on plankton
populations in the North Sea. The total biomass of the previously dominant cold
water species Calanus finmarchicus has declined by 70% since the 1960s, while
many other plankton species have shifted northwards by more than 10 degrees
latitude in the same period. This trend is expected to continue, which in turn will
impact on oxygen production, carbon sequestration and biogeochemical cycling.
The northwards shift has resulted in previously non-native, warmer water plankton
species becoming increasingly prominent in UK waters. These species reproduce at
different times of the year, with some species appearing between 4 and 6 weeks
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earlier than 20 years ago, impacting food webs. Increased acidification is also
thought to affect the reproduction of plankton.
In line with the observations about plankton, distributions of fish have also shifted
northwards. Coldwater species such as monkfish and snake blenny have migrated
up to 400km, while other species have moved into deeper waters at an average rate
of 3.5m per decade. This has been accompanied by an increase in the survival
rates and subsequent incidence of warm-water species, such as sole and sprat, in
UK waters. This trend is set to continue: by 2050, it is estimated that pelagic species
(herring, anchovy) could move northwards by 600km, and demersal species (cod,
haddock) by 220km.
The alteration of the distribution of fish species has implications further up the food
chain. The number of seabirds breeding in the UK in 2008 was 9% lower than in
2000, and the rate of breeding success has also declined. This rate of decline is
greatest amongst surface feeding species, such as the Arctic skua and black-legged
kittiwake, which have seen their prey move into deeper water.
Indeed, models predict that by 2100, UK waters will no longer be able to support
great skua and Arctic skua, while other surface feeding birds such as black
guillemots, common gulls and Arctic terns will only survive in Shetland and the very
northern parts of mainland Scotland. If wave and storm conditions were to worsen in
the future, this would reduce the safe breeding-habitat for shoreline-nesting species
as well as making searching for food more difficult. Mortality rates of both adults and
chicks would increase due to starvation under such a scenario.
Marine mammals are also exhibiting sensitivities to changing sea temperatures as
the distribution of some species shift. Those species that are only able to survive in
specific habitats will be most affected, while the reduced plankton availability will
affect certain baleen whale species. It is important to note that while many of these
effects can be seemingly explained by climate change, other human activities, such
as overfishing, may also be influencing what is outlined above. This is because both
result in prey depletion. As such, the extent of the impacts, particularly on seabirds
and marine mammals, being due to climate change, is uncertain. Direct mortality
through by-catch in fishing gears remains the most important human impact on
cetaceans in UK waters.
Warmer temperatures further east in Europe have encouraged a distributional shift in
overwintering waterbirds (waders and wildfowl), resulting in declining numbers in the
UK. This trend is expected to continue with changes in the Arctic and sub-Arctic
reducing the availability of breeding grounds while increasing predation pressure.
The increased presence of non-native species was touched upon when discussing
plankton but this extends to a much wider range of species. Warmer UK seas have
altered the range of species for which the waters are habitable, and species which
previously struggled to survive are now growing in numbers. Evidence is strong,
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with the introduced Pacific oyster spreading from farms in the early 1990s to self
sustaining populations in Northern Ireland and southern England, while species such
as the bryozoan, Bugula neritina, which had previously only been found in the warm
waters of power station outlets, and red seaweed growing in number. The latter has
spread from Devon in 2004 to Kent in 2009. When combined with acidification, the
full effect of which is unknown on the majority of organisms, UK waters could begin
to favour non-native species over native ones.
Outputs from the 2-3 March 2011 Cefas measures workshop indicate small
pressures on the various species of plankton, with mixed trends and medium
confidence. Fish demonstrate medium to small pressures, again with mixed trends,
but confidence in these assessments is high because of the amount of data held on
fish. Seabirds have small decreasing trends, but only with low confidence, and nonnative species show a moderate increasing trend with medium confidence, while
evidence on marine mammals is lacking.
Habitats
Coastal habitats are affected by sea-level rise, as well as the amount of sediment
being supplied/removed through both natural processes and human activity. This is
exacerbated by the modification of habitats through human activity, which has
rendered them less able to adapt to the effects of climate change. The extent,
quality and distribution of coastal habitats is expected to be affected.
Increasing CO2 levels will also have a detrimental effect on some marine habitats. A
change in the chemical composition of the oceans, or ocean acidification, causes a
reduction in carbonate, the mineral which forms the skeletons and shells of
organisms such as biogenic reef forming animals. Ocean acidification slows down
the ability of coral reefs to grow and maintain their structures. However, due to lack
of clear understanding, it is currently difficult to predict the extent of ocean
acidification due to increased CO2 levels on the resilience of calcified organisms and
their ability to adapt23.
The lack of evidence about processes in deep-sea ecosystems makes an
assessment of the effects of climate change difficult. It is thought that changes in
surface waters could alter the quantity of food being delivered to the sea bed, but
appropriate and accurate models do not exist.
Clean and Safe Seas
A serious implication for human activity is the potential for increased coastal flooding
brought about by sea level rise and increased storm frequency. While rising sea
23
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levels pose the greatest physical risk, increased human activity in areas already
under threat compounds this, meaning that a 40cm rise by 2100 would increase the
number of properties at risk from coastal flooding by 130,000 to a total of 400,000.
Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are routinely observed in UK waters, although their
distribution has been seen to have changed over the past 40 years, presenting a
somewhat mixed picture. While some HABs appear to be decreasing, as evidenced
by the decline in paralytic shellfish poisoning of blue mussels, others are set to
increase. An increased tendency for stratification is thought to encourage the growth
of Karenia mikimotoi, which has been associated with fish kills and benthic
mortalities in coastal waters in south-western England, western Scotland, Orkney
and Shetland. There is also the possibility of non-native HABs moving in, as well as
the potential for some of the physical impacts of climate change to influence the
toxicity of the HABs already present.
Increasing seawater temperature and reduced salinity could increase the instance of
marine vibrios, which can cause seafood related gastro-enteric or septicaemia
illnesses. Although infections are uncommon in the UK, diseases associated with
marine vibrios have increased in parts of Europe in recent years, usually following
periods of above average warm weather. This could indicate that the UK will see
more infections in the future, especially as non-native species of zooplankton that act
as vectors for marine vibrios become more common in UK waters.
While changes in nutrient concentrations in UK waters have been observed, the
causes are not certain. It has been suggested that nutrient concentrations in the sea
are likely to decline if summers become drier, but there is significant uncertainty
around this. Similarly, information surrounding the effects of climate change on the
level of pollutants in UK waters is lacking, although it is generally believed that
drought conditions would reduce the dilution of chemicals while significant storm
periods would increase runoff and overflow: each increase pollutant concentrations.
Commercial Productivity
This section assesses those areas that provide direct economic value through
market goods to the UK.
The evidence about fish is largely reflected in that for fisheries; the locations of large
catches of target species, such as cod, haddock, plaice and sole, have moved over
the past 80 – 90 years, but this may also be in response to fishing activities and
habitat modification. Models predict that cod stocks in the Celtic and Irish seas could
disappear completely by 2100, accompanied by declining numbers in the North Sea.
Climate change has reduced the Maximum Sustainable Yield of cod by about 32,000
tonnes per decade. This is likely to be offset to some degree by increased numbers
of warmer water species, such as sea bass, anchovy, red mullet and squid. The
stock biomass of adult sea bass in the Western Channel has increased from 500
tonnes to 2000 tonnes in the 20 years from 1985.
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The overall effect is that total yield may increase by 2050 (by 1 or 2%), but some
areas, the Irish Sea and English Channel in particular, may see a reduction. This is
likely to have significant implications for fishery-dependent communities, particularly
in the north of Scotland and south-west England. The impact of other physicochemical changes, such as acidification, is unknown, although it is thought that lower
pH levels could represent a threat to the UK shellfish industry.
The short term estimates for aquaculture illustrate that climate change is not
expected to have a significant impact on UK marine farming of fish and shellfish.
However, as water temperatures continue to rise, there are likely to be conflicting
pressures. Growth rates for some species (Atlantic salmon) may increase, while
other (cod and Atlantic halibut) suffer from thermal stress. A potential increase in
non-native species presents both opportunities, in the ability to farm new fish, and
threats, in the form of greater HABs leading to fish kills.
The melting of the Arctic sea ice may reduce sea-based transport times from the UK
to Asia in summer, as the Northern Sea Route is freed up. However, this will come
at the cost of increased vulnerability of ports to flooding due to sea level rise.
Warmer and longer summers are expected to increase tourist visitor numbers,
particularly at the coast. This effect may be compounded by summers becoming
uncomfortable in the Mediterranean, and thus more foreign and national visitors. If
communities are not prepared then a large increase in visitor numbers could be
overwhelming, increasing demand for scarce resources (e.g. freshwater, pollution
assimilation capacity) and leading to environmental degradation. Rising sea levels,
coastal flood and erosion could put some of these communities at risk.
Habitat Types
The incredible wealth of sea life that exists in UK inshore and offshore waters are
influenced by its unique geographical position that encompasses the transition zone
between north-eastern, cold-water communities and south-western, temperate-water
communities found along Western Europe. The exceptional variety of marine
habitats and species that exist along the UK’s 20,000km coastline and within the
710,100 square kilometres of its sea and seabed, which descends to depths in
excess of 2,000m over the UK continental shelf are affected by increasing human
pressures that over the time can significantly alter and change habitat types24.
A habitat is defined as the physical and environmental conditions (e.g. the seabed
substratum and associated hydrographical and chemical conditions) that support a
24
http://www.wwf.org.uk/filelibrary/pdf/marinehotspots.pdf
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particular biological community (adapted from Connor et al. 1997)25. Each species
tends to live within a certain environmental range depending on their preferences for
several environmental factors. It is this that gives us the large number of different
habitats within the marine environment. The UK marine habitats can be described at
a complex habitat level that is comprised more specifically of defined biotopes.
However, in this exercise we assess the UK marine environment at a more generic
habitat level which mainly considers the type of substratum and the depth of
occurrence. In the second assessment of the state of the UK marine environment,
Charting Progress 2, the distribution of six broad habitat types based on substratum
were mapped throughout UK waters: intertidal rock, intertidal sediments, sub-tidal
rock, shallow sub-tidal sediments, shelf sub-tidal sediments and deep sea habitats.
Much of the assessment of benthic habitat types is derived from survey data or from
modelling with exceptions where data is incomplete, or unavailable, expert
judgement is employed to finalise the overall picture of habitats26.
Intertidal Rock
Intertidal rocky habitats occur across all UK seas. The majority of these habitats are
in good environmental condition with minor adverse impacts from harvesting and
random occurrence of non-native species.
Inter-tidal Sediments
Inter-tidal sediments form extensive beaches, sandbanks, salt-marshes and muddy
shorelines along the south-eastern and north-western coasts of England and parts of
Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland also have long stretches of such intertidal
sediments, interspersed with rocky promontories and headlands. These areas are
significantly damaged or altered by anthropogenic factors across the UK seas with
the exception of northern and western Scotland. The main factors include
construction of coastal defences, release of hazardous substances, nutrient
enrichment and non-native species.
Sub-tidal Rock
Sub-tidal rock mainly occurs in Scottish waters. The majority of sub-tidal rock
habitats have been permanently damaged or removed by mobile fishing gears such
as bottom trawls that have a particular impact on fragile habitats such as biogenic
reefs.
Shallow and Shelf Sub-tidal Sediments
Shallow and shelf sub-tidal sediments are predominant types of habitat across the
UK seas. Large areas of the UK inshore seabed are covered by shallow sub-tidal
25
26
TG1 interim report, 2010
http://chartingprogress.defra.gov.uk/
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sediments with widespread offshore extensions into the Irish Sea, the Eastern
Channel and the Southern North Sea. Shallow sub-tidal sediments could also be
found in lagoon areas with dominance in southern England and western Scotland.
The larger proportions of UK offshore areas are represented by shelf sub-tidal
sediments that are, to a certain extent, equally distributed across UK waters.
These areas have mainly been adversely affected by mobile fishing gears. The
extraction of aggregates has also affected these types of habitats, but only in certain
local areas rather than across the region.
Deep Sea Habitats
Deep sea habitats occur below 200m. In UK regions this condition mainly holds in
the North and West of Scotland and West of Rockall with minor areas in south-west
Celtic Sea. Most of the deep sea habitats consist of sediment habitats with smaller
amounts of rocky habitats or reefs that are largely confined to seamounts. Similar to
other habitat types presented above, deep sea habitats are adversely affected by
mobile fishing gears, which represent the main pressure to habitats.
Economic Baseline
There is no doubt that climate change is one of the main drivers of habitat changes
as mentioned in the previous section. In addition to climate change, a number of
other factors affect the abundance and distribution of habitats across UK waters with
fishing being a major non-climate change anthropogenic factor.
In the 2-3 March 2011 Cefas measures workshop, experts confirmed that mobile
fisheries exert the highest level of pressure on seabed habitats across UK subregional seas. However, there is some recoverability to habitats that have been
impacted by mobile or static gears, and recoverability is expected to increase with
forthcoming MCZs and changes to the CFP. As a result there is a small
improvement projected in some benthic habitats under a BAU scenario. It should be
noted that while MCZs will reduce pressures within certain areas, overall pressure
alleviation may not be achieved by this means alone due to potential displacement of
fishing to different areas or switching between different types of fishing gears.
Physico-chemical components
The physico-chemical components of the marine environment are
topography/bathymetry, temperature, salinity, nutrients, oxygen, pH, pCO2 and
chemicals, and several of these components support the basic processes which
occur in the marine environment. Topography refers to the (study of the) features of
the seabed while bathymetry refers to the (study of the) depth of the ocean floor
relative to the surface of the water.
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Seawater temperature is dependent on length of time of exposure to the sun and on
depth. Annual mean sea surface temperature in the UK coast from 1961-1990 is
11.3 degrees Celsius27. Seawater temperature also affects the levels of dissolved
oxygen in the water; warmer waters tend to have lower oxygen levels than temperate
waters. Changes in temperature affect several marine organisms. There are some
species, such as cod, that prefer colder temperatures and move out of UK waters if
the temperature of their habitat increases. This means that a change in temperature
may result in a change in the composition of the organisms that live in a certain area
of the marine environment, therefore affecting biodiversity, food webs, and the
species that are caught by commercial fishing.
Salinity refers to the dissolved salt content in seawater. There are natural variations
in salinity levels due to evaporation and precipitation, but it is usually 35 parts per
thousand. Changes in salinity will affect many marine organisms, especially those
that cannot regulate the levels of salt in their bodies. Additionally, salinity affects the
level of dissolved oxygen in the water; an increase in salinity will decrease dissolved
oxygen. This means that changes in salinity will change the composition of the
marine ecosystem, especially food webs and biodiversity.
Nutrients naturally occur in the marine environment and they support the growth of
phytoplankton, which in turn supports the food web; thus essential in maintaining the
productivity of the marine environment. Changes in the levels of nutrients depend on
natural (e.g. decomposed matter, animal faecal matter) and man-made factors (e.g.
agricultural run-offs, sewage). Increases in levels of nutrients will increase the
growth of plants and algae. Excessive algae and plant growth can result in
decreases in levels of oxygen in the marine environment (hypoxia) and affect water
and habitat quality. This can result in fish kills and the decrease in the quality of
bathing water in beaches (and rivers and lakes).
Oxygen is needed by almost all living organisms in the marine environment, and is
therefore essential in supporting life in oceans. Oxygen is introduced into the marine
environment via gaseous exchanges across the air-sea surface, and also through
photosynthesis (of algae and other aquatic plants)28. Changes in temperature and
salinity are the main drivers of the changes in levels of dissolved oxygen. Changes
in oxygen have direct and indirect effects on organisms in the marine environment.
The direct effects of reduced oxygen levels are death, hypoxia and anoxia (an
extreme form of hypoxia), and the release of nutrients, while indirect effects include
degradation of the ecosystem.
27
28
http://ukclimateprojections.defra.gov.uk/content/view/757/9/
http://www.ukmarinesac.org.uk/activities/water-quality/wq9_5.htm
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The pH of the seawater determines its acidity (pH less than 7 is acidic) while pC02,
or the partial pressure of carbon dioxide, affects its acidity (increased pC02
increases acidity). Generally, seawater has a level pH in the range of 7.5 to 8.5. An
increase in the acidity of seawater will kill marine life and corrode organisms such as
corals and molluscs. Additionally, underwater sound can be heard by marine
organisms over longer distances if seawater is more acidic29. This means that
biodiversity is highly affected by ocean acidification.
Most of the chemicals in the marine environment are introduced by human and
sectoral activities resulting in pollution and contamination effects. For example,
PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), which have been commonly used as insulators for
transformers and capacitors, result in reproductive and immunity impairment in
marine mammals, seabirds and fish30. Chemicals in the marine environment affect
the food web and adverse effects are compounding (i.e. more chemicals deposited
in organisms that are higher up in the food chain); chemicals have an adverse effect
not only on marine organisms but on consumers of seafood as well.
Physico-chemical components under a business-as-usual scenario
Identifying the changes in these components in UK waters under a business-asusual scenario is best done at local and smaller spatial scales in order to identify
hotspots or prominent problem areas. However, during the 2-3 March 2011 Cefas
measures workshop, the physico-chemical group has made the BAU scenario
assessment on the changes in these components on a UK-wide level. They have
identified that the most common pressures that lead to changes in these
components are physical loss and damage, contamination of hazardous substances,
systematic and/or intentional release of substances, and nutrient and organic matter
enrichment.
Since topography is related to the seabed, this component is mostly affected by
physical loss and damage due to the use of mobile fishing gear, offshore large scale
construction (including of renewable energy) and navigational and aggregate
dredging. On the other hand, the rest of the components are largely affected by the
pressures of contamination of hazardous substances, systematic and/or intentional
release of substances, and nutrient and organic matter enrichment. These
pressures result from activities which generate diffuse or point source pollution,
which, when reaching the marine environment, result in adverse effects such as
29
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (2008), ‘Sounds Travel Farther Underwater As World's Oceans
Become More Acidic’, in ScienceDaily, accessed online <http://www.sciencedaily.com
/releases/2008/09/080929144116.htm> on March 24, 2011
30
Law, R. et al, (2010), Marine Strategy Framework Directive Task Group 8 Report: Contamination and Pollution
effects, a report prepared for the European Commission Joint Research Council and DG Environment, no.
31210-2009/2010.
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eutrophication, pollution and contamination. The sectors which mostly contribute to
these pressures are land-based industry (e.g. emissions from land transport),
(finfish) aquaculture, agriculture and waste water treatment.
Members of the physico-chemical group of the 2-3 March 2011 Cefas measures
workshop have identified that there will be no or very small changes to these
components in 2020 due to sectoral activities under a business-as-usual scenario.
Evidence from Charting Progress 2 has shown that the open seas are generally not
affected by pollution and levels of (monitored) contaminants have significantly
decreased. However, it should be noted that there are still some hotspots around
the UK with these problems. The establishment of Marine Conservation Zones will
also protect sensitive areas of the seabed from further physical loss and damage.
Even though there will be growth in the sectors that exert pressures on these
components, current legislation (e.g. the Water Framework Directive) and licensing
of marine activities, effectively address and reduce these pressures. However, it has
to be pointed out that climate change strongly affects the physico-chemical
components, therefore changes to these components in the medium to long term
may be mainly due to climate change.
Biological Features
The Biological Features of the UK marine environment are highly diverse and
complex. To aid analysis of their baseline condition they have been subdivided into
two groups:


Concerned with 5 components: marine mammals, marine reptiles, fish
(commercial and non-commercial) and seabirds—Biological Features Group
A.
Concerned with 4 components: bottom flora and fauna, non-indigenous
species, phyto- and zooplankton and commercial shellfish—Biological
Features Group B.
The following points have emerged as significant issues with regards to changes in
the biological features in the UK:
 UK waters becoming more hospitable for NIS. Changes in temperature (and
other conditions) allow non-indigenous species to survive and establish in
areas they otherwise cannot. Trend is increasing and expected to continue,
and may pose risks to indigenous species.
 Sectoral activities contribute to changes in temperature (e.g. through the
release of CO2), but significant changes are due to global variables.
 Pressures on physico-chemical components that occur locally are unlikely to
cause the establishment of NIS in UK waters.
 Possibly also through increased development offshore change in benthic
habitat – allowing for ‘stepping stone effect’.
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Biological Features Group A
For marine mammals, five species are at favourable conservation status; therefore,
the trend is likely to be stable31. However, future changes in their supply of food and
other pressures may have adverse effects on their population.
Fisheries, both mobile and static, are major contributors to pressures on marine
mammals. By-catch is the single biggest threat to cetaceans in UK waters. The
extraction of certain species, and the levels of associated by-catch, can have
significant effects on food webs for marine mammals, making it harder to get food
and thus increasing competition. Fisheries also contribute to marine litter which
creates problems for marine mammals (e.g. entanglement, ingestion). Confidence in
the significance of the contribution of fisheries is high because of the amount of data
that exists regarding the industry.
Offshore renewable energy and transport and shipping, both generate pressures on
marine mammals through underwater noise and collisions, as well as independently
contributing to barriers to species movement and marine litter, respectively. These
are assessed as medium to high contributions to the overall pressures involved but
confidence in the assessment of offshore renewables is low because it is a relatively
new industry. Similarly, carbon capture and storage may have an impact on
underwater noise, as well as contamination and changes in salinity, but the relative
youth of the industry means that, although its contribution is thought to be small,
there is low confidence in the assessment. Other energy industries, such as oil and
gas, also contribute to the pressures of underwater noise and contamination, with
the potential to introduce marine litter, but pressures are only low to medium, with
medium confidence. Land based industry is a medium contributor to contamination,
and there is medium confidence in this assessment.
Other pressures arise from marine litter (aquaculture and tourism), underwater noise
(military) and physical damage / disturbance (military and tourism). Impacts from
these are either unknown or classed as low; however, the classified nature of
information on military activity makes a true assessment of their impacts extremely
difficult. It is possible that explosions and sonar have a greater impact that can be
confidently stated.
Information is also lacking surrounding the status of marine reptiles, which prevents
the assessment of an overall trend. This is not of particular concern, however,
because only a very small percentage of the world’s marine reptile population reside
in UK waters. Due to this, the contribution of sectors to pressures on marine reptiles,
31
Eunice Pinn, JNCC, personal communication, June 2011.
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particularly marine litter and contamination, are thought to be low, but low confidence
is held in these assessments.
The overall trend of commercial fish stocks is of small increases, although it must be
noted that this is in the context of a significant historical decline. Indeed, the
pressures associated are distinctly negative in nature; fisheries, both mobile and
static, are strong contributors to the extraction of fish, while tourism and recreational
activities make a medium contribution (although this is largely related to recreational
sea anglers, and so the stock affected will be very specific, and not applicable to the
overall biomass of fish). Confidence in these assessments is high to medium
because of the strong data regarding the industries. Other pressures include
underwater noise and physical damage from offshore renewables, nutrient
enrichment from agriculture and biological disturbance through the spreading of
disease or genetic contamination from aquaculture. These pressures are small,
however, and the confidence held in them is medium to high; fisheries are of the
greatest concern.
As with commercial fish stocks, non-commercial fish stocks are also showing a small
increasing trend despite pressures that may indicate to the contrary. Fisheries result
in the removal of some species, with mobile fisheries contributing more than static
fisheries (which only have a small impact). Confidence in both these assessments is
high. Other pressures are similar to commercial fish stocks, including underwater
noise and physical damage from offshore renewables and nutrient and organic
matter enrichment from agriculture; however, these are assumed to have small
impacts.
Seabirds exhibit a, small, decreasing overall trend, with the major contributor being
fisheries. As with their effect on marine mammals, fisheries reduce the availability of
prey, increasing competition for food, but they are also affected by the levels of bycatch through the use of gillnets and the amount of discarding. Other pressures are
low to medium; these include marine litter (land-based industry, tourism and
transport and shipping) and contamination (land-based industry) as well as visual
presence (tourism) which could affect the breeding habits of seabirds. Confidence in
these assessments is low to medium. The military may also have impacts on
breeding through physical disturbance but the overall contribution is thought to be
low.
It is important that the conclusions from these snapshot assessments are considered
alongside other factors, with climate change likely to have a significant effect.
Biological Features B
The 2-3 March 2011 Cefas measures workshop group ranked the contribution of
sectors to pressures on these components from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest); in this
section we will focus on those sectors that scored 3 or higher. The pressures on
bottom flora and fauna have been classified as medium to large, but the overall trend
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direction was not specified. This is because they appear to exhibit short term
improvements in the face of a longer term decline. The major contributory sector is
mobile fisheries (ranked 5), with a number of pressures resulting from it, namely:
smothering, physical change to another seabed type, abrasion/physical disturbance,
selective extraction of habitats, collisions, changes in siltation, changes in turbidity,
underwater noise, marine litter, the introduction of synthetic and non-synthetic
compounds and the introduction of non-indigenous species.
Coastal infrastructure and offshore renewable energy were both ranked 4, with their
shared pressures being smothering, physical change to another seabed type,
substrate loss and the introduction of synthetic compounds. Additional to this were
the introduction of non-synthetic compounds for coastal infrastructure;
abrasion/physical disturbance; changes in siltation, the water flow rate, turbidity and
wave exposure; underwater noise; barrier to species movements and the
introduction of non-indigenous species through offshore renewable energy. Other
sectors of note are static fisheries and land-based industry (3); shared pressures
between these two are marine litter and the introduction of microbial pathogens.
Static fisheries also contribute to abrasion/physical disturbance and selective
extraction of habitats as a result of lost fishing gear, and to collisions, changes in
water flow rate and inputs of organic matter. Land based industry plays a role in the
introduction of synthetic and non-synthetic compounds, the introduction of other
substances (solid liquid or gas) resulting from their systematic release into the
marine environment, and changes in siltation and turbidity.
Aquaculture and transport and shipping (5) were ranked as the most significant
contributors to the introduction of non-indigenous species, which exhibit a medium,
increasing trend overall. Other important sectors were noted as tourism and
recreation (4) and offshore renewable energy and coastal infrastructure (3). The
individual pressures were not noted.
The group noted a small to medium score for the overall trend of phyto- and zooplankton, but did not identify a trend direction due to the large natural variations that
affect it. The most significant sectors were thought to be agriculture (5) and coastal
infrastructure (4), while the only other sectors to rank higher than 1 were fisheries
(mobile), oil and gas, and offshore renewable energy (2).
Commercial shellfish was not given a trend direction for the same reason as bottom
flora and fauna, and was scored small. Both mobile and static fisheries sectors
scored 5; shared pressures between the two are abrasion/physical disturbance,
selective extraction of habitats, collisions, marine litter and the selective extraction of
species (including by-catch). Static fisheries also contribute to changes in water flow
rate, inputs of organic matter and the introduction of microbial pathogens, while
mobile fisheries influence smothering, the physical change to seabed types, changes
in siltation and turbidity, underwater noise, the introduction of synthetic and nonsynthetic compounds and the introduction of non-indigenous species.
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Aquaculture is the only other significant sector, contributing to pressures such as
smothering, physical change to seabed types, abrasion/physical disturbance,
selective extraction of habitats, changes in water flow rate, turbidity and wave
exposure, underwater noise, marine litter, barrier to species movement, the
introduction of synthetic and non-synthetic compounds, inputs of organic matter, the
introduction of microbial pathogens and non-indigenous species, and the selective
extraction of species including by-catch.
The 2-3 March 2011 Cefas measures workshop group concluded that the main
sectors impacting the group of ecosystem components in the Biological Features ‘B’
baseline set were fisheries, offshore renewables, aquaculture and land basedindustries with the pressures of physical loss and damage, contamination by
hazardous substances and the introduction of non-indigenous species. An
extremely important thing to note is that the effects on phyto- and zoo-plankton and
non-indigenous species are mostly affected by climate change rather than individual
sectors; this has implications for the measures targeting these ecosystem
components.
Comparison between baselines
Table A12-1 presents the similarities and differences in the baselines for each
descriptor used in this project and a parallel project by ABPmer.
Table A12-1. Comparison between baselines 1
Descriptors of
GES
D1 Biodiversity
Consistency between this report and BAU project baseline
Level
Good
D2 - Nonindigenous
species
D3 Commercial
fish and
shellfish
Complete
D4 - Food webs
Good
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Good
Main Assumptions
The influence of the most
significant pressures on
biodiversity descriptor status by
2020, such as fisheries catch
and by-catch, physical abrasion,
underwater noise disturbance,
infrastructure presence, are
recognised.
The issues presented by nonindigenous species are likely to
be a significant problem.
It is assumed the CFP remains
a main mechanism to improve
fish stocks; however the MFSD
will act as an international driver
to strengthen the final outcome
of the CFP Reform process.
Climate change is identified as a
main driver of many changes in
the composition and distribution
of plankton with likely impact on
food web.
Differences
BAU puts a specific emphasis
on the assessment of habitats,
concluding that there is likely
to be an improvement in
benthic habitats due to
reduction in demersal fishing
activity that is recognized in
descriptor 6 baseline.
BAU project develops three
CFP scenarios: a best-case,
middle-case and worse-case
scenarios. BAU project takes
into account highly protected
‘Reference Sites’ of MCZs.
This report does not, but it is
estimated these sites will only
occupy less than 0.5% of UK
marine waters, so this is not a
major inconsistency.
BAU report considers likely
positive or negative changes,
i.e. of the proportion of large
fish that could be driven by
designation of MCZs and
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report
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Descriptors of
GES
Consistency between this report and BAU project baseline
Level
Main Assumptions
Current management measures
are likely to be sufficient to
ensure improvement in
remaining areas of concern by
2020.
Some improvements to habitats
are expected within protected
areas
D5 Eutrophication
Complete
D6 - Sea floor
integrity
Good
D7 –
Hydrographical
conditions
Moderate
Current regulatory regimes (EIA.
SEA, Hab & Birds Directive,
WFD, licensing and planning)
are able, and will continue, to
ensure significant negative
impacts on hydrographical
conditions are prevented.
D8 Contaminants
Complete
D9 Contaminants
in fish and
shellfish
Good
Existing legislation is effectively
addressing problems of
contaminants (of chemicals),
which are unlikely to result in
failure to meet GES.
Improvements in environmental
state by 2020 due to effective
implementation of existing
legislation (as per D8)
D10 - Marine
litter
Complete
D11 Underwater
noise
Complete
Litter will continue to be a
problem accumulating in coastal
areas and in the water column.
Noise in the UK marine
environment is expected to
increase as a result of
increasing use of acoustic
survey by marine activities, such
as construction of marine
renewables (e.g. wind farms).
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Differences
reforms in CFP, this report
does not.
This report considers the
energy flow through
ecosystem food chains that is
being affected through the loss
of habitats, BAU report does
not.
This report recognises some
potential risk to benthic
communities through climate
change and topography
changes in specific sites that
are not mentioned in BAU
report.
Tidal barrage technology is a
major cause of change in
hydrographical conditions in
the BAU report. This report
assumes that tidal barrage
technology is not advanced
enough to be deployed at a
commercial scale by 2020.
This report recognises
possible risk of human vibrios
in UK waters through physicchemical pressures as a result
of climate change.
The BAU future scenario for
renewable construction makes
assumptions about rates of
build from the global offshore
wind farm database. These
have been considered over
ambitious by the Crown
Estate, who have provided
other data to support the
ME5405 D11 targets.
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Appendix 13 - Analysis of Impacts of Potential Management
Measures
This section considers the impacts of potential measures to achieve the proposed
targets for MSFD descriptors. It mainly considers the costs of potential measures,
the confidence of the relevance of these measures (i.e. on whether there is a need to
apply the measure in the UK) and of the estimates of the costs, and potential
benefits are discussed. For the descriptors, the analysis firstly covers measures
under broad headings, based on the pressures on the marine environment as
categorised at the 2-3 March 2011 Cefas measures workshop:





Physical Loss and Damage to the Seabed;
Other Physical Disturbance;
Interference with Hydrographical Processes;
Adverse By-products from Human Activities, and
Biological Disturbance.
However, within the categories relating to the physical loss and damage to the
seabed, and biological disturbance, measures to manage adverse impacts from
fisheries on the marine environment are significant. These measures must be
considered collectively, not least due to their potential collective impacts. Therefore,
a final category of impact is examined, relating to controls on fisheries, which
includes several biological disturbance measures, and several of those relating to
the seabed. This category is not only relevant to descriptor 3 (commercial fisheries),
as there are strong links between these measures and many other descriptors.
The focus of the analysis is on the nature of management measures and the
additional costs of individual measures in the other groups are then discussed. The
analysis also considers the enforcement and ‘information’ costs associated with each
potential measure, and the potential benefits from measures, although information
on benefits is very limited. The costs reported are in 2011 prices.
The analysis of costs and benefits of measures is guided by the process laid out in
The Handbook (eftec & Cefas, 2011), produced as part of this Defra project
(ME5405) supporting the UK’s overall implementation of the Directive. The
Handbook is based on the application of cost-benefit analysis and related techniques
to specific clauses of the Directive, like cost-effectiveness analysis of measures, and
assessment of disproportionate costs.
The guidance on analysis of costs and benefits in The Handbook is organised
around nine steps:
1. Establishing the objective
2. Defining the baseline
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3. Defining the options (i.e. measures or combinations of measures) being
analysed
4. Assessing the impacts of these options on marine activities and ecosystems
5. Computing a monetary valuation of the costs and benefits
6. Comparing the costs and benefits
7. Considering the distributional impacts
8. Sensitivity analysis
9. Reporting
For the measures considered below, the objectives (Step 1) are the targets currently
being developed under the MSFD descriptors and indicators. The baseline (Step 2)
is summarised in Section 4.3, and described in more detail in Appendix 12. The
analysis of individual measures in this section generally covers Steps 3 to 7.
However, not all the steps are complete at this stage.


Analysis of the benefits (e.g. under Step 6) is not presented for each
measure. Benefits to the marine environment are considered separately due
to the difficulties applying the evidence base to individual policy options.
Some sensitivity analysis is included, but further sensitivity analysis will need
to be undertaken subsequently, in particular when combinations of measures
are considered.
The analysis of individual measures under the descriptors enables the consideration
of possible combinations of measures, as required by the Directive. This is done
through systematic analysis of the individual measures analysed, in Section 4.4.
1. Physical Loss and Damage to the Seabed
Fisheries management measures are a key part of the potential measures available
in relation to this pressure on the marine environment. These are further analysed
later in this Appendix.
1.1 Non-fisheries Measures Re: Seabed Impacts
The main descriptors that are relevant to this set of pressures are D6 - Sea floor
integrity and D7 – Hydrographical conditions. They also have relevance to other
descriptors, such as D1 - Biodiversity and D4 - Food webs.
Spatio-temporal restrictions on marine aggregate dredging
Sand and gravel from marine aggregate mining activities contribute a significant
proportion of raw materials to the UK construction industry. In 2009, 1,286 km2 of
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UK seabed was licensed to be dredged, but only 123.6km2 was actually used,
producing 20.10 million tonnes of sand and gravel32. After a successful aggregate
dredging tender, companies must apply for a Dredging Permission (DP) which
includes a submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and a Coastal
Impact Study. If a favourable DP is obtained then an application to The Crown
Estate for a production license can be made33.
There are existing seasonal restrictions on when aggregate dredging is allowed, but
this is mainly for safety reasons and not for environmental reasons. The results of
an EIA can also recommend seasonal restrictions. This means that there will be no
additional costs due to this management measure
Costs: Currently, the areas of the UK seabed that are being dredged to extract
minerals are in the regions of the Humber, the East Coast, the Thames estuary, the
East English Channel, the South Coast, the South West and the North West, and
these are equivalent to Regions 2 to 5 in the UKMMAS definition of the UK regional
seas. Already, there are extensive restrictions on the areas that can be used to
extract minerals (i.e. marine aggregate companies cannot just dredge wherever they
want to), and an EIA is required in order to assess the status of the seabed and the
impacts of extraction to it and to its benthic community. This means that the
management measure of further spatial restrictions (i.e. current areas licensed for
dredging will be decreased) may be unlikely, especially because the availability of
sand and gravel extracted from land sources are decreasing34. A temporal
restriction may also be put in place, and this could be through restricting the length of
the license (with the operational stage currently up to 15 years), or restricting the
time of the year wherein aggregate extraction can take place. If this were to be put
in place, then the cost to aggregate companies in restricting the length of the license
is the cost of renewing a license or applying for a new one. However, this may also
mean that the intensity of the activity will increase during the licensed period in order
to avoid costs involved in extending or renewing the license. If a restriction is put in
place on the time of the year wherein aggregates extraction is allowed, this can also
result in the intensity of the activity increasing during the allowed time. However,
there are existing seasonal restrictions on when aggregate dredging is allowed, but
this is mainly for safety reasons. The results of an EIA requires seasonal
restrictions. This means that there will be no additional costs due to this
management measure.
32
33
34
http://www.bmapa.org/downloads/BMAPA_12th_Ann_Report.pdf
http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/marine_aggregates#licences
http://www.bgs.ac.uk/downloads/start.cfm?id=1371
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The Marine Management Organisation (MMO), Marine Scotland, the Welsh
Government and the Environment and Heritage Service in Northern Ireland (but
there are no areas being extracted for minerals in Scotland and Northern Ireland35)
are the authorities responsible for monitoring and regulating the marine aggregate
industry.
Spatio-temporal restrictions on navigational dredging
Navigational dredging is used to develop ports and harbours and to create or
maintain channels or berths used for navigation. The greatest dredging activities
around the UK occur in the busiest ports such as Felixstowe, Hull and the Mersey
Estuary, and from 2003-2005, a total of 102 sites have been dredged for navigational
purposes, 21 of these with an area greater than 100,000 metres squared36. A
license needs to be obtained before any navigational dredging activities can take
place, and these are issued by the relevant port authority. On the other hand, the
license to dispose the dredged material is licensed by the MMO, Marine Scotland,
the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Government.
Costs: Navigational dredging usually occurs in areas near to ports, harbours and
marinas, and are usually consented or licensed by the local port authority. Any
restrictions on this activity will be implemented all over the UK. There are several
existing regulations such as the Water Framework Directive and the Habitats
Directive that cover navigational dredging activities (including the disposal of the
dredged material), but these regulations do not impose any specific spatial
restrictions. If spatial restrictions are to be put in place, then this could have adverse
effects such as damage to vessels and equipment on the users of areas that are
periodically dredged for navigational purposes but the most significant economic
costs will be borne by users of the ports who are not able to enter the port (e.g. costs
incurred by vessels that are not able to land their cargo). This means that a
temporal restriction, otherwise known as an “environmental window” may be a more
viable option. Some port authorities, such as the Port of London Authority already
impose seasonal restrictions on navigational dredging, subject to information or data
gathered from environmental impact assessments37. This means that there will be
no or very small additional costs due to this measure (seasonal restrictions).
Spatial restrictions on areas where cables and pipelines are laid
There are undersea telecommunications and power cables in all of the UK waters38,
and most of them are buried, but some are exposed and covered with a protective
35
36
37
38
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/295194/0108027.pdf
http://qsr2010.ospar.org/media/assessments/p00366_Dredging.pdf
http://www.pla.co.uk/pdfs/pe/Maintenance_Dredging_Brochure.pdf
http://qsr2010.ospar.org/en/media/chapter_pdf/QSR_Ch09_EN.pdf
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material. As for pipelines that carry materials (mostly oil and gas), they are found in
the Northern and Southern North Sea, the Irish Sea and the Scottish Continental
Shelf (regions 1, 2, 5 and 7)39. The laying of pipelines within UK territorial waters
requires a license unless these are required to be laid in response to an emergency
or for repair works40. On the other hand, the laying of cables does not require an EIA
unless the work is large enough or going to be done in a sensitive location.41
Consent from The Crown Estate is required for cables and pipelines that cross the
seabed within 12 nautical miles of the UK coastline since these may affect aggregate
dredging and the construction of offshore wind farms.
Costs: DECC, the MMO, Marine Scotland, the Welsh Government and DOENI issue
licenses for the laying of cables and pipelines. As for the industry, the costs will be
due to changes in construction times and the length of cables/pipelines used.
However, prior planning can minimise these costs.
Relevance of measure and of costs: Marine planning, under the Marine and Coastal
Access Act 2009 and the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, will cover potential restrictions
on where cables and pipelines can be laid. However, the marine licensing process
will contain the detailed decision of these restrictions according to each license
application.
2. Other Physical Disturbance
The descriptors that are relevant to this category are D10 - Marine litter and D11 Underwater noise. These two descriptors represent two fairly distinct pressures on
the marine environment without the numerous interactions that complicate analysis
of potential measures in relation to some other descriptors. Potential management
measures for these two descriptors are described separately below. The measures
involve a wide range of different potential actions, including changes in consumer
behaviour, voluntary agreements, introduction of charges on a per activity basis,
one-off investments and changes in daily business practices.
2.1 Potential Management Measures to Address Marine Litter
The proposed measures tackle the problems of existing levels of marine litter (e.g.
fishing for litter, beach cleaning), the sources of marine litter (e.g. reducing combined
sewerage overflows), or sometimes both (e.g. beach litter collection facilities).
39
40
41
http://chartingprogress.defra.gov.uk/feeder/Section_3.10_Pipelines.pdf
http://marinemanagement.org.uk/licensing/marine/activities/cables.htm
Holly Niner, JNCC, personal communication, June 2011.
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Some of the measures that tackle the sources of marine litter relate to options for
management of materials and waste throughout society. They are included here
because they can potentially make a contribution to marine litter in relation to the
MSFD. However, detailed analysis of their wider costs and benefits, involving issues
such as materials flows in the economy and terrestrial litter problems, will be needed
for decision makers to assess their desirability as policy options.
The 2-3 March 2011 Cefas measures workshop acknowledged that for marine litter
individual measures have medium impact. However, if measures are implemented
together, then the impact of these management measures could be large. An
important point was made that a coherent and practical strategy for marine litter has
to be developed in order to coordinate all measures taken against marine litter and
ensure that maximum effect is to be achieved. There is a significant economic
impact associated with marine litter and it affects a number of key industries that
depend on the status of the marine environment.
Fishing for litter scheme
This management measure aims to improve the fishing industry’s management
practices for the waste they ‘catch’ and thus reduce the amount of marine litter in UK
seas by physically removing it. The vessels that participate within this scheme are
provided with hardwearing bags where they can deposit the collected litter whilst
performing their normal fishing duties. Full bags are deposited on the quayside
where the participating harbours move the bag to a dedicated skip for disposal.
This potential measure relates to all types of litter that might be retrieved from the
marine environment during fisheries activity. However, it would only be expected to
have a small effect on achieving GES for marine litter.
Costs: Fishing for litter scheme costs are mainly the cost of provision of bags, skip
rental and further waste management. It is estimated that a 3 year project of Fishing
for Litter Scheme in Scotland would cost approximately £315,450 (Tom Piper, KIMO,
personal communication, January 2011). The project aims to maintain coverage in
the 17 harbours and to include 300 boats in the scheme. As approximately a third of
the UK’s fishing vessels are registered in Scotland (Irwin & Thomas 2009), assuming
similar costs across the fleet, a 3 year UK scheme could cost approximately
£950,000 with proportionally increased coverage and number of boats. Costs could
affect ports and local authorities, and possibly regulators. This measure would also
create small costs for fishermen in terms of extra time needed to store the litter on
board and unload it at quayside. It may also have cost implications by taking up
space in fishing vessels.
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Relevance of measure and of costs: This management measure is currently being
trialled in the UK (in Scotland and in the South West of England), and some fishers
who participate in this scheme have indicated that there have been positive effects
from the fishing for litter scheme42. The scheme is now in operation in all of
Scotland’s Designated Landing Ports, and KIMO, the organisation responsible for
the trial of this scheme, is looking for this scheme to be further extended within
England and throughout the whole UK43. The cost estimate described above is for
the scheme in Scotland, provided by the UK KIMO coordinator, which means that
this cost may be used as a basis to estimate overall costs for the UK.
Increased beach cleaning
There is evidence that the UK local authorities spend approximately £15.6 million
each year to remove beach litter, representing a 37% increase over the past 10
years. There is also a significant amount of litter removed by voluntary
organisations, for which it is estimated that volunteers contribute £111,962 of time
each year (Mouat et al,2010).
This potential measure can be expected to have a medium effect on the target for
marine litter. The costs are mainly incurred in proportion to the level of activity
undertaken (fixed costs are low), so any additional costs could be directed towards
coastal areas with particular litter problems.
Costs: Additional costs to current beach cleaning practices.
Relevance of measure and of costs: Beach cleaning is already done by local
authorities in coastal areas, and the costs mentioned above are the estimates of
what these authorities spend on beach cleaning. The actual cost of increasing
beach cleaning will be highly dependent on how much additional cleaning activities
are going to be undertaken.
Improved facilities for beach litter deposit and collection
Improved facilities for beach litter deposit and collection can reduce the problem of
marine litter accumulation in the marine environment. This measure is particularly
relevant to managing marine litter originating from marine and coastal recreation and
tourism. It could be targeted to where these sources are most significant. Litter
facilities are provided in beaches around the UK, but there may be some that do not
have adequate facilities, or visitors do not use these facilities properly.
42
43
http://www.kimointernational.org/Portals/0/Files/JimmyBuchan--press%20release.pdf
http://www.kimointernational.org/FishingforLitter.aspx
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Costs: additional cost to local councils to improve facilities for litter collection at the
UK beaches. Direct and indirect annual costs for a Kent case study was £11.6
million (ABPmer, 2009). The case study costs data for 12-13 tonnes of litter
collected each week in summer on a 6 km stretch.
Relevance of measure and of costs: This management measure already exists in the
UK (i.e. there are available facilities for litter in beaches), and the additional costs
involved in improving beach litter facilities will depend on the extent that this
management measure is implemented (e.g. providing more bins, increasing litter
collection).
Provision of port reception facilities for litter/waste accumulated while at sea
The EU Directive on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo
residues (EC2000/59) aims to reduce and limit the illegal discharge of waste into the
marine environment. According to the Directive, all ships have to pay a mandatory
fee independent of whether they use it or not.
The Directive is transposed into the UK law and is legally binding; therefore this
management measure is already in place. The measure is most effective where
ports are providing adequate reception facilities to meet the needs of a wide range of
users. The existing legislation already requires fishing vessels to deliver their waste,
although the ‘irrespective of use’ charge does not apply to fishing vessels. Fishing
for litter is outside this regime because it does not relate to waste generated on
board which vessels bring into port. Within the 2-3 March 2011 Cefas measures
workshop, it was acknowledged that the Directive may need some revisions in order
to improve its overall effectiveness. One option for this would be to introduce a UKwide cost-recovery system (involving some consistency of approach and minimum
standards) to further encourage disposal of waste on land rather than offshore. The
costs of this cost recovery system are not yet understood.
Relevance of measure and of costs: Port Authorities currently provide waste facilities
for vessels to use, but not all regulations in the existing Port Waste Directive apply to
all vessels. The additional costs of improving the provision of port reception facilities
would depend on the extent of these improvements (including increased controls to
ensure compliance) and on the revision of the Port Waste Directive.
It is important to note here that in practice tightened controls under this measure are
highly unlikely to be implemented. The ships that are not covered under this
directive are warships or vessels operated by the State for non-commercial purposes
and tightened control to include these vessels could create a conflict with the
MARPOL convention. Although there may be some scope to broaden notification
requirement to include those that are exempted under current Directive requirements
(see potential management measure for Provision of port reception for oily wastes).
The UK-wide cost-recovery is also unlikely to be implemented as certain agreements
have been reached between Government and ports to leave ports discretion to
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operate as they choose within the constraints imposed by current EU Directive on
port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues.
Retrieval of lost or abandoned fishing gear
Lost or abandoned fishing gear if not retrieved causes either physical disturbance or
physical damage to the marine environment. The possible impacts of lost or
abandoned gear are continued catching of target and non-target species, alterations
to benthic habitats, introduction of synthetic material into the marine food web,
entanglement of marine organisms and also, habitat damage. On top of this, lost or
abandoned fishing gear can result in significant social and economic costs to the
marine users, e.g. navigational issues.
A variety of measures are currently in place to reduce the adverse impact of this
problem. Reducing the impacts of lost or abandoned fishing gear can contribute to
reducing the pressures from physical damage or removal of the seabed, and thus to
achievement of proposed targets for other descriptors. In EU waters, the rates of
permanent net loss (i.e. those that are not retrieved by owners) are quite low - less
than one percent of the total nets deployed. An exception to this is the deep water
net fishery in the North East Atlantic (Brown et al, 2005).
In general, fishermen make the effort to locate and recover their own gear as it has
significant economic value to them but the extent to which this is done will depend on
the time and cost involved. There are examples of gear retrieval programmes in the
UK, i.e. collaborative projects with Ireland and Norway in the Northeast deepwater
Atlantic gillnet fishery. Experience suggests that gear retrieval programmes are
likely to be successful and cost-effective measures where gear can be located and
retrieved quickly, or where the location of a significant amount of lost gear that
cannot be recovered by regular fishing activity is known.
Costs: Costs of retrieval programmes depend on the agreed area of coverage and
the number of days that vessel hire/use is required and are most likely to be covered
by the fishing industry. For example, a retrieval programme for the deep-water
monkfish fishery in the North East Atlantic has been budgeted at £124,980 and
Norwegian Retrieval programmes are estimated to cost around £151,000 per year
(Brown and Macfadyen, 2007, costs converted from € at £1:€1.15). A discussion of
the damage costs due to lost and/or discarded fishing gear can be found in
Macfadyen et al, 2009.
Relevance of measure and of costs: The application of this management measure
will depend on the extent of the problem in UK waters. The Brown et al (2005) study
gave a summary of the problem of net and pot loss in UK waters, but did not include
loss of other types of gear. This could mean that the extent of this problem in the UK
may not be fully known, therefore the cost of and the need for implementing this
management measure in the UK is difficult to know. However, based on estimates
of permanent gear loss in EU waters (less than 1%), costs of retrieval programmes
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in the UK may be low. Some form of gear retrieval is already in existence; as
mentioned above, some fishers try to retrieve lost gear as it may be expensive to
replace them (especially if the lost gear can be repaired, or are still relatively new).
Improving the function, storage and efficiency of combined sewage overflows
and surface water drains
Combined Sewage Overflows (CSOs) are systems that ensure that any excess flow
of combined sewage is discarded in a controlled way at specified and managed
locations. Combined sewage consists of business and domestic waste and rainfall
that are carried within the same pipes before the treatment to discharge. These
systems are responsive to heavier rainfall and occasionally the overloading has to be
released which may increase the litter entering the aquatic environment from
combined sewers. Further investment may be required to address the remaining,
mainly low risk, overflows as most polluting overflows have already been addressed
by a £2.5bn investment programme since the water industry was privatised in 1989
(Environment Agency, 2010a). The highest risk overflows have been rebuilt,
improved or eliminated resulting in major improvements in water quality in our rivers
and coastlines.
Costs: Water companies and regulators are committed to a continued programme of
improvement to address unsatisfactory CSOs (Water UK, 2009). Overall this is
expected to have a small impact on this source of marine litter, although impacts
may be more significant in certain locations, in particular where pressure on CSOs
results from seasonal tourism patterns.
Relevance of measure and of costs: No additional cost is projected to occur under
the MSFD.
Behaviour and education
This measure would promote communication and education about the problem of
marine litter, aiming to stimulate a more pro-active approach to this problem through
prevention and minimization. The effective education of all stakeholders and
facilitation to change behaviour may result in self-policing practice that may extend in
terms of effectiveness beyond direct measures that aim to alter behaviour in society
as a whole. Costs are not known. As a measure that builds on existing information
provision (e.g. onboard vessels), they could be incremental and therefore relatively
low. However, in order to be effective in changing behaviour and, therefore,
impacting on the status of Descriptor 10, the measures might have to be very
extensive, and could therefore have high costs.
The most cost-effective behaviour and education based measures could be those
targeted at specific sources of marine waste. 3-4% of beach litter is sewage derived
and 70-80% of this is cotton bud sticks (Environment Agency, personal
communication, May 2011). Therefore education of consumers to alter flushing
disposal of cotton buds could be an effective measure.
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The following potential management measures to tackle sources of marine litter
relate to options for management of materials and waste throughout society.
Regulation on manufacturing industry to improve recyclability of key products
Recycling saves energy, reduces raw material extraction and combats climate
change. It is shown by a number of studies that recycling our rubbish is better for
the environment44 rather than incinerating or putting it into landfill, however, market
participants should be encouraged to pursue recycling and business enabled to
invest in innovative resource management, i.e. improve recyclability of key products
and reduce waste. The UK already has a landfill tax escalator designed to
encourage diversion of waste from landfill. However, this policy measure does not
directly incentivise changes to the design of products to increase their recyclability or
otherwise reduce their likelihood to be a source of marine litter at the end of their
design life.
Labelling of products
This potential measure is related to the above suggestion on regulation of
manufacturing. An On-Pack Recycling Label scheme is already developed in the UK
to send a message to consumers to help recycle more material. Retailers,
manufacturers and brand owners who put packaged products on the market are all
encouraged, but not required, to participate in this scheme. Legal enforcement may
increase the amount of recyclable material within business and household waste.
Overall the effect on marine litter from this measure is expected to be small.
However, specific measures to label products that most often end up as litter in the
marine environment, could provide a more direct measure to address marine litter
sources. This measure only facilitates action, rather than drive it – it would still be up
to the consumer to recycle the material.
Costs: Companies that sign up to use the label pay an annual subscription fee of
£700. Charities and small independent businesses with an annual turnover of less
than £5 million pay £275 (OPRL Ltd, 2011). The amount collected is used to monitor
the overall scheme.
Relevance of measure and of costs: The effectiveness of this management measure
in reducing litter that ends up in the marine environment is highly dependent on the
overall recycling habits of people in the UK. The costs discussed above are costs
incurred by companies which voluntarily sign up to the On-Pack Recycling Label
scheme. However, the costs of a mandatory scheme will be different, as it will not
only be industry that will incur costs, but the regulator as well.
44
Except in cases where it is not appropriate to recycle such as hazardous waste
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Plastic bag levy
It is shown by the experience of different countries that a plastic bag levy usually
introduces a set of interacting effects on the environment, consumers, business,
waste and local authorities. Environmental impacts depend on what consumers
decide to use in place of plastic bags, i.e. not using a bag at all, using a paper bag or
bag for life. It is shown that the positive environmental impact is higher if this levy
also applies to paper bags. However, the impacts of this measure on the marine
environment will depend on the incidence of plastic bags within marine litter. This
incidence is complicated by ‘biodegradable’ plastic bags. Many such bags are only
‘bio-fragmentable’; they break into microscopic pieces but do not degrade and,
therefore, negatively impact on the marine environment as micro-scale (but
potentially very extensive) pollutants.
Costs: The following costs are from a study which looked at a proposed plastic bag
levy in Scotland. The estimated total cost per consumer is £12.42 per year for a
plastic bag levy. If paper bags are included and small to medium enterprises are
excluded, this is estimated to fall to £2.93 per year. These costs were calculated
from the amount of levy paid for carrier bags, the relative hidden costs45 of plastic
and paper bags, the cost of buying additional heavy weight plastic bags that are
called bags for life, the cost of buying additional bin liners, and additional VAT. The
impacts on business vary from sector to sector, i.e. food retailers are likely to
experience net benefit as costs for the purchase of plastic bags fall, non-food
retailers are likely to experience costs increase as purchases of paper bags will
increase. Manufacturers of plastic bags are likely to see reductions in business with
potential loss of direct jobs. Local authorities are likely to experience the set-up and
on-going administration of the levy - in total these are estimated to be £3.5 - £4.7
million per annum. These costs are likely to be offset by income from the levy
estimated at £7.75 - £9.90 million pa (Cadman et al, 2005).
Relevance of costs of measure and of costs: There are existing plans in Wales to
introduce a plastic bag levy46, and in Scotland, a similar bill was proposed but later
withdrawn47. There are currently no plans to introduce a plastic bag levy in England,
although there are calls for the introduction for this tax. The costs estimated in the
Cadman et al (2005) study may be used to estimate the cost of a levy to England as
there may only be small differences in the purchasing/shopping habits of English and
45
Hidden costs cover the purchase, transport and storage of bags by a retailer, normally passed on to
consumer through the price of goods.
46
http://wales.gov.uk/docs/desh/consultation/090703wastecarrierbagsen.pdf
http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/bills/43-environmentalLevy/documents/43Environmental_Levy_on_Plastic_Bags_Scotland_Bill.pdf
47
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Scottish households and individuals taking into account the difference in population
of likely consumers.
Bottle deposits
Bottle deposits can be used to provide an incentive for empty bottles to be returned
so that they can be reused. The deposit value of the bottle/container provides a
monetary incentive to return bottle/container for recycling. The cost of the deposit is
incurred by the purchaser of the bottle, providing an incentive not to litter and claim
the deposit.
Costs: Depends on the amount of deposit that has to be paid as a proportion of the
normal price, return rate of bottles and the additional administration costs of the
scheme. Hogg et al (2010) study examined both ‘parallel’ and ‘complementary’
systems with a parallel scheme running alongside existing kerbside collections and a
complementary scheme replacing the provision for recycling certain materials at the
kerbside. The main difference that was captured when modelling these two systems
was the return rate. The assumption was that the overall return rate of returned
bottles by the complementary system were 90% and by the parallel system 80%. In
comparison between the systems, the study showed that the complementary system
leads to highest return rates, the lowest revenue from unclaimed deposits and,
hence, the highest administrative fees. The key difference in terms of overall costs
between the complementary and parallel systems is associated with the return rate
itself, and subsequent implications of unclaimed deposits.
The figures discussed below are for a complementary system. It was estimated that
the deposit refund scheme would require £84 million one-off costs for the initial
setting-up in the UK. This cost would be covered within the first few years of
implementation, and would be met by fees payable by producers and retailers as
they join the scheme. Other costs involved are £700 million per year to run (£ in
2010 prices) and a deposit of 15p for containers less than 500ml, 30p for containers
greater than 500ml (Hogg et al, 2010). £700 million cost per year would be partially
met by producers and the amount of unclaimed deposits that may be substantial to
reduce the costs to producers (approx £491 million). From the results in Hogg et al
(2010), the estimated net present value of these costs for 2011 – 2020 is £6.1 billion.
Relevance of measure and of costs: Plastic is the predominant type of marine litter,
and it takes about 500 years for plastic bottles to decompose. This means that
having a deposit-refund system may help alleviate the problem of plastic bottles
ending up in the marine environment, whilst tackling the disamenity related to litter.
The costs presented in the Hogg et al (2010) study were estimated by creating a
high-level model on the deposit-refund system which reflects the current retail
environment in the UK. The estimated costs may be representative of the actual
cost (if this management measure is to be introduced), but it doesn’t take into
consideration other costs that will be involved (e.g. costs in consulting relevant
stakeholders). Should a bottle deposit system be set up in the UK, it is likely to be in
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a parallel system implying higher revenue generated from unclaimed deposits, thus
leading to lower administrative fees, but with the ultimate lower environmental benefit
delivered.
Benefits of the Measures
The potential management measures to address the pressures creating / increasing
marine litter (descriptor 10), will also contribute to alleviating pressures on other
descriptors (e.g. 1-6, 8-9):
Overall marine litter is an avoidable cost, but the scale of existing marine litter means
that some of the costs of dealing with it will persist for generations. Nevertheless,
preventing marine litter entering waters will reduce its future costs including local
authorities’ clean-up costs and impacts on fishermen. Addressing marine litter would
also reduce a wide variety of adverse environmental impacts to individual species,
organisms and ecosystems in the marine environment. Marine litter affects the nonmarket value of the marine environment, through loss of environmental amenity,
reductions in species abundance or damage to habitats.
2.2 Potential Management Measures to Address Underwater Noise
A number of measures are proposed to tackle problems of underwater noise. The
measures directly relate to D11 - Underwater noise but are also relevant to other
descriptors. Marine mammals have excellent underwater hearing and are, therefore,
extremely sensitive to underwater noise. All the measures discussed in relation to
noise are also relevant to D1 - Biodiversity and some may indirectly affect other
descriptors (e.g. D3 – Commercial fish and shellfish, D4 - Food webs).
The effects of some of these management measures are small, while the effects of
others are unknown. None of these management measures try to remove
underwater noise; they only try to mitigate its effects. Additionally, some of these
measures also introduce underwater noise (e.g. pingers to deter marine mammals).
The increased use of pingers to deter marine mammals
Pingers are acoustic deterrent devices and are usually used to deter marine
mammals from static fishing gear thereby reducing mortalities as a result of by-catch.
However, these devices have the potential to be used to deter mammals from areas
where noisy activities such as pile driving take place in order to minimise the risk of
injury. For example, pingers have been used in wind farm construction in Denmark
to deter harbour porpoises (Carstensen et al, 2006) but this study has not given new
data on the effectiveness of this measure. There is not enough evidence, however,
to show that these are effective deterrents for seals in areas where marine
construction activities are going on as it has been observed that seals are able to
associate pingers with aquaculture nets and food (the “dinner bell” effect), attracting
them to the area. Evidence on the use of this management measure (i.e. the use of
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pingers to deter marine mammals from areas where noisy marine activities are
happening) in the UK has not been found.
Costs: Potential use of pingers to deter marine mammals before and during noisy
underwater construction activities would affect the offshore construction and
renewables industries. Pinger devices can cost £1,660 for 80 units (around £21
each) (Gordon et al, 2007) and can be used repeatedly. The number of units
needed depends on the area that needs to be covered. Also, different mammals
respond to different sound frequencies and types of sounds, which means that there
may be different types of pingers that need to be used in order to deter different
species or species groups. The overall cost will vary according to area, density of
pingers, and species to deter.
In relation to the Round 3 programme of offshore wind farm construction, then these
devices can be used in UK sea regions 1-5: the Northern North Sea, Southern North
Sea, the Eastern Channel, the Western Channel and the Celtic Sea and the Irish
Sea.
The use of these deterrent devices during noisy construction activities is currently
not mandatory but Environmental Impact Assessments may recommend their use in
the future in order to clear an area of marine mammals. For use in offshore
construction, the MMO, Marine Scotland, the Welsh Government, the Northern
Ireland Government and DECC (but only for oil and gas related construction
activities) may be responsible in the regulation of the use of these pingers.
Relevance of measure and of costs: As mentioned above there is no evidence of the
use of pingers for noise mitigation in the UK. Additionally, pingers do not reduce
underwater noise levels; they only reduce interactions with affected species. This
means that this management measure is not relevant to the indicators for noise,
therefore will not help reach the targets for Descriptor 11.
The use of bubble curtains and other sound reducing technical measures
during construction phase of some marine activities
A bubble curtain is a ‘wall’ of air bubbles released around the location where a noisy
underwater activity, such as pile driving, is being carried out. Bubbles are created by
forcing air through small holes drilled in metal or PVC rings using air compressors,
therefore, creating a barrier for sound transmission (Spence et al, 2007). The barrier
that the bubbles create reduces the sound that can reach marine mammals and
sensitive fish that are in the area. There is evidence that the use of bubble curtains
has reduced sounds and thus the number of potentially injured fish significantly
during pile driving (Spence et al, 2007). There have been several experiments on
the effectiveness of bubble curtains for the attenuation of underwater sound (see
Nehls et al, 2007 for a summary of these studies) and this technology is already
widely available, but there is no evidence found on the use of bubble curtains in the
construction phase of marine activities around the UK coast.
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The effectiveness of this technique in mitigating the pressure of underwater noise
during pile driving depends on the “thickness” of the curtain, the size and density of
the bubbles (many small bubbles preferable over a few large ones) and the
distribution of bubbles (Longmuir and Lively, 2001). This technique is also more
effective if a “sleeve” is used to confine the bubbles as currents affect the direction of
where the bubbles rise. Additionally, this technique can only be used effectively in
shallow and coastal areas and areas that do not have strong currents. In some parts
of the world, bubble curtains are used in pile-driving activities (for example
associated with harbour constructions) in order to mitigate the effects of underwater
noise on marine mammals and other sensitive marine organisms, and therefore, can
be used in the construction phase of offshore wind farms.
Costs: The offshore construction and offshore renewable energy industries will bear
the cost of installing bubble curtains during the construction phase. The cost of
installing a bubble curtain is dependent on several factors: the depth of the sea; the
size of the pile driving area and the complexity of the system. Different bubble
curtain options include:



A confined bubble curtain system is a sheet of fabric, metal casing, or other
material used to constrain the air bubbles to prevent breakdown of the bubble
curtain from currents (Spence et al, 2007);
An unconfined bubble curtain has no protection by some material for the
bubbles against currents; or
A bubble tree, composed of several rings (the device that release the
bubbles) that are stacked vertically (with a given distance from one another) in
order to help reduce the negative effect of currents on the bubbles.
An observed cost in previous projects of an “unconfined” bubble curtain has been
estimated to be in the region of £34,560 - £138,250 per project, and £69,130 £138,250 per project for a “confined” system (Spence et al, 2007, costs in US$
converted to £ at £1; $1.6). A cost of $4,000 (£2,500) of using an unconfined bubble
curtain per pile has also been observed in one project (Laughlin, 2005a, in Spence et
al, 2007). The differences in the costs of using bubble curtains are highly dependent
on the system used (i.e. “confined” or “unconfined” system), if there is a need for a
bubble tree (dependent on water depth, although bubble curtains are more effective
in shallow waters), and on how many bubble curtain systems are needed at one time
(one system is needed per pile driver). Even though piling is usually done one at a
time, piling can be done simultaneously in an area. The installation of a bubble
curtain system also adds to construction time, but with proper planning, delays can
be minimised (Reyff, 2009).
In relation to the Round 3 programme of offshore wind farm construction, these
devices can potentially be used in UK sea regions 1-5: the Northern North Sea,
Southern North Sea, the Eastern Channel, the Western Channel and the Celtic Sea,
and the Irish Sea. However, their use is restricted to shallow and coastal areas, and
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areas that do not experience strong currents, within these marine regions. If bubble
curtains were to be used more extensively in the UK, the Department of Energy and
Climate Change (DECC) could have some responsibility in overseeing its use.
Relevance of measure and of costs: The equipment needed to construct a bubble
tree is widely available, which means that this can readily be used in UK waters.
However, there is no evidence that this is used in the UK and it is unlikely that
bubble curtains could be used for offshore renewable as they are not adequate for
the oceanographic conditions of the UK marine area48. Bubble curtains are one of
two technical measures that can reduce the spatial scale that noise can be heard49.
However, overall, bubble curtains may have very small effects in achieving GES for
Descriptor 11 as it does not reduce overall impulsive noise levels in a given spatial
area. As for the costs described above, these costs have been observed from
previous pile-driving activities in the US, but these costs may not be directly
transferable into the UK due to differences in the costs of equipment and labour.
However, these give an impression on how much each bubble curtain system may
cost in the UK if they are used.
Temporal restrictions on seismic surveys or pile-driving
Temporal restrictions on noisy underwater activities can be put in place at seasons
when more marine organisms are at risk to the adverse effects of underwater noise.
These restrictions can be put in place during migration or spawning seasons when
more animals congregate in an area.
Costs: Underwater seismic surveys are usually used for exploration by the oil and
gas industries and for other survey work (e.g. on underwater topography). On the
other hand, pile driving is used by the offshore renewable industry in the construction
phase. These temporal restrictions can be applied anywhere in the UK but may be
concentrated in UK sea regions 3 to 5: the Eastern Channel, the Western Channel
and the Celtic Sea, and the Irish Sea.
The most obvious costs involved with temporal restrictions are the costs incurred
due to delays to the survey or construction activity involved. Currently, there is no
evidence on how much lost time might be attributed to these temporal restrictions.
However, proper planning can reduce these costs. DECC authorises any seismic
survey activities related to oil and gas and other underwater seismic survey activities
are licensed by the MMO, Marine Scotland, the Welsh Government and the Northern
Ireland Government. On the other hand, JNCC has established guidelines on
48
49
Sonia Mendes, JNCC, personal communication, June 2011.
Sonia Mendes, JNCC, personal communication, January 2012
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seismic surveys. These authorities currently do not impose extensive temporal
restrictions on noisy underwater activities such as seismic surveys or pile driving.
However, JNCC advises that seismic surveys do not begin at night unless adequate
mitigation has been put in place50. Findings from Environmental Impact
Assessments (EIA) may result in some temporal restrictions on noisy offshore
activities, which mean that this management measure is already in place (i.e. that
restrictions are on a case-by-case basis, not specific restrictions on the period when
noisy activities are not allowed). This means that there may be no or very little
additional costs.
Relevance of measure and of costs: One of the indicators used in developing the
target for underwater noise is the proportion of days and their distribution, indicating
that some form of temporal restriction on noisy activities may be needed. However,
these temporal restrictions may not be fixed (i.e. that there are certain times in the
year that these activities are not allowed), but may be imposed because of the
results of existing marine regulation (an EIA). Additionally, the real world application
of the proposed target for indicator 11.1.1 is highly dependent on the target values
which are currently being developed by Cefas and JNCC. Once target values are
set up, it could be a case that this measure may result in more tightened regulations
under the current policy regime, i.e. increased length of temporal restriction on
seismic surveys or pile-driving under MSFD scenario. Therefore, the costs of a
temporal restriction will be highly dependent on how further long the restriction are
extended (as this may further more delay construction), but as mentioned above,
proper planning can minimise these costs.
Reapplying routing measures to shipping to decrease noise in key habitats,
migration routes for marine mammals and to reduce the risk of collision
Shipping creates underwater noise (caused by the propeller) and this causes
problems for marine mammals since the frequency band of the noise generated by
shipping is the same as the one used by marine mammals for communication
(OSPAR Commission, 2009). Collision risks are also present, especially to larger
marine mammals and those that inhabit busy shipping lanes. Routing measures
could not only reduce underwater noise in sensitive areas but also reduce the risk of
ship strikes.
The busiest shipping areas in the UK can be found in the Northern and Southern
North Sea (UK sea regions 1 and 2, especially in the English Channel), and in the
Minches and Western Scotland (region 6); therefore, these may be the areas
targeted when re-designating shipping lanes. However, an assessment between the
50
Holly Niner, JNCC, personal communication, June 2011.
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overlaps of these shipping lanes and key areas for marine mammals needs to be
done first. A re-designation will be more effective if it is permanent rather than
seasonal.
Costs: The costs to the shipping industry brought about by this measure will be the
cost of fuel and time if the designation routing measure means it takes them longer
to reach a destination or pass through the area. Fuel costs make up around 50-60%
of total shipping costs (Lloyd’s Shipping Economist, 2008) and in 2008 marine
bunker fuel prices went past $550 per tonne (World Shipping Council, 2008).
Increases in shipping costs may be passed on to consumers through increases in
the price of consumer goods.
The Department of Transport (DfT) and the Marine and Coastguard Agency are
responsible on shipping matters in UK waters. Costs to these organisations of this
potential measure would mostly be due to planning, administration and monitoring.
Research on overlaps of shipping activity and key areas for marine mammals will
also incur significant costs. Additionally, since shipping is an international industry,
any such routeing would need to be submitted, with all necessary supporting
evidence to the IMO.
Relevance of measure and of costs: There have been previous lanes routeing
measures in other countries to protect key species51. However, for this to be done in
the UK, a thorough assessment between the overlaps of these shipping lanes and
key areas for marine mammals and other species needs to be done first. One of the
indicators used to develop targets for Descriptor 11 is ambient sound, and shipping
noise is considered an ambient sound. This means that this measure may help
reach the target, although this does not minimise underwater noise, only displaces
the location wherein the noise is concentrated.
The use of ship quietening technologies
The parts of a ship or vessel that make the most noise are the propellers (due to
cavitation) and thrusters. Modifications to these parts can help in decreasing
underwater noise caused by shipping and there are technologies available to make
ship propellers less noisy: “The design of a quieter propeller or thruster includes
modifications to common design parameters and features, such as changes in tip
speed, blade outline (‘skew’), blade sections thickness, propeller pitch-diameter ratio
and its radial distribution, and even the number of blades” (Spence, 2007, p.42).
However, the volume of noise generated is more dependent on the speed of the
vessel compared to the size of the propeller.
51
http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/dolphins-mediterranean.html#cr
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Shipping activity can be found in all of the UK waters but the busiest shipping lanes
can be found in the Northern and Southern North Sea (UK sea regions 1 and 2,
especially in the English Channel) and in the Minches and Western Scotland (region
6). If this management measure is implemented it may be permanent unless there
are changes to some circumstances (e.g. no longer economically feasible to use
these technologies).
Costs: Changes to propeller design to reduce noise will affect the cost of the
propeller (Spence 2007). The cost of re-designing propellers will lie mainly in the
adaptation of the machines that are used to manufacture them and not in the
increased material costs (ibid). Additionally, the cost of a propeller will depend on its
size, which in turn depends on the size of the vessel it will be used for. In general,
modified propellers cost about 15-20% more than a conventional propeller (Renilson
Marine Consulting Pty Ltd., 2009). One disadvantage of the use of these modified
propellers is that some are not as efficient, therefore, may increase the carbon
footprint of the vessel (ibid).
There are other ship quietening technologies that may be used and the costs of
these differ (see Renilson Marine Consulting Pty Ltd., 2009 for details of these
costs): “The costs associated with retrofitting such technologies into an existing ship
will depend exactly on what is required, and on whether it can be carried out during a
scheduled dry docking, or if it will need a dedicated dry docking. For example, the
costs associated with retrofitting a 20,000 dwt containership will be in the range of
£165,440-£463,240, and those associated with retrofitting a 250,000 dwt tanker will
be in the range of ££397,060 - £1,853,000. Assuming that these technologies are
fuel efficient, the increase in efficiency could result in an annual fuel saving of
£330,890 - £661,770 for the containership, and £661,770 - £1,323,540 for the tanker
(costs in US$ converted to £ at £1= $1.6)” (ibid, p.32). Costs will be incurred every
time these technologies are fitted.
The decision to fit these technologies will be dependent on several factors including
changes in fuel consumption (an operator/owner will not chose these technologies if
it increases the fuel use of the ship, or if the cost of doing so is greater than the
benefits) and requirements brought about by legislation. Owners may also choose to
fit ship quietening technologies onto recently purchased ships (i.e. purchase of
second-hand ships, not necessarily new-build ships) rather than retro-fitting existing
vessels. However, vessel owners may also fit ship quietening technologies onto
their existing fleet if this increases the sale value of the vessels, especially if there is
a change in legislation requiring the use of ship quietening technologies. Costs of
building quietening technologies into new or refurbished ships would be expected to
be lower than retro-fitting them.
The Department for Transport (DfT) and its Maritime and Coastguard Agency would
be responsible in the implementation of this potential management measure. It has
to be pointed out that the implementation of this management measure needs
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coordination, international negotiation and agreement within the IMO. This is
because of the nature of the shipping industry (i.e. it is an international industry), and
vessels under the British flag may have a disadvantage if they are required to fit
expensive ship quietening technologies and vessels operating under other flags are
not. Vessels can also change the flag under which they are operating in order not to
comply with UK legislation (if this measure becomes compulsory for UK vessels but
not for others) and a ban on “noisy” vessels (i.e. those not fitted with ship quietening
technologies) in UK waters is not feasible nor a good idea.
Relevance of measure and of costs: Shipping noise is the highest contributor of
ambient underwater sound, and ambient sound is one of the indicators for Descriptor
11 used in the UK’s target development work. This means that this management
measure could contribute to reducing ambient noise in UK waters. However, as
pointed out above, the implementation of this management measure needs to be an
international effort. As for the costs presented above, these estimates were made in
the US, therefore actual costs in the UK may be different due to differences in labour
and material costs. However, these estimates show the possible range of costs that
vessel owners/operators may incur.
Speed limitations for ships at certain areas (e.g. areas close to MPAs)
The speed of the vessel is the most important factor that determines the volume of
underwater sound generated. Shipping occurs in all of the UK waters, therefore, this
potential management measure may be applicable to all areas. However, it may be
targeted at particular areas, such as around marine protected areas, especially the
ones that are designated in order to protect species sensitive to underwater noise
and those that are at risk of death due to collisions (collisions above 14 knots will
result in death for larger cetaceans52). It may be implemented permanently but on a
seasonal basis. This measure may also affect larger fishing vessels. Navigational
safety issues also need to be taken into account. For this reason, the agreement of
the Maritime and Coastguard Agency would be an essential precondition of any such
measure.
Costs: A reduction in the speed of vessels may reduce fuel costs but bring an
opportunity cost of time for the vessel and crew due to the speed reduction. As with
the management measure of re-designating shipping lanes, the increased operation
cost to shipping this management measure creates may be passed on to
consumers. However, planning may help to reduce costs. If this potential
management measure is implemented, the Department of Transport and the
52
Eunice Pinn, JNCC, personal communication, June 2011.
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Maritime and Coastguard Agency are the governmental bodies responsible for
implementation.
Relevance of measure and of costs: This management measure helps to decrease
ambient noise in certain areas, which means that it could help reach targets for
indicator 11.2.1 (trends in ambient noise). However, properly identifying the benefits
relative to the cost (if this measure is to be implemented) needs to be done because
the additionality of the benefits of this measure may be low (i.e. only a small
proportion of organisms affected by noise actually benefit from the reduction in
noise).
‘Soft-start’ practices for noisy activities
‘Soft-start’ means that noisy activities start at a lower intensity in order to allow
marine mammals and other organisms to leave the area or to habituate (i.e. get used
to) the noise. Soft-start is already used for engineering reasons, but it could be
extended in order to reduce potential impacts on marine mammals (i.e. injury). It is
recommended that the soft-start duration should not be less than 20 minutes (JNCC,
2009). This practice may be used during seismic surveys, pile driving and other
noisy offshore construction activities, and is suitable for use in all UK waters. This
practice is already recommended by JNCC to protect marine mammals and other
sensitive organisms as part of the consents process. Even though there is no
regulation to enforce soft-starts, there is widely practiced by the industry. Even with
soft-start procedures in place, there is still the risk of injury to marine mammals due
to underwater noise, therefore the JNCC guidelines has stated that noisy offshore
activities cannot be started if there is a sighting of a marine mammal within 500
metres of the source during the 20 minute period53.
Costs: There is no special technology needed to implement a soft-start procedure,
therefore no additional costs would be incurred relating to this. However, a trained
marine mammal observer is needed prior to and during the soft-start procedure,
therefore there is the cost involved in this. Additionally, pile driving operations
usually involve, in general, a period of strikes with lower amplitude in order to protect
the pile driver when entering the substrate. So in practice, the industry is already
applying a soft start incurring no additional costs. Costs may change if regulations
are put in which increases the length of the ‘soft-start’ phase of the activity.
However, proper planning on how to best incorporate soft-start procedures during
pile-driving or seismic survey activities may help to minimise the additional costs
incurred.
53
http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/pdf/JNCC_Guidelines_Seismic%20Guidelines_Aug%202010.pdf
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Pile driving as part of wider construction activity is regulated by the MMO, Marine
Scotland, the Welsh Government, the Northern Ireland Government and DECC and
is likely to be subject to EIA. Seismic surveys are similarly consented by the MMO,
Marine Scotland, the Welsh Government, the Northern Ireland Government and
DECC.
Relevance of measure and of costs: Soft start procedures are used in order to keep
the injury zone (i.e. the 500 m radius around the pile driver) free from marine
mammals, therefore reducing the risk of injury to them. The noise threshold in the
proposed targets for indicator 11.1.1 are based on the temporary threshold shift
(TTS) criteria by Southall et al (2007). These are suggested to ensure that no
animals are exposed to sound at this level anywhere in the operation area (i.e. there
could be animals within 1 m of the pile driver), therefore reducing behavioural
disturbance such as marine mammals moving away from the area because of the
underwater noise, thus changing their distribution within a particular area. However,
soft start procedures do not reduce underwater noise during the duration of the pile
driving activity, therefore it will not have a contribution to the achievement of targets
for indicator 11.1.1. As briefly mentioned above, the piling industry already
undertakes soft-start practices in order to protect equipment; therefore an extension
of this soft-start practice will not be as disruptive compared to when the practice is
not already in place.
The use of pile sleeves during pile driving
A pile sleeve works in a similar way to a bubble curtain except that it is made from a
different material. It surrounds a pile in order to reduce the noise emitted during pile
driving, and the reduction can be up to 20 dB depending on the material the sleeve is
made from (Nehls et al, 2007).
Pile driving is usually used by the renewable offshore industry in the construction of
offshore wind farms. In relation to the Round 3 offshore wind farm programme, pile
sleeves can be used in UK sea regions 1-5: the Northern North Sea, Southern North
Sea, the Eastern Channel, the Western Channel and the Celtic Sea, and the Irish
Sea. However, the use of this technical acoustic mitigation device is suitable for all
of UK waters.
Costs: Pile sleeves can take two different forms: an inflatable piling sleeve and a
telescopic double-wall steel tube (with foam in between the double wall). The costs
of manufacturing and installation of these forms are shown in Table A13-1.
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Table A13-1. Costs of Pile Sleeves
Inflatable piling sleeve
£2,391,000
(midpoint of £2,173,913£2,608,696)
Installation cost per pile
£17,390
Cost for 100 piles
£4,130,000
Prices converted from € at £1=€1.15
Source: Nehls et al. (2007)
Manufacturing cost
Telescopic double-wall steel tube
£521,739
£21,739
£2,696,000
The costs in Table A13-1 do not include the costs of winches and other auxiliary
devices.
Pile sleeves have been used in the construction of the Walney offshore wind farm in
the UK (in the Irish Sea) before54, but these were used to aid in construction – to
guide the pile driver into the seabed—rather than to mitigate noise (i.e. the pile
sleeve may not be made of material which impedes noise). It may have had an
effect in decreasing underwater noise, but the actual effects on underwater noise
during construction of this specific wind farm was not observed or recorded. Since
there is no legislation on the use of pile sleeves for offshore pile driving in the UK,
pile sleeves are not widely used. The use of pile sleeves may not be compulsory,
but will be on a case-by-case basis, dependent on the results of an Environmental
Impact Assessment assessed by the relevant regulatory authority, which could be
the MMO, Marine Scotland, the Welsh Government, the Northern Ireland
Government, or DECC.
Relevance of measure and of costs: As mentioned above, pile sleeves are already
used in the construction phase of offshore wind farms in the UK, but the purpose of
these are not necessarily for noise mitigation. The technology to construct a pile
sleeve (that mitigates sound) is already available and it is better than bubble curtains
at depths of more than 30 metres. It is also one of two technical measures (the other
being bubble curtains) which helps to minimise the spatial zone where adverse
impacts may occur. However, this measure is not likely to allow targets for
underwater noise to be reached as it does not reduce noise down to proposed
threshold levels. The costs presented above are estimates coming from
experiments (Nehls et al, 2007) done on the effectiveness of pile sleeves in noise
mitigation. Costs of applying this technology in the UK may not be significantly
different from the estimates.
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3. Interference with Hydrographical Processes
The potential management measures in relation to direct impacts on hydrographical
processes address the pressures of:
 Physical loss from the seabed;
 Physical damage to the seabed;
 Changes in turbidity;
 Interference with hydrographical processes;
 Changes in temperature, and
 Barriers to species movement.
The main descriptor that is relevant to this set of measures is D7 – Hydrographical
conditions. However, as these measures target a number of different pressures,
there is a significant relevance to other descriptors, such as D1 - Biodiversity; D4 Food webs; D6 - Sea floor integrity and D2 Non-indigenous Species. Note that
measures to reduce physical damage to the seabed caused by fishing activities are
considered separately in section 4 of this appendix as there is no direct link with D7
– Hydrographical conditions. The potential management measures assessed are
applicable to large coastal and offshore infrastructure. Most of the potential
measures to control interference with hydrographical processes deal with offshore
construction and development. They fall into two broad groups: those that minimise
impacts through planning decisions (e.g. by controlling the location, density and type
of development) and those that minimise the impacts of the consented
developments, during and after its construction. A further set of measures involves
practices that directly alter hydrological conditions through coastal engineering.
3.1 Measures to Minimise Impacts through Planning Decisions
Controls or limitations on the scale of development
The current development of a marine spatial planning system through the MMO’s
powers under the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) and Marine Scotland’s
under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 provides the ability to efficiently plan the use of
the marine environment.
It should be noted that strategic spatial planning of the marine environment is not
entirely new, having already been carried out in relation to use of assets (e.g. by The
Crown Estate). Marine planning is undertaken by a single authority (the MMO for
England and Wales and Marine Scotland for Scotland) with government determined
objectives, which allows for the minimisation of conflicts. Therefore, spatial
restrictions on marine sectors will not necessarily be additional. The level of
additional impacts will depend on the development of the marine spatial planning
system, and how it pursues its objectives, including contributing to the MSFD. It is
too early to assess whether additional widespread controls or limitations on the scale
of marine developments will be required to implement the MSFD. However, some
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specific potential restrictions on marine sectors can be considered in more detail as
examples of potential implementation measures.
Density controls of offshore renewable development
A major driver of development in the UK marine environment is the current
programme to expand offshore renewable energy generation capacity due to the
UK’s commitments to reducing carbon emissions. Although a number of
technologies can potentially be used to generate renewable energy from the UK
marine environment (e.g. wave, tidal, biofuels), only wind power is currently
technologically advanced enough so as to be deployed at a commercial scale. While
other technologies may reach that point before 2030, this analysis of renewables
focuses on wind power.
Individual wind turbines are not likely to significantly affect hydrographical conditions.
However, in the future, cumulative impacts from wind turbines and cables could
adversely affect hydrographical conditions, although there is significant uncertainty in
this area. The planned scale of deployment of wind power generation in UK marine
waters is substantial. The growth of total offshore generation of renewable energy
(installed capacity) across four scenarios defined by ODIS (2011) project a range of
between just over 25GW of generation to 60GW of generation, by 2030. This range
covers scenarios which will meet the EU targets for renewable energy generation by
2020 and are within the scope for transmitted energy capacity.
The impacts of potential measures to control the density of offshore wind power are
difficult to predict. Several possible scenarios can be defined representing high,
medium or low impacts from this measure:

A high impact scenario is that the restrictions bring additional costs to
offshore wind construction that mean it is no longer commercially viable in
some parts of the UK marine environment. If this was the case across a
significant area, it could have impacts on the UK’s ability to respond to the
threat of climate change by reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases from
energy generation. This could also have implications for the UK’s fledgling
marine renewables sector (for example by deterring investors55). Should such
impacts arise there would likely be a strong case to assess whether this
measure was disproportionately costly.
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
A medium scenario is that restrictions would marginally increase the costs of
marine wind power construction but do not deter construction. These
marginal costs could arise due to an increase in the level of information
required before development consents are granted. These requirements may
arise in environmental impact assessments of proposals and/or more
intensive surveying may be required to ensure that planned locations of
turbines are acceptable.
This may alter the extent and location of construction but not to the extent that
it had overall impacts on the sector (as in the ‘high’ scenario above). In this
case, the impacts depend on the baseline level of development that would
have occurred had the restrictions not been in place. The baseline level of
development will depend on the characteristics of potential areas of sea (e.g.
in terms of water depth, access to Grid connections and other spatial
restrictions). Areas further offshore are generally more expensive and
shallow water is generally more attractive.

A low impact scenario is that the restrictions, if built into the spatial planning
process and into wind farm construction proposals from the outset, would not
increase the costs of marine wind farm construction in the UK.
Relevance of this measure and costs: It is arguable if the planned density of offshore
wind farm development in the UK is likely to have impacts on D7 – Hydrographical
conditions, therefore this measure may be irrelevant in meeting the targets, once
defined, of D7 – Hydrographical conditions. Note that the array scale and cumulative
impacts are currently being investigated to further provide evidence in the
implications of management measures for D7 – Hydrographical conditions.
However, if restrictions from the MSFD are introduced in a way that prevents the
construction of wind farms for which plans have already been progressed, there can
be substantial costs to developers. For example, based on figures used to analyse
the potential impacts of site restrictions on approximately 10GW of initial wind farm
developments at Dogger Bank56, potential sunk development costs are estimated to
approximately £10m per GW. However, it is assumed that most MSFD measures
are planned over sufficiently long timescales and in consultation with stakeholders so
that they will not impose constraints on development at short notice. Therefore, such
costs could be assumed to be avoided.
56
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Placement of offshore renewable energy generating schemes that minimises
impacts on important bird feeding areas
This measure is intended to contribute to D1 - Biodiversity, but its impacts on marine
activities would be expected to be similar to those identified for the measures to
control or limit the scale or density of marine developments, in particular offshore
renewable developments, discussed above.
A further issue is that controls on marine developments to deliver different aspects of
GES (e.g. for Hydrography and for Seabirds) could, in combination, have greater
effects than the sum of their parts if they raise costs to such a level that they deter
development altogether, rather than just increase its costs. If this deters activities
from using UK waters at all, this may have significant impacts on the UK economy.
Sector specific guidelines
It is possible that potential measures to achieve GES for hydrographical conditions
and other descriptors like D1 - Biodiversity and D6 - Sea Floor Integrity, would be
carried out through changes to the guidelines given to the operation of specific
marine activities. These could be implemented through voluntary/best practice
guidelines or through licensing conditions in marine sectors.
The costs of adjusting specific guidelines could involve one-off costs in making the
alterations, to both the body responsible for the guidelines and for those they applied
to (e.g. through the need to alter company operating procedures), and any increased
costs of implementing them. However, it is assumed that the current marine
licensing regime is generally sound, so that the extent of any changes under this
potential measure would not be likely to be extensive.
An indication of the costs of this potential measure can be ascertained from the costs
already faced by those undertaking marine activities. For example, environmental
impact assessments (EIA) for marine aggregates and the oil and gas sectors can
vary from £200,000 to £800,00057. The costs of these assessments might be
increased incrementally (e.g. by 10 – 20%) by this potential measure which could
increase the costs of each EIA by £20,000 - £160,000.
The overall costs of more detailed EIA would depend on the number of activities
facing this requirement. This would be determined by the level of activity in relevant
marine sectors and the types and/or of activities the requirement applied to. The
types and/or scale of activities covered could depend on the scale at which GES is
assessed. The larger the scale it is assessed at, the larger the impacts of any one
activity would need to be before it might be required to produce more detailed EIA.
57
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There might also be costs from carrying out strategic environmental assessment for
marine developments, to account for the cumulative effects of many individually
minor activities.
Multiple use of marine area to maximise use of area
Within the developing marine spatial planning systems in the UK, some stakeholders
have suggested that optimal use of the marine area could be made by zoning areas
of sea for simultaneous multiple uses. An example of this is the location of
aquaculture between wind farm pylons.
Such suggestions have great potential to manage the spatial footprint of different
marine activities and minimise their impacts on the environment. However, the
potential for activities to co-locate in this way is largely speculative or theoretical.
Relatively new marine sectors, like renewable energy generation, already face
significant challenges in their own development and to manage their costs to
become economically viable. Further complications arising from co-locating with
other marine activities in multiple-use areas are considered too complex to deal with
at present. Nevertheless, developing multiple uses of marine areas remains a
measure with significant long-term potential.
It is difficult to assess which stakeholders would be affected by this measure, as this
depends on what activities may be “put together” in future multiple use areas.
These potential measures addressing hydrographical conditions have overlaps with
several other Descriptors. It could also contribute to delivery of descriptors 1 Biodiversity, 4 – Food webs and 6 – Sea floor integrity. However, if it results in wind
farms being built in more dispersed locations and/or across greater areas of UK
marine water, it could have negative impacts on descriptors:


D2 – Non-indigenous species, as the possibility of wind turbine bases acting
as stepping stones for NIS would be increased, and
D11 – Underwater noise, as it could lead to a greater noise footprint during
the construction of wind farms.
This potential measure to minimise impacts through planning decisions could
obviously have significant consequences for the renewable energy industry. As
described above, their implementation would involve the developing of marine spatial
planning systems in UK waters. Many stakeholders in those systems could be
affected by them, including a range of marine sectors, MMO, Marine Scotland,
Welsh Government, DOENI, Defra, DECC, The Crown Estate and JNCC.
Measures to minimise impacts during/after the operation of offshore
developments
Once permission has been granted for marine activities to go ahead, the manner of
their operation can still be controlled in order to manage their impacts on
hydrographical conditions. This management can take place through conditions
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placed on activities when developments are licensed, or on activities that are part of
those activities ongoing operations, e.g. discharges.
Discharges control (e.g. saline or freshwater discharges)
During the operation of marine and coastal developments, discharges may be made
to the marine environment. These can impact on the marine environment in a
number of ways. In terms of introducing contaminants and/or nutrients, relevant
measures are considered under descriptors 8 - Contaminants, 9 – Contaminants in
seafood and 5 - Eutrophication. However, the volume of water discharged and its
characteristics, e.g. temperature, could have impacts on hydrographical conditions,
and controls on these impacts are considered here.
Some of these impacts on hydrographical conditions would be expected to be
controlled by existing licensing for discharges, and in coastal waters would be
expected to be controlled by measures under the Water Framework Directive.
However, some controls on discharges could be additional to these existing controls.
Impacts that need to be assessed potentially include:




Tidal barrage proposals;
Tidal lagoons e.g. Swansea and Solway Firth;
Salinity plumes from the construction of gas storage reservoirs or from
de-salination plants for fresh water; and
Thermal plumes from new power stations.
All of these activities involve relatively large-scale activities with significant economic
value that could alter discharges of water into the marine environment. Any
disruption to them from this potential measure could be expected to involve
substantial financial costs and, therefore, to be an area where analysis could
examine whether costs were disproportionate. The implementation of potential
discharge control measures will also depend on the types and/or scale of activities
covered and could depend on the scale at which GES is assessed. The larger the
scale it is assessed at, the larger the impacts of any one activity would need to be
before it might be subject to restrictions.
This potential measure has overlaps with:



D1 – Biodiversity, through the influence of discharges on flora and fauna;
D2 – Non-indigenous species, as discharges can create environmental
conditions more conducive to non-indigenous species; and
D3 – Commercial fish and shellfish, due to effects of discharges on marine
fish and shellfish species.
The stakeholders potentially affected by discharge control measures include those
making discharges to the marine environment (e.g. desalination, waste water
sectors) and organisations that regulate activities that make significant discharges to
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the marine environment (e.g. Environment Agency, MMO, Marine Scotland, Welsh
Government, DOENI, DARDNI, Defra, DECC, JNCC).
Decommissioning of installations and structures
Decommissioning relates to the removal, disposal or re-use of a structure once it is
no longer needed for its current purpose. This will be most relevant for a number of
the approximately 470 offshore oil and gas installations in UK waters58, the majority
of which can be found in the Northern, Central and Southern North Sea59, as well as
for offshore wind turbines in the future.
OSPAR decision 98/3 prohibits “the dumping, and the leaving wholly or partly in
place, of disused offshore installations within the maritime area”, with some
derogation for footings of large steel installations installed before the 9th February
1999 (when the decision came into effect). The varying types of installation offer
different options for decommissioning60.
Deloitte and Douglas-Westwood (2010)61 estimate that the UK will need to
decommission more than 260 offshore oil and gas installations over the next 30
years, at a cost in excess of $30bn (excluding wells, pipelines, manifolds and
umbilicals). The majority of this is expected to take place between 2017 and 2027,
and investment in more vessels is likely to be required to avoid bottlenecking.
Oil & Gas UK (2010) estimate total decommissioning costs to be £21bn by 2030 and
£26bn by 2040, with costs having risen around £3bn since the previous year. The
costs of decommissioning vary across regions depending on the depth of the water,
types of installations and the number of wells; central and northern North Sea fields
are predicted to cost around £140m each to decommission compared to £40m in the
southern North Sea. The report also provides a breakdown by activity.
DTI (2007) provides another estimate of the cost of decommissioning, at £15bn to
£19bn over 30 years, with a range of £5m to £500m per project. However, of greater
interest are estimates for decommissioning offshore wind turbines. The lack of
previous experience generates a good deal of uncertainty, but they cite work by
Climate Change Capital that estimates a cost of £40k/MW. Wave and tidal devices
vary between £25k - £100k/MW.
This measure is already covered through existing regulation. However, if there is
any scope under the MSFD scenario, it is likely to be to ensure that the works of
58
http://www.oilandgasuk.co.uk/knowledgecentre/decommissioning.cfm https://www.og.decc.gov.uk/information/bb_updates/maps/Infrast_Off.pdf 60
Chapter 7, DECC Guidance Notes: Decommissioning of Offshore Oil and Gas Installations and Pipelines under
the Petroleum Act 1998 (updated 2011) 61
UKCS Offshore Decommissioning Report 2010 - 2040 59
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decommissioning are below the MSFD thresholds for the relevant descriptors.
Potential additional controls to minimise the impacts of marine activities through
changes to decommissioning of marine installations has overlaps with:


D1 - Biodiversity and D6 - Sea floor integrity, through the habitat that is left in
place after decommissioning; and
D8 - Contaminants, as different approaches to decommissioning marine
structures (e.g. oil and gas drilling platforms) can cause different releases of
potential contaminants into the marine environment.
Potential additional controls for decommissioning could also have negative impacts
on D11, noise, as different approaches to decommissioning marine structures (e.g.
extent to which they are broken up and removed) can introduce different levels of
noise into the marine environment.
The stakeholders potentially affected by decommissioning control measures include
those using large structures in the marine environment (e.g. offshore renewable
industry, coastal infrastructure, oil and gas), and organisations that regulate those
activities (e.g., MMO, Marine Scotland, Welsh Government, DOENI, DARDNI, Defra,
DECC, JNCC).
Direct measures to alter hydrographical conditions
In addition to the measures to control impacts on hydrographical conditions,
discussed in the two sections above, potential MSFD management measures will
also need to consider interventions in the marine and coastal environment, through
engineering projects that directly alter hydrographical conditions.
Measures to control deliberate hydrographical intervention for environmental
and social gain
Examples of interventions in the marine and coastal environment can alter
hydrographical conditions include flood risk management measures, such as
construction of structures like the Thames Barrier, and alteration of embankments
through managed realignment. Such measures mainly impact on coastal and
shallow water areas as interventions in deeper offshore areas that would alter
hydrographical conditions are not currently feasible in an engineering sense.
The construction of marine and coastal structures that could have a negative impact
on hydrographical conditions (such as flood defence or tidal barriers) are major
engineering projects, and highly expensive. They already face significant
environmental regulations, for example through the requirements of the Habitats
Directive and Water Framework Directive (WFD). Under the Habitats Directive,
damage to designated marine and coastal habitats (including many of the UK’s
estuaries), would only be permitted if necessitated by activities with overriding public
interest and meeting other conditions.
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Most of these kinds of projects take place in coastal waters and are covered by the
requirements of the WFD in relation to hydromorphology. Therefore, measures may
not be additional due to the MSFD; the exception to this will be any projects which
have a significant negative affect beyond coastal waters.
These current management powers, therefore, mean they are only likely to be
undertaken when the benefits from doing so are judged to be very significant. Such
significant benefits mean that any restrictions on them as a result of measures taken
under the MSFD that prevented their construction in order to prevent deterioration of
hydrographical conditions could impose very high costs and, therefore, could be
assessed for disproportionate costs.
Alternatively, interventions such as managed realignment may have positive impacts
on hydrographical conditions. The adoption of such practices as management
measures under the MSFD would require them to be implemented at a scale
sufficient to influence GES. This would either mean that GES was assessed at a
local level, or that managed realignment was adopted on a very large scale.
Managed realignment can be cost-neutral in certain circumstances. This is most
likely if it replaces existing embankments that are in poor condition (so require
investment of some kind already) and if it increases the protection offered to flood
embankments by intertidal habitats, and therefore requires a lower standard of
engineering, and cost, of embankment to deliver a certain level of flood risk
management. In contrast, if implemented where embankments are in good condition
and already well protected by intertidal habitat, it is likely to be less cost-effective.
Potential measures to control marine activities that directly alter hydrographical
conditions have overlaps with D1, D3, D4, D5 and D6, biodiversity, fisheries, food
webs, eutrophication and sea floor integrity, respectively. Each of these descriptors
relies on good hydrographical conditions as part of the overall conditions necessary
to achieve good environmental status.
They could also have negative impacts on D8 – Contaminants and 9 – Contaminants
in seafood. The movement of contaminants in the marine environment is strongly
influenced by hydrographical processes. Any restoration of those processes could
make historical contaminants that are currently stored in marine sediments bioavailable, therefore increasing their levels in marine waters, and in fish and shellfish
for human consumption.
Placement of coastal defence and marine structures that minimises impacts
on benthic habitats
This measure is intended to contribute to D1 – Biodiversity, but its impacts on marine
activities would be expected to be similar to those identified for the measure for
deliberate hydrographical intervention for environmental and social gain, discussed
above, and the controls or limits on the scale or density of marine developments, in
particular offshore renewable developments, discussed earlier.
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4. Adverse By-products of Human and/or Sectoral Activities
Potential management measures that aim to address adverse by-products of human
and/or sectoral activities are relevant to descriptors 5 – Eutrophication; 8 –
Contaminants and 9 – Contaminants in seafood. Other descriptors that are
(positively) affected by the potential management measures are 1 – Biodiversity; 4 –
Food webs and 6 – Sea floor integrity.
The potential measures that have been discussed above aim to address the
pressures of:



Contamination by hazardous substances;
Systematic and/or intentional release of substances; and
Nutrient and organic matter enrichment.
The potential management measures considered can be divided into two groups:
those that aim to address the by-products from human activities that enter the
marine environment at source and those that aim to deal with their impacts after they
have entered the marine environment.
When taken together, the effects of these management measures on the pressures
they aim to alleviate may be large or high. However, management measures that
address the pressure at their source are more effective compared to those that
tackle the problem when it reaches the marine environment. Apart from addressing
the pressures which may result in the increase of the provision of some ecosystem
goods and services, these management measures may have other economic
benefits. For example, non-toxic epoxy coatings for antifouling have higher longevity
and can reduce the costs in repainting the hull of ships/vessels in the long run.
Additionally, the future banning of slightly toxic copper based paint may incentivise
the use of non-toxic paints because it will increase the value of (leisure) boats with
non-toxic coatings (Johnson and Miller, 2003).
Assessing the consequences of these responses to the potential management
measures is complex and undertaking it for the wide range of measures covered is
beyond the scope of this interim analysis. Further analysis will be undertaken for
selected measures, for example, where economic impacts appear to be important
and which offer the best potential options for policy implementation.
4.1 Potential Management Measures to Address Adverse By-products at
Source
Use of non-toxic anti-fouling paint for ships
Anti-fouling paint is used on the hulls of ships and boats to reduce or remove the risk
of barnacles, seaweed or slime creating bacteria attaching to the hull, thus reducing
drag, increasing fuel efficiency and reducing the risk of the introduction of non-native
species. However, some highly toxic paints have an adverse effect, such as
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imposex, on non-target marine organisms (especially ones found near ports or
marinas). The use of highly toxic anti-fouling paint (e.g. tributyltin or TBT) is already
banned but the use of slightly toxic paint (e.g. copper-based) is still permitted. This
potential management measure can be implemented by requiring vessels operating
under the UK flag to use non-toxic paints. However, this option is not considered
effective since other ships (that operate with a different flag) that may have toxic
surfaces would still be allowed to enter UK waters. It would put UK-flagged vessels
at a competitive disadvantage, and given the ease of changing the flags ships are
registered to, would be unlikely to be very effective. It could only be operated
effectively through international agreement achieved via the IMO.
Alternatively, applying the potential measure in all of UK waters (in ports or marinas)
would involve restricting access to UK waters of vessels that have toxic surfaces.
Since monitoring activities on the ban of the use of highly toxic antifouling paint is
already in place, extension of this activity to cover all toxic paints may incur modest
additional monitoring and enforcement costs (e.g. for the Marine and Coastguard
Agency, port authorities). Restricting toxic-surfaced boats from UK waters will also
have significant economic implications as parts of the international fleet would be
restricted from entering UK waters. In order to realise a high level of effectiveness of
this measure there needs to be international cooperation.
Costs: The financial costs of applying non-toxic anti-fouling paint on boats/ship
depends on the size of the ship and the type of paint/material used. The cost faced
by boat and ship owners and operators may increase per paint coating. For
example, for recreational boats, preparation and painting costs can range from
£23.02/foot of boat length (copper-based) to £38.37/ft (non-toxic epoxy coatings) an
increase of 66% (Johnson and Miller, 2003, costs for recreational boats, converted to
£ using £1=$1.60). The efficacy (i.e. anti-fouling capacity) and longevity of the
paint/coating and the time for preparation involved are other issues that need to be
taken into consideration when assessing the economic cost to owners or operators
of boats and ships of different approaches to coating ships. A further factor is that
reducing fouling decreases drag resulting in greater fuel efficiency for ships. This
can decrease fuel costs by 6% - 45% depending on the size of vessel (Magin et al,
2010), thereby also reducing carbon emissions.
There is a potentially negative impact of this management measure on descriptor 2 Non-indigenous species. Use of low friction paints is less effective in reducing hull
fouling compared to toxic paints and so increases the risk of introduction of nonindigenous species via fouled hulls of vessels.
Relevance of measure and of costs: The use of non-toxic anti-foul paint is not a
dominant source of copper concentrations that exceeded EQS values; therefore, it is
unlikely that this measure would have an effect on targets for contaminants,
specifically indicators 8.1.1 - concentration of contaminants and 8.2.1 - biological
effects of contaminants. Non-toxic anti-fouling paint is already widely available in the
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UK but the cost of these types of paint is significantly higher than standard antifouling paint. The estimates shown above may not be directly transferred to the UK
but it shows the costs of different types of anti-fouling paint if it was felt that use of
non-toxic anti-foul was a necessary measure.
Provision of port reception for oily wastes
The International Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL
73/78) requires States to provide ‘adequate’ port reception facilities and this includes
reception facilities for oil and oily mixtures generated during the service of the ship.
Regulation on the provision of port reception for wastes (including oil and oily waste)
is already in place in the UK under the Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Port
Waste Reception Facilities) Regulations 2003, which is a product of the EU Directive
on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues (EU Directive
2000/59/EC) and also pursues the same aim as the 73/78 MARPOL Convention.
Costs: This management measure already exists and is currently being applied to all
of the UK. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is responsible for
overlooking this management measure. Port authorities are responsible for
providing waste reception facilities and the revision to the Port Waste Reception
Facilities Regulations 2003 states that vessel operators are responsible in:



Notifying the port/terminal of the details of the waste it is carrying, and intends
to land, in advance of arriving. Fishing vessels (of whatever size) or
recreational craft authorised to carry, or designed to carry, no more than 12
passengers are exempt from this requirement;
Offloading all ship generated wastes to appropriate reception facilities (unless
they have previously notified that they will be retaining wastes on board), and
Paying a mandatory fee with respect to the provision of port waste reception
facilities.
This shows that the costs of disposing (oily) wastes are borne largely by the
owner/operator of the vessel during each disposal activity; these costs include admin
(e.g. filling out paper work on the details of the waste being disposed), disposal (e.g.
man hours to offload waste) and the fee for the use of the waste facilities. As for the
port authorities, there is the initial cost of providing the waste reception facilities and
the additional costs of maintaining or replacing it, although this may be covered by
the fee that is paid by each vessel during disposal. Contractors may also be brought
in to dispose of the waste. The costs incurred by the MCA are largely due to
monitoring and reporting of compliance to the EU Commission and to MARPOL.
Not all regulations in the existing Port Waste Directive (and the UK’s implementing
Regulations) apply to all vessels. The costs of the provision of port reception
facilities in future may depend on the revision of the Port Waste Directive. However,
it is unlikely to cover all vessels in practice due to other agreements within MARPOL
Convention because of their status and commitment to the state. Despite this, as
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mentioned before, there may be some scope to tighten controls, i.e. under
notification requirement, and include those vessels that are exempt from this
requirement.
Relevance of measure and of costs: Port Authorities already provide waste facilities,
including facilities for oily waste, as this is a requirement of the Merchant Shipping
and Fishing Vessels (Port Waste Reception Facilities) Regulations 2003. However,
the main problem lies in the inadequate control and monitoring to ensure that
vessels discharge their oily waste properly (i.e. do not discharge them at sea). This
means that this regulation would need to be revised in order to decrease the volume
of oily wastes being illegally dumped at sea. The costs incurred by the industry and
the regulators would depend on the extent of the revision of the Port Waste
Directive.
Improved sewage water treatment
In the UK, there are different companies that are responsible for treating
sewage/waste water, and there are about 9000 wastewater treatment works in the
country62. There are four main stages in the treatment of waste water: preliminary,
primary, secondary (biological) and tertiary treatment. The number of stages applied
depends on the quality of discharge which will not have an adverse effect on the
environment. A permit to discharge is required by all treatment works and these
permits take the form of a consent from the Environment Agency in England and
Wales, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Northern Ireland
Environment and Heritage Service.
Costs: This management measure is already covered under the Water Framework
Directive. Additionally, the waste water treatment industry is continuing to invest in
improving treatment facilities63 which means that additional costs from this measure
are likely to be minimal or none.
Improving the function, storage and efficiency of combined sewage overflows
Improvements to the management of combined sewage overflows to reduce inputs
of nutrients to the aquatic environment are already being undertaken in response to
other regulations (e.g. EC Urban Waste Water Directive and the Water Framework
Directives); therefore, additional costs of implementation in relation to the MSFD are
not expected. There may be a need to extend UK eutrophication monitoring in
relation to this potential measure, although this would probably be limited to sensitive
regions
62
63
http://www.water.org.uk/home/news/press-releases/wastewater-pamphlet/wastewater-web--2-.pdf
http://www.water.org.uk/home/policy/positions/combined-sewer-overflows/csos-sept-09.pdf
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Measures that directly address agricultural nutrients
Agricultural nutrients cause eutrophication which can have adverse effects on
pelagic habitats and the species which live in these habitats.
There are several specific measures that could be classified under this broad
management measure. This may include the treatment of water runoff, proper soil
management and the discontinuation of excessive fertiliser use.
Costs: The costs of management measures that directly address agricultural
nutrients will differ according to the specific measure but the agricultural sector will
be mostly affected due to necessary changes in existing practices. Regulators of
these management measures such as Defra, the Environment Agency and the
Devolved Administrations will also incur costs in implementation. However, several
existing Directives (e.g. Nitrates Directive, Water Framework Directive) already
address agricultural nutrients; therefore the costs of these management measures
may not be additional to the MSFD. There may be a need for more stringent
regulations but these can be extensions of ones that are already in place.
Control and manage discharge of hazardous chemicals and substances from
source into the marine environment
Improvements to the management of discharges of hazardous chemicals and
substances into the marine environment are already being undertaken in response to
other regulations (e.g. EC Urban Waste Water Directive and the Water Framework
Directives); therefore, additional costs of implementation in relation to the MSFD are
not expected.
Limits on aquaculture feed
Uneaten feed that is used in finfish aquaculture can increase nutrient build-up in the
water leading to eutrophication. By limiting the number of times fish are fed or the
volume of feed used, there is less risk of waste which has an environmental and
economic implication. There is a strong economic incentive to feed fish at the rate or
amount wherein waste is minimised and the feed conversion rate (the fish’s
efficiency in converting eaten feed mass into increased body mass) is maximised.
Legislation on animal feed, which includes feed for farmed fish, is harmonised at EU
level.
This management measure is applicable to all UK waters, especially where marine
finfish aquaculture is concentrated: the Northern North Sea (UK sea region 1), the
Irish Sea (region 5) and the Minches and Western Scotland (region 6). Most finfish
aquaculture follows a cycle (from rearing to sale); therefore, the amount of feed that
is used and the costs will vary on this cycle and the age of the fish.
The requirements of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) apply to aquaculture;
therefore, the additional impacts of the MSFD in this area may be low or nil. The
finfish aquaculture industry’s current response to the problem of nutrient build-up
below aquaculture nets is to move to more exposed locations where currents quickly
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disperse waste, thereby reducing the risk of eutrophication. Additionally, improved
fish husbandry practices are allowing the industry to have a smaller environmental
impact. Even though there are no direct regulations on the amount of aquaculture
feed that can be used at any one feeding schedule, aquaculture producers, under
the WFD, are obliged to make sure that these activities do not result in adverse
effects on the marine environment.
Costs: Limiting aquaculture feed can take different form: limiting the number of times
the fish are fed, the type of feed that is used or the technique by which the feed is
dispensed, and these entail different costs to the producers of finfish aquaculture
products. In order not to sacrifice increase in fish body mass, limiting the number of
times fish are fed may be compensated by increasing the volume of feed that is
given. If statutory limits on (the amount of) aquaculture feed were put in place, then
the additional cost of doing so may lie in the time used in filling out paperwork to
record the amount of feed given.
The competent authority in the UK that is responsible for overseeing feed used in
aquaculture is the Food Standards Agency, however, it does not have a remit in
controlling the amount of feed used. Therefore, if the MSFD resulted in controls of
aquaculture feed amounts it would require a new regulatory mechanism.
Relevance of measure and of costs: Most of the offshore aquaculture sites in the UK
can be found on the west coast of Scotland (rearing Salmon), whilst the ones in
England and Wales are shellfish aquaculture sites. Scotland’s Marine Atlas’ overall
assessment has concluded that eutrophication is not an overall widespread problem
in Scotland. However, there are some hotspots in the west coast of the country but it
is not indicated whether these are in the immediate vicinity of aquaculture sites. This
means that this management measure is not necessary for the purpose of the MSFD
unless there is a significant expansion of the aquaculture industry.
Decrease in the use of pesticides
Improvement to the management of pesticides in order to protect freshwater
environments is already being undertaken in relation to the EC Water Framework
Directive. Pesticides generally enter the marine environment via freshwater
systems, there are not expected to be, therefore, additional costs of implementation
in relation to the MSFD.
4.2 Potential Management Measures to Address Adverse By-products in the
Marine Environment
Remediation of contaminated sediments
This potential measure involves treating an area of seabed by removing the
contaminated sediments. It removes the existing stock of contaminated sediments
but does not address the source of the contamination. However, for historical
sources of contamination, the source(s) are not relevant. Due to the potentially high
costs of remediation, this potential management measure is usually only applied
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when there is a high risk of disturbing the contaminated sediments through some
other activity (e.g. construction). If a planned activity will disturb sediments and
contaminate the surrounding waters, then remediation may be considered to prevent
this. An alternative scenario is that seabed erosion can also cause the redistribution
of the contaminated sediments. This may be a factor if new areas become subject to
erosion as a result of climate change (e.g. due to sea level rise and associated
changes to coastal currents, especially around estuaries). It is not always clear as to
who is responsible for paying for the remediation of contaminated sediments. The
“polluter pays principle” is not so straightforward to apply since, most of the time,
there are several sources of contamination and some of these sources may be
historical (so do not exist anymore). In the UK, levels of contaminants in sediments
are generally fairly low, apart from estuaries which have been previously heavily
contaminated by industrial and domestic discharges (Clean Seas Feeder Report,
Charting Progress 2). Application of this management measure is highly local; it is
only applicable to areas of the UK seabed that have contaminated sediment and
where this contamination carries a high risk of affecting the surrounding environment
and organisms.
Relevance of measure and of costs: As this measure deals with relatively small scale
localised impacts it may not have a significant effect on the overall achievement of
targets for GES. The baseline would cover the cases where a developer wishes to
dredge an area of contaminated sediment and must, therefore, treat it before
disposal. The additional measure under MSFD scenario would be remediation of
undisturbed contaminated sediments that would essentially require an operator,
harbour authority or some other body to decontaminate certain areas of river/seabed
because they are acting as a source of continuing pollution. There could be very
significant costs on operator/harbour authority and regulatory authority (which could
be the marine licensing authority or potentially the Environment Agency if the
problem is upstream). The costs of undertaking the activity of remediating
contaminated sediments would depend on the type of contaminant and the clean-up
method that is used. A study by Mulligan et al (2001) looked at the costs of different
techniques of remediating contaminated sediments that have been done in the US.
In terms of dredging up the contaminated sediments, it has to be highlighted that this
option cannot be applied if there is no viable option for treatment or disposal (Blake,
2009).
Bioremediation of oil spills
Bioremediation is defined as the ‘act of adding materials to contaminated
environments to cause an acceleration of the natural biodegradation process’ (US
Congress Office of Technology Assessment, 1991). Bioremediation of oil spills can
be done through fertilisation (method of adding nutrients, such as nitrogen and
phosphorus, to a contaminated environment to stimulate the growth of indigenous
micro-organisms which break down the oil) or seeding (adding of micro-organisms to
the spill site which can break down the oil).
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For practical reasons, this management measure is usually applied in the UK on
oiled beaches along the coast. In the open ocean, dispersants are always more
effective because bioremediation requires the oil to be in a concentrated area.
Shipping and oil platforms are the main sources of oil spills but there is also the
possibility of oil seeping from pipelines. The oil and gas industries are primarily
located in the Northern North Sea (UK sea region 1), the Irish Sea (region 5) and the
Minches and Western Scotland (region 6); therefore, spills from oil platforms are
most likely to be in these areas. On the other hand, shipping-related spills could be
anywhere in the UK but tend to be concentrated in the Southern North Sea (region
2), Eastern Channel (region 3) and the Western Channel and the Celtic Sea (region
4). The majority of costs associated with this measure are variable costs in
proportion to the scale of oil pollution incidents affecting the coasts. However, there
are also fixed costs in relation to maintaining the UK’s oil-spill response systems and
relevant resources that would be needed to implement it (e.g. equipment, staff).
Costs: The cost of bioremediation is usually lower than other remediation techniques
because the equipment used and logistics involved are simpler and less labour
intensive (US Congress Office of Technology Assessment, 1991), which means that
this technique is a relatively cost-effective remediation approach. Costs will depend
on the size of the area that needs to be treated and the severity of the problem.
However, the total cost of clean-up needs to be considered and not just the cost of
using the technique itself. Further research into the overall effectiveness of bioremediation still needs to be done, which may entail significant costs. It also has to
be pointed out that environmental damage may be less if the oil spill is addressed
straight away, rather than waiting until oil is deposited onto the shore. The costs of
the level of environmental damage would need to be taken into account in assessing
whether this is a cost-effective potential measure under the MSFD.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is the competent authority in the UK
which has a National Contingency Plan to respond to Marine Pollution. Other
agencies – local authorities and bodies with environmental responsibilities, may have
a smaller scale plans including a responsibility to review industry specific oil pollution
plans.
Relevance of measure and of costs: This technique is already used in the UK,
therefore, there will be no additional costs under the MSFD. Additionally, the costs
of using this management measure can be recouped from the international oil
compensation fund, so there are no additional costs in implementing this measure.
However, there may be further research into the overall effectiveness /
appropriateness of bio-remediation needed and there will be costs involved in this.
Remediation by managed biology
An example of this management measure is the use of shellfish (e.g. mussels) or
sea plants to clean contaminated estuaries or areas that have high nutrient levels.
This management measure is likely to be used in a highly localised manner, in areas
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of the UK that have problems of contamination. The temporal scale of
implementation is also variable, depending on the habitat of the species involved (i.e.
you can only use a species on areas that they can establish and flourish in).
Although it is already widely known that shellfish can filter and remove contaminants
and nutrients, further research is needed into this potential management measure’s
effectiveness. An area that requires further work relates to descriptor 10 – Marine
litter – there is increasing evidence that mussels can filter microplastics. Once fully
understood, there will be further costs involved in sourcing the shellfish or sea plants
used, and from managing them, and these will vary depending on the size of the site
and the volume of shellfish or sea plants.
5. Biological Disturbance
The potential management measures under this heading address the pressures of:






The selective extraction of target and non-target species (including by-catch);
The introduction of non-indigenous species and translocations;
The introduction of microbial pathogens;
Contamination by hazardous substances;
Physical loss of species and habitats, and
Physical damage to species and habitats.
The main descriptor that is relevant to this set of pressures is 1 – Biodiversity; but
the measures are also relevant to other descriptors, including 2 - Non-Indigenous
Species; 3 - Fisheries, 4 - Food webs and 6 - Sea floor integrity. The 2-3 March
2011 Cefas measures workshop identified 24 potential management measures in
relation to biological disturbance:


The majority of these management measures relate to controls on fisheries,
so are dealt with under ‘controls on fisheries’ in the following section.
Another pressure that is addressed by a number of potential management
measures is the introduction of non-indigenous species and translocations.
5.1 Potential management measures that address the introduction of nonindigenous species and translocations
England, Wales and Scotland have a joint strategy for addressing non-indigenous
species and Northern Ireland is in the process of creating one. The GB (England,
Wales and Scotland) Strategy 'provides a framework for a more co-ordinated and
structured approach to dealing with non-native species and any potential invasive
threat in or to Great Britain. It includes better co-ordinated and strategic prevention
measures aimed at reducing the introduction of damaging non-native species into
Great Britain. Its implementation will enable more rapid detection of potentially
invasive non-native species through improved and better targeted monitoring and
surveillance’ (Defra, 2008). It recognises that for the successful implementation of
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the strategy, there needs to be cooperation between all stakeholders and better
public awareness and understanding of the issues surrounding non-indigenous
species and their effects on the environment.
Eradication of invasive, non-indigenous mammals in seabird colonies
Two thirds of the total population of seabirds in the UK breed on offshore islands
(Mitchell and Ratcliffe, 2007) such as the ones in Western Scotland. On some of
these islands there are mammals that predate on the eggs, chicks and the seabirds,
which can have an adverse impact on the seabird populations. For example, by
2007, several islands in Western Scotland have lost all species of breeding seabirds
due to mink predation (Craik, 2007).
Eradication of these invasive, non-indigenous species in seabird colonies refers to
an intentional extermination in order to protect local wildlife, especially seabirds.
There have been positive experiences in previous attempts to eradicate invasive
mammals in seabird colonies in the UK such as the Brown Rat eradication
programme in Handa Island in Sutherland, Scotland in 1997 (Stoneman and
Zonfrillo, 2007). This eradication programme has resulted in benefits such as the
increase in the range, colonisation and increase in population of some species.
Costs: There are several stakeholders that will implement the eradication
programmes and bear the costs. These costs depend on the area where the
planned eradication will take place and the species to be eradicated. These
stakeholders may be wildlife or environmental authorities (e.g., Natural England,
Countryside Council for Wales), other non-governmental organisations (e.g. Scottish
Wildlife Trust, RSPB), and volunteers may be involved as well. The costs incurred
will be due to planning, the purchase of the necessary equipment (or
bait/poison/drugs) that will be used for eradication, the time involved in laying down
the traps/bait/poison/drugs and the necessary follow-up such as monitoring the
status of the invasive species. Planning may be the most expensive part of the
operation as there is a need to clearly identify the feasibility of undertaking the
programme and the steps and precautions needed during the eradication
programme. Feasibility should be assessed ‘on the basis of the most relevant
biological characteristics of the target species, the ecological relationships of the
species with the invaded area, the socio-economic aspects, the political
commitment, the legal framework, public support and the availability of funds’
(Invasive Species Ireland, Invasive Predatory Small Mammals on Islands Strategy,
p.15). The size of the population of the invasive species, its distribution and the size
of the area of its distribution will also influence the cost of the eradication
programme.
This management measure may only have to be implemented once, or several
times, depending on circumstances such as the effectiveness of the technique used
and the probability of a new batch of invasive non-indigenous species re-colonising
the area. However, there is evidence which shows the effectiveness of this
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management measure. Decisions on the implementation of this management
measure are done on a case-by-case basis and they will be attributed to the
requirements of the Birds and Habitats Directive, therefore will not be additional to
the MSFD. However, it may not be feasible to apply this management measure to all
seabird colony areas around the UK that also house invasive mammals. The risk or
probability of the decline or collapse of the colony also needs to be taken into
consideration. Additionally, the status of the invasive species (whether it is a
protected species under different Directives or regulations) also needs to be taken
into account as there will be a need to apply for a license to eradicate these species.
It has to be noted that although this management measure deals with invasive
species, it is directly aimed towards achieving GES for Descriptors 1 - Biodiversity
and 4 - Food webs and not for Descriptor 2 – Non-indigenous species.
Quarantine measures for mammals on vessels visiting important island
seabird colonies
There are several vessels which visit important island seabird colonies in the UK.
These vessels are used for monitoring/research or tourism/nature watching
purposes. Some invasive mammals such as rats can stow away in these vessels
and colonise the islands with seabird colonies and this can have a significant
negative impact on the population of the seabirds due to predation on the eggs or
chicks of these birds or on the birds themselves. Quarantine for mammals on
vessels may be done to prevent the invasion by, or re-introduction of, invasive
mammals in important seabird colonies.
Costs: The cost of the implementation of this management measure will be borne by
the owners/operators of the vessels which visit these islands and the regulators
which are likely to be environmental & navigation authorities (e.g. Marine Scotland,
MCA). The costs to the regulators will mainly be due to implementation of
quarantine regulations or guidelines and monitoring compliance of vessels. On the
other hand, costs to vessel owners/operators will be the cost of compliance - the
costs of putting traps in vessels and the costs involved in admin required for
reporting purposes. Effective quarantine measures may also increase the
inconvenience for those who visit these islands for nature watching, which means
that there may be a decrease in the number of visits (Oppel et al, 2010), reducing
the revenue of tour operators.
To ensure the effectiveness of this management measure, it is necessary for it to be
implemented permanently in order to reduce the risk of invasion or re-introduction.
Additionally, it may not feasible to apply this measure to all seabird colonies around
the UK which means that a risk-based approach (i.e. whether there is a high risk that
invasive mammals will cause a decline or collapse in the populations of seabirds in a
specific area/island) needs to be taken.
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Like the previous management measure, this is directly aimed towards achieving
GES for Descriptors 1 – Biodiversity and 4 – Food webs and not for Descriptor 2 –
Non-indigenous species.
Prohibit imports of high risk species
In the European Community Area, there is a ban on the import of four non-native
species but there have been cases wherein the European Commission took action
against a Member State which has banned certain non-native species (e.g. case
C131/93—imports of live freshwater crayfish to Germany)64 as these have been
viewed as a barrier to trade within the EU. Currently, there is no existing UK
legislation on the ban of imports of certain species but there are existing controls on
the import and keeping of non-native species65. There has also been a consultation
on the proposal for the ban of sale of some non-native plant and animal species66.
Costs: The full ban of imports of high risk species within the EU is unlikely in the near
future as this is seen as a barrier to trade. However, if this management measure is
introduced the cost will mainly lie in monitoring entry points of these species (i.e. to
make sure that none are smuggled into the UK). There will also be costs involved in
prosecuting offenders.
Since this ban is related to trade, the regulatory agencies that would be responsible
for this management measure are Defra and the Department for Business,
Innovation and Skills (BIS, formerly known as the Department for Trade and
Industry), and the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Ban on keeping and sale of known invasive species (to eliminate risk of
release/introduction into the wild)
There is an increasing trend in the UK in the sale and keeping of non-indigenous
species, not only for commercial (e.g. for aquaculture) or ornamental purposes, but
also as pets. Currently, there are existing controls on the import and keeping of nonnative species and the escape of and release (without a license) of non-indigenous
species into the wild is illegal under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act67.
Offences under section 14 of the Act carry a maximum penalty of £5,000 (£40,000 in
Scotland) and/or 6 months imprisonment on summary conviction and an unlimited
fine and/or 2 years imprisonment on indictment68.
64
https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/nonnativespecies/downloadDocument.cfm?id=155
http://archive.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/wildlife/management/non-native/documents/nn-import-leaflet.pdf
66
http://archive.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/wildlife/management/non-native/documents/consultation.pdf
67
http://archive.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/wildlife/management/non-native/documents/section-14-guidance.pdf
68
https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/nonnativespecies/index.cfm?pageid=67
65
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Costs: A ban on the most invasive (and destructive) species is possible with the
existing legislation in the UK69 but this needs complete cooperation with industry
(e.g. ornamental and pet industry) and a comprehensive and effective monitoring
and reporting system. This is to eliminate the risk of a black market for these
species being established which can still result in their introduction into the wild. A
ban on the keeping and sale of known invasive species may need to be incorporated
with a ban on the import of these species. This is because usually the import of
these species is the step prior to these species being sold and kept.
If a ban is implemented it would be throughout the whole of the UK. Defra, Marine
Scotland, the Welsh Government and DOENI will be responsible for the
implementation of the measure but other government agencies (e.g. JNCC, Scottish
Natural Heritage) will also have responsibilities in monitoring.
Screening of international imports for disease and hitchhikers (live or dead)
Trade can be a vector for the introduction of invasive species in the UK, as these
species can “hitchhike” on plants, animals or other items. Screening imports,
especially live plants or animals, can reduce the risk of the introduction of nonindigenous species (or the diseases of non-indigenous species). England, Wales
and Scotland have a joint strategy for addressing non-indigenous species70, while
Northern Ireland is in the process of developing its own71. These strategies do not
explicitly mention the screening of imports but they imply that this may be
implemented if a high risk of introduction through imports could be found. On the
other hand, the 2005 Plant Health Strategy for England already inspects imported
plants for diseases and other organisms which have the potential to turn into
invasive alien species.
Costs: This management measure, if implemented will be put in place in the whole of
the UK permanently. The complete removal of the possibility of invasive species
being introduced through imports can only be done if all imports into the UK are
screened. However, mandatory screening of all imports that may carry disease or
hitchhikers in all of the UK will be expensive and time-consuming. A risk based
assessment could instead be carried out in order to identify the most likely “carriers”
of non-indigenous species or diseases and these potential carriers could then be
screened.
69
http://teesvalleybiodiversity.org.uk/wpcontent/uploads/2009/03/reviewofnonativespecieslegislationandguidance_DEFRA.pdf
70
https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/nonnativespecies/downloadDocument.cfm?id=99
71
http://www.doeni.gov.uk/invasive_alien_species_strategy_consultation_document.pdf
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The regulatory bodies responsible for this measure are the relevant Defra agencies
(e.g. Cefas for imports of fish), Marine Scotland, the Welsh Government and DOENI.
Management of ballast water
Non-indigenous species can be transported into the UK via the ballast water of ships
and these species can cause significant adverse environmental and economic
effects. The UK is a signatory to the International Convention for the Control and
Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, otherwise known as the Ballast
Water Management Convention, which aims to ‘prevent the potentially devastating
effects of the spread of harmful aquatic organisms carried by ships' ballast water
from one region to another’72. This requires all signatories to adopt a ballast water
and sediment management plan. The UK is not intending to ratify this convention in
the near future as it has outstanding concerns related to enforcement and
sampling73.
Costs: A legally binding ballast water management plan is not yet in place in the UK.
However, shipping agents, ship owners and masters of UK Flag vessels are strongly
urged to follow the existing and operational guidance in the 1997 ‘Guidelines for the
Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water to Minimize the Transfer of Harmful
Aquatic Organisms and Pathogens’. Under this Guideline, ships are required to
carry ballast water management plans which include ballast water management for
safe ballast water exchange at sea74. The last of these guidelines are expected to
be agreed upon by the end of 2012. The UK has also been developing a regional
Ballast Water Management Strategy for the North East Atlantic75 as part of
international commitments. The role of this strategy is to allow provisional
procedures to be put in place, but this strategy tries to reduce the risk of introduction
rather than completely eliminate the risk of introduction.
As vessels are currently not legally bound to use specific ballast water treatment
technologies. The costs of ballast water management vary according to how ballast
water is managed and treated. If a specific statutory plan on ballast water
management is put in place as an additional measure under the MSFD, the
Department of Transport and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency will incur costs in
developing and implementing this plan. There might also be costs incurred by these
regulators in enforcing and possibly monitoring for compliance. On the other hand,
the costs incurred by the owners or managers of vessels may be related to time
72
http://www.imo.org/About/Conventions/ListOfConventions/Pages/International-Convention-for-the-Control-andManagement-of-Ships%27-Ballast-Water-and-Sediments-(BWM).aspx
73
74
75
Godfrey Souter, Department for Transport, personal communication, January 2012
Maritime and Coastguard Agency Marine Guidance Note 81 (M+F)
http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/0607_ballast_water.pdf
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spent reporting and recording ballast water unloading activities, or the fees payable
to use ballast water reception facilities, but these will depend on the exact
requirements put in place in the management plan.
Additional management of hull cleansing, e.g. Making biofouling guidelines
mandatory
Currently, there are no mandatory or common guidelines that cover how vessels are
cleaned from biofouling. There is some advice available on how to clean boats
responsibly (i.e. lessen the risk of introducing non-indigenous species) but these are
usually provided by non-governmental organisations. There is also an existing
government initiative to stop the spread of invasive aquatic species76. This is
targeted mainly to smaller vessels and individuals not to larger ships and vessels.
Costs: If a guideline on hull cleansing is developed, this would need to be applied
permanently to cover all marinas, ports and harbours in the UK. The initial cost to
the regulator, possibly the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, will be the cost of
drawing up these guidelines. There may be additional costs due to monitoring (i.e.
that guidelines are being followed). As for the owners or operators of vessels, the
costs incurred will depend on what has been set out in the guidelines. For example,
if the guidelines require vessel owners/operators to keep records of the hull cleaning
activities, then this will result in time costs for keeping records. Also, if they are
required to use certain equipment or techniques in removing biofouling, then this will
incur costs as well.
Mandatory use of biosecure treatment facilities in marinas
Vessels (mostly those that are less than 1500 gross weight tonnes) are treated from
biofouling either by scrubbing the hull whilst the vessel is in the water or by removing
the vessel from the water. However, there is evidence that removing vessels from
the water for treatment has the risk of introducing (mobile) non-indigenous species
(Coutts et al, 2010). The use of biosecure treatment facilities aims to reduce this risk
of introduction.
Costs: If this management measure is implemented, then this would need to be
applied permanently to all marinas and ports in the UK and compliance will be
monitored by local port/marina/harbour authorities or the Maritime and Coastguard
Agency.
There is no available evidence on the current use of biosecure treatment facilities in
the UK. There is an available ‘closed-loop system’ that removes the risk of anti-foul
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paint residues being introduced into the environment from the water used to wash
the vessel down77. This system, however, does not aim to eliminate the risk of NIS
being released into the water during the hull cleansing process.
An estimation of the costs of enclosed treatment facilities for yachts (i.e. the costs of
components and the different configurations, and operational costs) has been done
by Aquenal Pty Ltd (2009) in New Zealand78. However, directly translating these
costs into costs for the UK may be a bit misleading since some of the costs
considered are shipping costs from Australia to New Zealand of the components (as
most of them come from Australia) and the cost of operating the systems (e.g. cost
of labour and rent fees in marinas) between the UK and New Zealand will be
considerably different. Additionally, some of the equipment (e.g. pipes, pumps) and
cleaning solutions (e.g. vinegar, acetic acid) are widely available in the UK and will
also vary in cost. Table A13-2 shows the costs of the different system
configurations, excluding shipping and installation costs. It has to be pointed out that
there is very low confidence in the applicability of these costs in the UK because of
the reasons stated above.
If the provision of these facilities is the responsibility of port authorities, then the
majority of the cost of provision may come from the costs of acquiring and installing
the facility and the cost of managing it. There may also be a cost attributable to
monitoring compliance. However, these costs may be recovered by charging
vessels for the use of the facilities. As for the vessels which use the treatment
facilities, then the costs involved will be the user fee (annual or pay per use), labour
or time costs (for cleaning the vessel) and the cost of other materials used for
cleaning.
77
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opAntifoulFactSheet.pdf
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Table A13-2. Cost for the three IMProtector configuration systems
Item
Cost inflated to 2011 prices, £ (£1= NZ$
2)
Mobile System
15 x 6 metres IMProtector
Pump – petrol – 4 hp 600 L/min 50 mm
Filter – cartridge – 14.5 kg – 500 L/min – 50 mm
Plumbing – Flexible pipe and strainer box
Total cost
5,191
465
296
27
5,979
Canister system installed in a permanent marina berth
15 x 6 m Roll-up IMProtector
3,633
Canister and reel
19,888
Canister mounting
635
Mixing tank – 900 L plastic rainwater tank
264
Scavenger tank – 2100 L plastic rainwater tank
422.5
Pump – electric – 600 L/min – 50 mm
620
Filter – sand – 440 kg – 500 L/min – 50 mm
1,344
Plumbing – 48 m pipe, 6 valves, 6 x 90 angles, 4 x 374
T joiners, 5 m flexible pipe, strainer box
Total cost
27,180.5
Canister system installed in an independently moored marina berth
15 x 6 m Roll-up IMProtector
3,633
Canister and reel
19,888
Canister mounting
635
Independent marina berth
22,409
Swing mooring for independent marina berth
10,324
Pile mooring for independent marina berth
6,538
Mixing tank – 425 L plastic rainwater tank
193
Scavenger tank – 900 L plastic rainwater tank
264
Pump – petrol – 4 hp 600 L/min 50 mm
465
Filter – cartridge – 14.5 kg – 500 L/min – 50 mm
296
Plumbing – 24 m pipe, 6 valves, 6 x 90 angles, 4 x 370
T joiners, 5 m flexible pipe, strainer box
Total cost for system moored on piles
54,691
Total cost for system moored on swing mooring 58,477
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Mandatory guidance on small vessel water exchange
The Ballast Water Management Convention focuses mainly on ballast water of ships,
as these are larger in volume and they travel great distances which means that the
ballast water they take in is from a different ecosystem than where they release this
water. This ballast water has a greater risk of carrying “stowaways” and then
introducing them into other ecosystems. However, small vessels such as yachts
also carry ballast water to aid with stability and this ballast water also has the
potential to carry non-indigenous species.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Marine Guidance Note 363 (M+F) - The
Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments - has been
developed for ships and larger vessels and do not directly cover smaller ones.
Costs: If a mandatory guidance on small vessel ballast water exchange is to be
created, the initial cost will lie in the development of this guidance and the Maritime
and Coastguard Agency will incur this cost. The implementation of this management
measure would need to be throughout the UK and would be permanent.
Owners/operators of small vessels will also incur costs associated with the time
involved in filling out forms and in the process of water exchange, especially if this
exchange can only be done in a certain area in or outside the marina. Additionally,
they may have to pay a fee to use any facilities/equipment which are built specifically
for small vessel ballast water exchange.
Mandatory codes of practice for limiting spread of NIS (e.g. on aquaculture
movements)
Article 9.3.1 of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries states that
efforts should be undertaken to minimize the harmful effects of introducing nonnative species or genetically altered stocks used for aquaculture including culturebased fisheries into waters, especially where there is a significant potential for the
spread of such non-native species or genetically altered stocks into waters under the
jurisdiction of other States as well as waters under the jurisdiction of the State of
origin79. However, in the UK, there is no mandatory existing code of practice for the
aquaculture industry on fish movements in order to limit the spread of NIS.
In the UK, movements of live aquaculture products (e.g. fish, shellfish, baitworms)
are monitored by the relevant Fish Health Inspectorates - Marine Scotland for
Scotland, Cefas for England and Wales and the Department for Agriculture and
Rural development in Northern Ireland (DARDNI). These bodies perform
inspections/checks on aquaculture products that are transported within the country,
and those that are imported. In England and Wales, aquaculture production
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businesses (APBs) need a ‘Section 30’ consent from the Environment Agency before
live fish is moved to and from any inland waters80.
There are several existing legislations that cover aquaculture and the keeping and
transport of non-native species, such as the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act and
the prohibition of Keeping and Release of Live Fish (Specified Species) Order 1998
(as amended). These, in a way, limit the spread of non-indigenous species into the
wild.
Costs: This management measure, if implemented, would be permanently applicable
to all UK aquaculture production businesses. The likely governmental bodies that
would draw up this code of practice would be Defra, Marine Scotland, the Welsh
Government and DARDNI, and monitoring (for compliance) will likely to be under the
remit of the Fish Health Inspectorates.
The initial cost would lie in the creation of a code of practice and it is likely that there
would be consultations with the aquaculture industry and other stakeholders (e.g.
angling industry), implying significant time costs. There would also be costs involved
in monitoring compliance and costs involved in possible prosecutions/charges to
those who are caught violating.
It has to be pointed out that the keeping and transport/movements of aquaculture
products, especially non-native aquaculture products, already require licenses - in
England, aquaculture production businesses are required to have the Imports of Live
Fish Act (ILFA) License, the Wildlife and Countryside Act (WCA) License and the
Section 30 Consent, depending on the nature of their business and where the fish
are kept/released. For the aquaculture industry, the costs would depend on the
details of the code of practice. If they are required to keep records of fish
movements, then the cost will be none or minimal as this is already required by
some existing legislation (e.g. ILFA). On the other hand, if the code of practice
requires APBs to use certain technology/equipment to prevent the
escape/unintentional introduction of a non-native species, then there would be a cost
attributed to this.
Planned changes in aquaculture regulation or those that are currently being
amended will also affect decisions on whether to draw up a code of practice for
aquaculture. This is because a mandatory code of practice could be seen as an
extra ‘regulatory burden’ on the industry, if put in place, and because regulations
may be adequate in controlling the release of NIS into the wild.
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5.2 Fisheries management measures
Management measures to control the adverse impacts of fisheries are a key aspect
of controlling several of the pressures considered above, in particular physical loss
and damage to the seabed, other physical disturbance and biological disturbance.
The 2-3 March 2011 Cefas measures workshop covered a range of measures
relating to fisheries under the seabed disturbance and biological disturbance
pressures. However, in order to consider the impacts on the sector as a whole, the
measures involving fisheries are considered together here.
The list of potential fisheries measures considered is in Table A13-3.
Table A13-3. Potential Fisheries Measures to Address Impacts on the Seabed and Biological Features
Measure
Ban of fishing gears that are most damaging to the seabed
Modification of fishing gear that are most damaging to the seabed
Spatial restriction on areas that trawling/scallop dredging is
allowed
Fisheries management regime (Quotas)
Fishing for litter scheme
Gear restrictions/modifications to prevent by-catch of mammals
Less destructive fishing gear
Rights-based management
Capacity control measures
Removing tax exemption on diesel
Other effort restrictions
Technical measures, e.g. Gear, mesh size, selectivity, etc.
Measures to protect key shellfish life stages
Size restrictions, e.g. Min/max landing sizes
Stock enhancement
Measures re: seabed
habitats
Measures re: biological
disturbance
As shown in Table A13-3 the measures are divided into two groups, covering seabed
habitats and biological disturbance. Many of these measures are extremely complex
to assess, with impacts on certain fishing activity, potential consequences in terms of
displacement of fishing effort and gear conflicts, and indirect effects on upstream and
downstream activities on land all needing consideration. There are also significant
overlaps, and synergies, between the potential measures within these groups. For
these reasons not all of the measures were considered in detail. At this stage,
analysis is proposed to involve detailed modelling of certain scenarios that represent
a combination of some of these measures.
Measures re: Seabed Habitat
The proposed measures in this group relate to the control of mobile demersal gear
(MDG), either through bans, modifications or spatial restrictions, or through quotas
that limit catches of species targeted using MDG. To analyse these measures a
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theoretical scenario has been developed that may be indicative of the scale of
measures that could potentially be put in place.

Ban on fishing gear that are most damaging to the seabed
The 2-3 March 2011 Cefas measures workshop identified that the most damaging
fishing gears are mobile gears that have contact with the seabed – mobile demersal
gears (MDGs). MDGs cause the removal of physical features, as well as altering
both structural biota and habitat complexity, affecting the overall productivity of
fishery. The control of damaging fishing gears, therefore, is considered as a
potential management measure to minimise these pressures and improve the
environmental status on the following descriptors: D1 – Biodiversity; D4 - Food webs
and D6 - Sea floor integrity.
The study, European Marine Sites Risk Review81, undertaken by Natural England,
reviews the risk from all ongoing activities within European Marine Sites (EMS), in
order to identify and prioritise action required to ensure site features are maintained
or restored to favourable condition. The initial assessment indicated that 33 EMS
were potentially subject to pressures from commercial fishing and all had potential to
be at medium or high risk of significant effect. One of the activities considered as
posing the highest risk to EMS was fishing with towed gear.
The study mentioned above and the 2-3 March 2011 Cefas measures workshop
confirm the evidence that MDGs have a significant impact on the status of the
marine environment, in relation to several of the GES descriptors of the MSFD.
Therefore, this analysis examines the impacts of potential fisheries measure to
control MDGs. This does not imply that such a measure will necessarily be
implemented or should be preferred over other potential management measures, but
it represents an area where some management action needs to be considered and
more information on the potential effects of some illustrative measures are needed.
The potential management measure examined is a ban on the use of MDGs over a
portion of the seabed. We use proposed Marine Conservation Zones (pMCZs) in
non-Scottish UK waters as representative areas of the seabed and because new
management measures are likely to build on existing management measures.
The formulation of this management measure is driven by a number of factors. It
examines a ban because there are already some fisheries controls in place for other
reasons, and looking at further permutations of those would provide less new
information. A ban is also likely to be preferable on environmental grounds, as
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reductions of use (rather than bans) of MDGs lead to a less than proportionate
reduction in damage to the seabed (as the first contact with the seabed does more
damage than subsequent contacts) and so is unlikely to be cost-effective. However,
it should be noted that banning MDGs within all MCZs is just one possible scenario
that lies at the extreme end of a scale of potential management measures for MCZs.
Costs: The analysis performs a modelling exercise to analyse the potential economic
costs of the potential management measure to ban MDGs. The aim of this modelling
is to estimate the impact of the measure on the contribution that fisheries make to
the UK economy – estimated in terms of changes in gross value added (GVA).
The impacts are assessed relative to a baseline of the current situation. This may
not be realistic given the ongoing process of CFP reform but is a necessary
simplification for this analysis. The costs identified, therefore, represent the total
costs of this potential management measure, rather than the additional costs of
adopting it for the purposes of implementation of the MSFD. The baseline against
which its impacts should be considered is in reality uncertain, as further
management of fisheries activity in pMCZs is a possibility. Bans on all fishing gears
are expected with ‘Reference areas’ with MCZs, but as these make up around 3% of
the total area of MCZs, their effect on the analysis is minimal. Therefore, the
baseline has not been adjusted to take into account management measures in
reference areas.
Fishing businesses will adapt to any additional management measures in different
ways and it is difficult to predict whether, and to what extent, the contribution that
fisheries make to the UK economy is affected. The impacts of the measure arise
from changes in fishing levels and patterns, steaming time, species targeted,
landings, gear types used and also from changes within the capacity of the fishing
fleet. Because of the paucity of relevant data and difficulties in predictions of
behavioural changes, the economic costs of impacts of banning MDGs within pMCZs
are estimated as the loss in GVA based on the estimated average GVA for the UK
national fleet. GVA has been estimated to be 40% of total fleet earnings in 2005200782.
The economic costs of the potential management measure to ban all MDGs within
pMCZs are estimated by calculating the:

Level of fishing effort and value of landings from use of MDGs in the proposed
MCZs.
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
Assuming that under a ban, 0-50% of this activity would continue elsewhere in
UK waters, and 25-75% would cease to occur (would be lost to the economy).

25% of the effort would be displaced into use of static gears in areas where
this was not previously possible due to conflicts between static gear and
MDGs.
The estimated impacts have a range of £0.201 million and £0.716 million per annum
for vessels over 15m. For vessels under 15m, the results range between £0.193
million and a £0.563 million. Total costs could, therefore, range from approximately
£0.393 million to £1.278 million loss of GVA, per year.
These ranges are large and reflect the potential high and low extremes of impacts.
There may also be additional costs relating to impacts on the landings of MDG
vessels and on the entire fishing industry, which is not captured in the data used for
this analysis.
It must be noted that to make this measure effective would require it to apply to all
vessels using UK waters and not just UK vessels. Therefore, it would need to be
agreed at European level.
It must be stressed that the estimation of economic costs is based on data that has
limitations and assumptions, which has to be recognised when interpreting these
results. Appendix 14 gives details of the methodology, assumptions and data used
for the estimation of economic costs. For the purpose of this analysis, we consider
outputs to be representative of the activities potentially affected. The confidence
level, that the actual cost of potential management measures would be expected to
fall within the ranges estimated, is medium to low. However, the results suggest that
reducing the use of most damaging gears, and the possibility of substituting them
with less damaging gears, should be investigated in more detail.
Area: proposed Marine Conservation Zones (pMCZs) boundaries in English inshore
waters and offshore waters next to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Modification of fishing gears that are most damaging to the seabed:
This measure involves alterations to mobile demersal gear, rather than banning it as
considered above. Both the costs and benefits of this measure would be expected
to be lower than the costs of a ban. Benefits would be lower because disturbance to
seabed habitats would still take place. Costs would be lower because the reduction
in GVA from the fishing industry would be expected to be smaller, although the oneoff costs of changing fishing gears could be significant, particularly if undertaken over
shorter timescales than exiting cycles of reinvesting in fishing gear.
It should be noted that the relatively high costs of fuel is already creating a transition
to lighter (and therefore lower fuel cost) towed gears (e.g. in the Dutch Fleet where
beam trawlers are switching to otter trawling).
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Area: All UK waters
Measures re: Biological Disturbance
As described above, there are numerous overlapping potential measures to analyse
here. The key measures that will be investigated are:

Limits to landings to restore stocks.
Consideration of this issue is difficult due to the uncertainties about appropriate
targets for many of the UK’s commercial fish and shellfish species. However, some
consideration of the relative value of the stocks and landings, and possible
implications of CFP measures (e.g. discard ban), is needed. The modelling within
the eftec work for the Pew Trust (eftec, 2008) contains data on the level of reduction
of catch necessary to allow stock recovery, so this can be used as a proxy for the
short-term costs of achieving GES for descriptor 3 - Fisheries.

Technical measures – such as changes to fishing gear and minimum and
maximum landing sizes.
Technical measures are a catch-all term for the whole range of rules governing how
and where fishers may fish. Technical measures include: minimum/maximum
landing sizes, minimum mesh sizes for nets, closed areas and seasons, limits on bycatch, requirements to use more selective fishing gear (to reduce unwanted bycatch) and measures to prevent damage to the marine environment. Technical
measures differ considerably from one sea basin to another, according to the local
conditions.
Costs: The assessment of these types of measures is a complicated process and
requires detailed information to estimate the likely environmental, social and
economic effects, hence not considered within this analysis. However, a number of
measures that could be attributed to this category are to a certain extent explored in
the Impact Assessments (IAs) for many of the Special Areas of Conservation (SACs)
designated or proposed in the UK waters. These IAs give the hypothetical estimates
of a number of technical measures that were analysed and included as potential
management measures applicable to the UK SACs. Note that these measures,
included in Table A13-4, are not all the measures considered in these IAs, but
examples for selected SACs to illustrate the likely ranges of costs to fishers if
additional measures of such type would be implemented due to MSFD. The likely
impacts of management measures analysed in these IAs have been informed by the
outcomes of previous implementations of similar management measures in order to
estimate the potential costs.
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Table A13-4. Economic costs to fishers of impacts of technical measures
SACs
Inner Dowsing,
Race Bank and
North Ridge SAC
final IA
Lune Deep,
Prawle Point
SAC final IA
Margate and
Long Sands SAC
Final IA
Lyme Bay and
Torbay SAC
Final IA
Measure
Increase minimum landing size and
introduce maximum landing size for
crustaceans.
Costs (approx.)
£0.004 – 0.1 million per year
3-month spatial closure of sensitive
areas to all gears except potting. This
aims to protect spawning/nursery
grounds
Cap on mortality consequent of all
activity except for potting; effort reduced
by 25% (targeting effort reduces
discarding of by-catch).
Cap on the number of pots deployed for
crustaceans; reduction by 50%.
Cap on mortality consequent of all gear
with any bottom contact excluding
potting; mortality reduced by 25%.
Cap on mortality consequent of all
activity; effort reduced by 25%. This
aims to reduce the biomass of typical
species taken from the site by reducing
mortality.
£0.002 - 0.129 million of landings
per year
£0.129 million of landings per year
£0.008 – 0.330 million of landing
per year
£0.129 million of landings per year
£0.003 of landings per year

Removal of tax-free diesel.
Appendix 15 provides some analysis of the percentage of fisheries costs related to
fuel and how removal of the current tax exemption would change that cost. There
are pros and cons to fuel tax subsidy for the fishing industry. The pro is that the
industry should not be contributing towards some of the costs linked to road fuel tax,
such as maintenance of the road network. Cons are that it provides incentives for
the industry to use more fuel than they would if the cost of fuel included tax. This
results in environmental impacts in terms of:



increased carbon emissions;
exacerbating over-fishing (with negative impacts on stocks, by-catch and the
wider marine environment) as it lowers fishing input costs, resulting in an
industry with greater catching capacity than if the subsidies did not exist; and
making higher-energy forms of fishing relatively more affordable. Higherenergy fishing methods are associated with specific aspects of environmental
damage from fishing, in particular mobile demersal gear transfer energy to the
seabed, causing physical damage and loss.
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The impacts of removing the UK fishing industry tax exemption such that they paid
the same reduced tax rate as in agriculture could reduce profitability for most
segments of the fishing fleet. For a minority of less profitable segments, reductions
would be potentially equivalent to total profits – if these fishing segments could not
adjust, their viability would be affected. However, Seafish research evidence83 on
the response of the fishing industry to increased fuel prices shows they can reduce
fuel use (per tonne of fish landed). The most common changes to do this were:
changing trip planning practices, reducing towing and/or steaming speeds, changing
landing port, replacing the engine, changing fishing method, changing target species,
stopping fishing temporarily, modifying gear and undertaking preventative
maintenance. A key factor in the impacts on competitiveness would be whether the
UK acted unilaterally, disadvantaging UK fishing vessels, compared to other
countries fleets that enjoy fuel subsidies, or could act in a coordinated manner, for
example through the CFP.

Measures to minimise seabird by-catch
The UK’s marine environment holds internationally important numbers of birds.
These seabirds can suffer incidental mortality in fishing operations. Seabirds come
into conflict with fisheries when they forage behind vessels for bait and fish waste
(they can become ensnared by the hooks), or becoming entangled in trawl nets
during shooting and hauling, or killed by collision with warp cable. It is argued that
such seabird by-catch is unnecessary and could be significantly alleviated by
adopting scientifically proven, practical and cost-effective mitigation measures, or
combinations of mitigation measures. The evidence shows that those fisheries that
had already enforced implementation of appropriate best-practice mitigation
measures managed substantially to reduce the problem of seabird by-catch
(Anderson et al, 2011).
Whilst much of the in-depth work has taken place elsewhere, i.e. the southern
ocean, there has to date been little effort placed to develop a clear and coherent plan
to tackle by-catch of seabirds at an EU level (Defra, 2010). The UK government and
Devolved Administrations have been active in promoting the need to reduce bycatch, predominantly through the membership of the international Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) and domestic measures of closure
or restriction of fisheries activities during certain time periods, i.e. St. Ives Bay Gillnet
Fishery Byelaw and Filey Fisheries Byelaw (Defra, 2010). However, given the likely
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extent of the problem, the focus is still to identify and institute the broad use of
methods that will abate unnecessary by-catch of seabirds within UK waters.
The alleviation of the pressure stems from a decrease in fishing effort and/or greater
and more effective use of technical mitigation measures. Decrease in fishing effort
can a have substantial adverse impact on industry and therefore may not be
potentially disproportionately costly. Recognising the likely opposition by industry,
the further focus is on the use of technical mitigation measures rather than decrease
in fishing effort.
It is shown that the use of technical mitigation measures, when used consistently,
may reduce the number of seabirds killed and, at the same time, promote seabirdfriendly fisheries. There are several technical measures that could be considered
and implemented in the UK. For instance, mitigation measures that are tested in
trawl or longline fisheries84. The former fishery measures are either based on the
principle of deterring birds from coming into contact with gear or reducing the
attractiveness of the vessel by managing the discharge of offal/factory waste.
Meanwhile, mitigation measures of by-catch in longline fishery are designed to
prevent contact between seabirds and hooks during their sinking period, i.e.
underwater setting, or setting nets at night rather than day time. It is important to
note here that this example demonstrates that there is no one size fits all approach.
Therefore, the technical measures, if instituted, should be based on the specifics of
the by-catch problem and the fishery that is likely to be obliged to use these
measures.
Costs: the evidence of economic costs as a result of this measure is poor as many
fisheries do not use the recommended best-practice mitigation measures (Anderson
et al, 2011). Despite this, it is clear that the costs of different mitigation measures to
alleviate seabird by-catch will vary greatly as some of the measures, like underwater
setting, can be relatively costly (approximately £ 108,800 per vessel, assuming that
$1=£0.544), others, like night setting, are much less expensive and in some casescost neutral (Defra, 2010). Gilman et al (2005) argues that some measures
increases fishing efficiency, are practical and cost effective and, therefore, may have
a potential common interest between conservation and fishery management
perspectives. As the loss of bait to seabirds and concomitant reduction in fish and
time lost through removing dead birds from nets can be significant, the use of
seabird by-catch mitigation measures could be expected to be cost-saving (Gilman
et al, 2005). However, before implementing any mitigation measures, the impacts
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and applicability needs to be assessed in depth whilst further considering the
economic impacts on affected fishing vessels, the practicality of measures and any
safety implications, if relevant, before any judgement is made.
Area: All UK waters

Gear restrictions/modifications to prevent by-catch of mammals
The incidental capture of marine mammals in fishing gear can result in significant
impacts on their populations and subsequently alter the overall biodiversity of a
fishery (i.e. due to the removal of top predators). The most frequent by-catch of
dolphins and porpoises is detectable in certain static net fisheries with less frequent
by-catch in some pelagic trawl fisheries in the UK waters. There is ongoing research
to understand how and why animals get caught and how this problem could be
prevented. Experiments are already being set to test acoustic warning devices.
Some of the acoustic warning devices appear to be effective to minimize by-catch,
but there are still challenges to be addressed such as the optimal spacing for
acoustic warning devices, including research into alternative mitigation measures of
by-catch of cetaceans, if this issue is to be resolved in the long term.
Costs: costs depend on what types of gears are restricted and likely substitution
effects or, if gears are modified to mitigate by-catch, capital costs to switch to a
modified gear that is more environmentally friendly. A modification may consist of a
slight change (i.e. the use of pingers). If this is the case the introduction of minor
modification implies a one-off, up front financial investment (that could be partially or
totally subsidised), but long-term variable costs of the vessels are not likely to be
affected as the total catches should remain the same. If the modification of gear
requires substantial change, the capital costs automatically increase, increasing the
short term financial burden to vessel owners. (Note: Section 2.2 of this appendix
contains some information on cost implications of use of pingers)
Area: All UK waters

Rights based fishery management
This management measure should aim to create a system that provides correct
incentives to deliver optimal wealth from fish resources and supports a market of
individual transferable quotas (ITQs). ITQs may promote economic efficiency and
inter-temporal sustainable use of fishery resources.
Costs: it is arguable that if an ITQ system existed at certain cost levels, owners
would be prepared to coordinate the fishery with others jointly and perform what are
now regarded as government functions (i.e. result in cost savings in fisheries
management). Also, if it delivered its objectives, this measure might result in
significant cost savings in daily fishing activities to the industry. The costs of
management measures of this type are highly complex and strongly linked to CFP
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reform options. Overall this potential measure could reduce financial costs by
creating a more efficient consolidated industry, but could increase socio-economic
costs.
Area: All UK waters

Fleet control capacity measures
The rationale behind having fleet capacity control measures is to secure sustainable
exploitation of fishing stocks. In order to achieve this, the fishing fleet has to be
aligned with the available stocks they target.
Fishing capacity can be defined as an input or an output. To accommodate these
two ways, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has adopted a definition that
captures both: the amount of fish (or fishing effort) that can be produced of a period
of time (e.g. a year or a fishing season) by a vessel or a fleet if fully utilized and for a
given resource condition85
In the UK, the MMO, Marine Scotland and the Department of Agriculture and Rural
Development Northern Ireland are responsible for managing the UK fleet capacity,
i.e. monitoring boats entering and leaving the industry, their composition, etc. The
current measures might be more successful if narrowed down to a given area or
fishery while making allowance for the possible switch of capacity between fisheries
and areas. The effect of the measures might significantly vary within the range of
small to large effect depending how much the fleet is reduced by.
Fleet capacity may decrease as fishing opportunities decrease. However, this
reduction in fleet capacity significantly lags behind the reduction in opportunity. The
decommissioning of fishing vessels scheme 200786 objective was to provide vessel
owners with the opportunity to take a business decision about whether to remain in
the fishery on the basis of a long-term view of prospects for the fishery under the
terms of proposed fishery management plan. Simply, it was meant to reduce the
previously described lag. It was recognised that some vessel owners could not
afford to leave the industry because of their levels of debt; others had overly
optimistic expectations about fishing opportunities in the future and others may have
remained in the expectation of a further decommissioning scheme.
This particular scheme was targeted at beam trawlers fishing in Area VIIe (Western
English Channel) with particular regulated gears. The estimated economic costs
85
http://www.fao.org/fishery/topic/14856/en85 http://www.fao.org/fishery/topic/14856/en
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20081023151136/opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/em/uksiem_20070
312_en.pdf
86
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suggested no direct financial costs for vessel owners and government expenditure of
up to £5 million (envisaging that this would enable 8 – 10 vessels to be
decommissioned).
The estimated economic benefits were that any vessel owner in receipt of a
decommissioning grant, irrespective of the option taken, would benefit from receiving
the grant money and retain the economic value of the Fixed Quota Allocations
previously attached to their vessel, which could either be leased or sold. Responses
to the consultation suggested that vessel owners would bid for decommissioning
grant in the region of £3000 - £3500/ vessel tonne. Based on the average tonnage
of vessels in this sector, a successful bid of £3500 would on average yield £325,500.
However, at the top end of vessel tonnage, a successful bid could yield £1,305,500.
It was acknowledged that the withdrawal of active vessels and associated licenses
together with the plan that included a cut in days at sea would have a small
beneficial effect on the stocks of sole with positive benefit to marine fauna and flora.
The costs of management measures of this type are highly complex and strongly
linked to CFP reform options.
Costs: One-off.
Area: All UK waters

Use of less destructive fishing gear
All fishing activities have some impact on the marine ecosystems and it is well
described in the literature. These impacts may include reduction of targeted and
non-target species, modification or destruction of the habitat, modification of the food
chain, etc. These effects may largely be controlled if the use of less destructive
fishing gear is adopted that may be based on specific features of biodiversity within a
specified fishery. Favouring a less destructive fishing gear may result in significant
benefits to the natural marine ecosystem. However, the least destructive fishing
gears often require more time and energy (i.e. hook, line), or involve higher capital
costs (i.e. long-line, deepwater net) increasing overall fishing costs.
Costs: In order to identify the costs, further research is needed to identify possible
substitution effects based on specific fishing grounds. The scenarios analysed
above to ban MDGs within pMCZs illustrates the potential impacts with regard to this
measure if the switch from MDGs to static gears is considered.
Areas: All UK waters

Measures to protect key shellfish life stages
This measure relates primarily to prohibitions on the landing of certain crustaceans
when they are ovigerous (carrying or bearing eggs). A prohibition on landing
ovigerous (berried) edible crabs is contained in UK National and local legislation
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implemented by sea fisheries committees/IFCAs. Similarly, ovigerous lobsters are
protected by local legislation in several, but not all, of the IFCA areas.
Further measures to protect the landings of ovigerous lobsters nationally could
increase the long-term benefits for all lobster fishermen, as well as local economies.
Costs: This measure may have relatively low cost, assuming there would be a
marginal effort effect of going beyond what we already do.
Area: All UK waters

Stock enhancement
The process of releasing cultured fish to increase yields beyond levels supported by
natural recruitment is called ‘stock enhancement’. It is basically a strategy for
replenishing depleted marine fish stocks. Despite clear rationale and potential
benefits, the population dynamics with fisheries stock enhancement and potential of
increased benefits is not well understood and actual performance of this measure
has been mixed87. There are several programs for stock enhancement of demersal
marine species that were documented to have encouraging rates of survival of
released juveniles and were reported to be economically viable88. In other cases,
high production costs for producing juveniles, or low survival rates, indicated that
stock enhancement was not a viable option.
Economic costs and benefits of stock enhancement should be assessed at all stages
of the measure, and it also involves bio-economic modelling. Basically, the
economic feasibility of fisheries stock enhancement is highly dependent on the tradeoffs between the costs of fishing and hatchery releases. Also, the economics of
enhancement should be compared with other alternatives such as habitat protection,
fishery regulation, and stricter enforcement.
Costs: the costs of releasing fish (one-off) and additional management if required
(annual). In general, the costs are fishery specific and should be valued on the case
by case basis identifying key parameters to which economic viability of stock
enhancement programmes is especially sensitive. Economic feasibility of
enhancement is subject to strong constraints, including trade-offs between the costs
of fishing and hatchery releases. Costs of hatchery fish strongly influence optimal
87
Lorenzen, K. (2005).Population dynamics and potential of fisheries stock enhancement: practical
theory for assessment and policy analysis. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of
London, Series B 260: 171-189
88
Munro, J.L., Bell, J.D (1997). Enhancement of marine fisheries resources. Reviews in Fisheries
Science, 1064-1262, Volume 5, Issue 2, 185-222.
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policy, which may range from no enhancement at high cost to high levels of stocking
and fishing effort at low cost.
There is some scientific evidence that hatchery reared European lobsters usually
survive and grow if released into the sea. Lee (1994) developed a model to assess
the benefits and costs of lobster stock enhancement programme involving the
release of 500,000 juveniles per annum with a recapture rate of 10% and a delay
between release and recapture of 5 years89. The benefit – cost ratio is estimated to
be 0.312 with a discount rate of 5% implying that the total costs outweigh the
benefits. The argument for this programme is that there should be significant
improvements to reduce the total cost of juvenile production and recapture rates to
make this programme economically viable.
Area: All UK waters (spatial dimension)

Increased incentives for aquaculture of commercial species
Some Devolved Administrations within the UK facilitate, or are in the process of
facilitating, strategies for aquaculture to expand within their regions. Technical
issues are unlikely to be long term barriers to developing aquaculture in the UK but
for strategies to succeed there is a need for economic and legislative support that
enables the sector to compete with other forms of food production. The research is
already undertaken to improve aquaculture perspectives to grow and develop
further. For instance, the English Aquaculture plan is a stakeholder led plan to
enable further aquaculture development. Government helped to facilitate this and
will be consulting on it shortly but it is not a government plan implying that there is a
scope for additional management measure.
Costs: There may be additional costs to MSFD to further promote aquaculture.
Deeper analysis and research is required.
Area: All UK
89
Whitmarsh, D. (2001). Economic analysis of marine ranching. CEMARE Res. pap. no.152.
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Appendix 14 - Method and data used for estimating the economic
costs of the potential management measure to ban use of mobile
demersal gears (MDGs)
This section describes how the primary fishing data available has been processed to
estimate the value of landings affected by a potential ban on MDGs in proposed
Marine Conservations Zones (MCZs) in English waters. Spatially, the measure is
modelled by applying it to the proposed MCZ boundaries in English inshore waters
and offshore waters next to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It has not been
applied to the whole of the UK marine environment as it was considered unrealistic,
not least because it could be disproportionately costly. Due to this, some subset of
the UK marine environment needed to be identified, representing a significant
minority of the UK seabed. The approach to modelling is to use the existing area of
proposed MCZs. This is because these areas have already been identified as
having some environmental value, and they are already proposed to be subject to
management regimes, making further measures based on the same area more
efficient than those based on different boundaries.
There is also likely to be an overlap between proposed MCZs and Natura 2000 sites.
For the purpose of this socio-economic analysis, it is assumed that all Natura 2000
sites, including those with draft and possible status (assuming they will be
designated), will have management measures of banning MDG fishing in the future.
It is highly unlikely that all sites (e.g. Dogger Bank) would have such measures
implemented throughout the site as management measures depend on the special
features of those sites to be maintained in favourable condition, but for this high level
analysis we assume in our baseline that this is the case. This is in line with the
expectation that MSFD management measures will build on existing marine
management activities wherever possible.
For the purposes of this analysis, two scenarios are developed to be further
evaluated against a baseline. The rationale and strategy followed for creating the
two scenarios was to deal with high uncertainty and to provide contrast of the highlow effects of potential management measures. To assess the economic effects of
this measure, we also have to consider the potential redistribution of fishing effort
and possible changes in the composition of the fishing fleet. For instance, in
considering a ban, we consider alternative uses of the seabed that are not
compatible with MDGs (even at lower intensity), in particular increased use of static
gears and displaced fishing activity.
The specifics of this measure imply that a certain proportion of the use of MDGs will
be displaced to other fishing grounds, some use of MDGs will be replaced by
alternative gear (i.e. static gear) and the rest will leave the fishing fleet. It is difficult
to predict how exactly this redistribution may look; hence some expert judgment was
used to develop hypothetical scenarios for this economic analysis.
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The actual displaced fishing activity depends on the increased time and expenses
(increased steaming) and degree of profitability for moving to work on fishing
grounds not covered by a ban on mobile gears (that is a function of distance from
port, engine size/speed, fuel prices and expected catches). Meanwhile, the actual
decisions of exiting the industry for those currently using MDGs depend on market
responses; for example, changes in the market for the fish targeted (e.g. Dover sole,
plaice) and the costs of redeployment of fishing vessels. The required information to
make these estimates is often difficult to predict and value and it requires more
detailed analysis that is not within the scope of this work. To ease the analysis,
assumptions were developed to define possible scenarios based on study team
expertise and advice from MMO90.
Taking into account the specifics of the measure (i.e. a ban of MDG), the team
decided that it is reasonable to assume that at least 25% of effort affected in the Low
Case scenario and 75% of effort affected in the High Case scenario will not be
redeployed elsewhere. This is because MCZs cover a large area, therefore, the
resulting change in the size of available fishing grounds may be significant in order to
be absorbed by the industry. They are also relatively valuable habitats and therefore
relatively good for fishing.
Whether or not a vessel would switch to alternative gear, i.e. static gear, will depend
on technical feasibility and the economics of alternative fishing. A vessel that
normally uses mobile gears (trawls/dredges), depending on the layout of the deck,
should be able to move over to static gear. They would need to add a line/net hauler
to one side of the vessel, which is obviously a one-off expense, as is buying new
fishing equipment. However, some types of vessels such as Scallopers and Beam
Trawlers will be very expensive to re-rig, maybe prohibitively so.
It is also reasonable to assume that limitations on static gears will be greater than
limitations of MDGs, so static gears will not replace MDG in full. For example, static
gear may be damaged by towed gear, so may have conflicts with pelagic gears.
Sometimes these conflicts are managed by local informal agreements. The decision
to change to static gear can also be affected by the status of the stocks that can be
captured (e.g. are they quota species) or if the market is already saturated. For the
purposes of this analysis, the team assumed that 25% of the effort from MDGs in
both scenarios is moved to the use of static gear based on the arguments above.
In practice, larger vessels may find it more effective to switch grounds, whereas
smaller vessels may find it more effective to switch gears. However, this was not
considered within this analysis.
90
Neil Wellum, MMO, personal communication, 26 May, 2011
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Scenarios
The analysis develops two hypothetical scenarios to estimate the range between low
and high effects. In practice, this may not be the case but because of the overall
complexity involved in predicting the effects it is assumed to represent the most likely
outcomes.

Impact of application of the measure in the High case scenario
‐
75% loss of the MDG fishing activity due to the implementation of the potential
management measure of a ban. No displacement of MDG effort to other
fishing grounds.
‐
25% of MDG effort is diverted to the use of static gear. For vessels under
15m, as there is no VMS data, the value of landings with static gears within
the MCZs is assumed to increase by 25% of the lost value from MDGs.

Impact of application of the measure in the Low case scenario
‐
50% is displaced to areas outside of proposed MCZs, 25% of MDGs effort is
lost
‐
25% of the MDG effort is diverted to the use of static gear. Again, for vessels
under 15m, value of landings with static gears within the MCZs is assumed to
increase by 25% of the lost value from MDGs.
Data
As the potential management measure concentrates on the areas of potential Marine
Conservation Zones (pMCZS), the shapefiles of pMCZs were obtained from four
English Regional Projects covering the South-West (Finding Sanctuary Project), Irish
Sea (Irish Sea Conservation Zones), North Sea (Net Gain) and Eastern Channel
(Balanced Seas Project). The shapefiles of Natura 2000 sites were downloaded
from the JNCC website. The fisheries data per ICES rectangle was sourced
internally within Cefas.
Cefas GIS (Geographic Information System) experts have estimated the potential
overlap between pMCZs and Natura 2000 sites. It was estimated to be less than
10%. We have decided to ignore this within our analysis recognizing that we may
slightly overestimate the economic cost of the potential ban on the use of MDGs
within pMCZs as certain areas may already be subject to this measure.
Analysis of vessels with VMS data
The shapefiles of pMCZs were used by Cefas GIS experts to map the fishing effort
data for vessels over 15m per gear group to individual pMCZs. The total effort of
vessels over 15m per gear group for individual pMCZs has been estimated
separately for each pMCZ based on VMS data and held in GIS form by Cefas.
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The estimate of the total value of landings within the boundaries of pMCZs is based
on the following steps. First, the total effort that was mapped to individual pMCZs is
distributed to ICES rectangle units. Then, the effort of all pMCZs within the same
ICES rectangle is summed up. An assumption that effort is equally distributed within
pMCZs was made. This step is required because some of the pMCZ areas are
spread over more than one ICES rectangle. If a pMCZ is within more than one ICES
rectangle, the pMCZ has to be split into multiple areas located within different ICES
rectangles and effort has to be redistributed in proportion to their size. The
estimated effort in the pMCZs areas in each ICES rectangle is then summed to give
the total effort in pMCZs in each ICES rectangle. The total effort of pMCZs areas
within the same ICES rectangle is divided by the total effort within the ICES
rectangle, and this proportion is applied to the total landings value per ICES
rectangle to estimate the total landings value from the proposed pMCZs in each
ICES rectangle. This is shown in the formula below:
The value of the fishery within the areas of pMCZs in each ICES rectangle
=
{Fishing effort within the areas of pMCZs in each ICES rectangle/Total Fishing
effort within ICEs rectangle}x Landing value per ICES rectangle
This estimation is carried out separately for each gear type.
It is essential to break down pMCZs into multiple areas in each ICES rectangle as
total figures of effort intensity and landing values per gear group are recorded to the
ICES rectangle unit, hence the fishing effort data per pMCZs has to be consistent
with the ICES rectangle boundaries to attribute the value of landings to pMCZs. This
calculation gives the estimated fishing effort in all the pMCZs or parts of pMCZs in
each ICES rectangle that would be affected by a ban.
The second part of the analysis is to model the effect of the measure and estimate
the potential economic cost that could potentially arise if the measure would be
enforced. The amount of MDGs effort that has been diverted to the use of static
gear is simply the proportion (based on the scenario) of MDG effort attributed to
pMCZs per ICES rectangle. This proportion of MDG effort is added to the amount of
existing static effort attributed to pMCZs per ICES rectangle. This method is not
ideal but is the best that is feasible with the available data.
Analysis for vessels without VMS data
For vessels under 15 m, VMS data is not available as there is no legal requirement
for the smaller vessels to use the system; therefore data on fishing effort is not
available. This implies that our analysis is slightly different compared to the analysis
for vessels over 15 m.
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We used value maps on inshore fishing activities that were developed under the
MB0106 project: Further development of marine pressure data layers and ensuring
the socio-economic data and datalayers are developed for use in the planning of
marine protected area networks91. Cefas was commissioned to bring together all
sightings and boardings data and consider any other data for its suitability to be
included in the analysis to produce data layers that could be further used in different
projects when performing the analysis for vessels under 15 m. Note this project is a
separate project from ME5405. We consider the outputs (i.e. value maps) of this
project to be representative data for our analysis for vessels under 15 m. The value
maps represent a snapshot of fishing activities between 2007 and 2008, within which
variation in distribution of fishing effort is relatively low.
Cefas GIS experts were requested to map the shapefiles of pMCZs with these value
maps that were produced by redistributing fish landings value data per ICES
rectangle by the relative fishing effort per ICES rectangle. It is important to note here
that we decided not to request the relative fishing effort data as the relative fishing
effort data could not have been separated per gear groups required for our analysis.
The relative effort is not separated between mobile demersal gears and mobile
pelagic gears as the relative effort is based on the use of sightings data from patrol
vessels that are not able to identify if a vessel is targeting demersal or pelagic fish
group.
The value mapped to each pMCZ for vessels under 15 m is grouped into static and
mobile gears as mentioned before as the relative effort is not broken down into the
categories to estimate the value of landings for MDGs.
In order to account for the potential value of MDGs affected, the approximate
proportion of MDGs to mobile gears per regional sea is estimated, based on the total
value data per gear group per ICES rectangle. This proportion is applied to the
value of landings of mobile gears in each pMCZ to give a rough indication of
potential landings value for MDGs for vessels under 15 m.
Having identified the estimated MDGs values attributed to pMCZ relevant to
economic analysis, we now analyse the effects of potential management measures
under each scenario. For vessels under 15 m, we assume that the landings value of
static gear increase by 25% of the value of landings from MDGs (as there is no VMS
data for vessels under 15 m to make assumptions about effort). Lost and displaced
91
http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Document.aspx?Document=MB0106_9391_FRP.pdf
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fishing activity of MDGs is estimated as a percentage of the total value attributed to
pMCZs. Based on these figures, the net effect is calculated to estimate the total
economic cost for fishing business under 15 m.
Uncertainty and limitations of the analysis
Vessels over 15 m

Areas with effort data but without a landing value per ICES rectangle are
excluded.

Areas of Landing Value without fishing effort data are excluded.

Total effort per pMCZ is assumed to be equally distributed across the whole
area of pMCZ.

Foreign vessels have been excluded from this analysis. The activity of foreign
vessels in UK waters is also not accounted resulting in potentially significant
underestimate of the total value of landings affected due to this potential
management measure.
Vessels under 15 m

From the analysis it has become evident that there is a lack of spatial
information available regarding the fishing effort of the Non-VMS fleet (vessels
under 15 m).

The confidence in value maps used for this analysis varies spatially as they
are produced based on sightings data. The confidence in data used is based
on the frequency of patrol visits to each grid cell and the quality of the source
of UK fisheries statistics. Issues are identified with both the frequency of
patrol visits to each grid cell and the quality of the source of UK fisheries
statistics implying that confidence level may be in between low-to- medium.
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Appendix 15 - Analysis of Fuel Tax Subsidies
Environmentally harmful subsidies (EHS) are those subsidies which encourage
activity that is damaging to the environment. These have come in for increasing
attention both at a national level, in the context of the Green Economy programme,
and at a World Trade Organization (WTO) level; of particular concern here are fuel
tax subsidies to the fishing industry.
Fuel tax subsidies provide incentives for the fishing industry to use more fuel than
they would in the absence of the subsidy. This results in increased carbon
emissions and thus a direct negative environmental impact. Furthermore, the
subsidy acts to reduce costs to the industry, increasing profits, leading to greater
overall catching capacity. This exacerbates the problem of overfishing, with further
negative impacts on stocks of fish, by-catch and the wider marine environment.
When these negative impacts are not transmitted through the price system, they are
known as negative externalities.
In other words, negative externalities arise when the market price associated with
the consumption or production of a good or service reflects the private cost
encountered, and not the social cost. The solution in economic theory is to introduce
a Pigouvian tax which realigns the price of the good or service with its social cost.
This price level ensures that the level of consumption or production of the good or
service is at a socially optimal level.
Consumers in the UK pay the equivalent of 57.95 pence per litre (ppl) fuel tax on
diesel92. The fuel used by the fishing (and agricultural) industry is slightly different:
‘red diesel’ is dyed gas oil, and is taxed at a much lower rate of 11.18 ppl. This
discrepancy does not necessarily imply that red diesel is taxed too low: the higher
rate of tax which is mainly paid by private road vehicle owners could be said to
incorporate other externalities which do not apply to red diesel. These include the
costs of maintaining the road network and congestion occurring on roads; these
extra costs potentially justify a lower rate of fuel tax to agricultural and fishing uses.
Assuming that each litre of gas oil emits around 3 kg of CO2 equivalent Greenhouse
Gases (GHGs)93 directly (excluding embodied emissions) the estimated social
damage cost of using each litre is about 16 ppl94. This is clearly greater than the tax
92
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget-updates/march2011/fuel-duty.pdf
http://archive.defra.gov.uk/environment/business/reporting/pdf/101006-guidelines-ghg-conversion-factors.pdf
94
It is direct because it does not include the indirect life cycle emissions associated with producing the gas oil.
The 3kg are costed using DECC carbon valuation guidelines
http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/what%20we%20do/a%20low%20carbon%20uk/carbon%20valuation/1_2010
[email protected]@_carbonvalues.pdf
93
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rate currently applied to red diesel and this gap is exacerbated by the fact that the
fishing industry receives a rebate on fuel tax, making it duty free. The consumption
of red diesel is thus above the socially optimal level; this contributes to
environmental degradation in the manner detailed above and is being implicitly
funded by the taxpayer.
This data appears to support an economic argument to tax red diesel at 16ppl at a
minimum in order to ensure the fishing industry takes its impact on the climate into
account when undertaking its activities. This is also in keeping with the
government’s policy of adopting a more consistent approach to carbon taxation.
However, fuel duty rates in general are not set as corrective measures but rather as
revenue raising instruments; in this regard, 16ppl could be too low a tax rate given
the government’s objectives for deficit reduction.
Impact on industry of removing the fuel tax subsidy
The removal of the fuel tax subsidy constitutes an increase in industry costs. This
would have a number of effects:
1. Reduce profits: If costs rise with no expected change of revenue, profits must
fall. These will vary between fisheries fleet segments95 (those with highest
fuel intensity will see greatest drop in profits).
2. Behavioural impacts: In order to return to profit-maximising behaviour, the
industry would be expected to adjust its behaviour by fishing fewer days, more
fuel-efficient techniques or fishing closer to the shore. Seafish research
evidence on the response of the fishing industry to increased fuel prices
shows they can reduce fuel use (per tonne of fish landed). The most common
changes to do this were: changing trip planning practices, reducing towing
and/or steaming speeds, changing landing port, replacing the engine,
changing fishing method, changing target species, stopping fishing
temporarily, modifying gear and undertaking preventative maintenance.
3. Longer term: Investment may occur across the fleet to improve fuel efficiency
measures. This could be achieved by changing gear or upgrading engines.
In internationally competitive sectors, the overall impact of removing fuel tax
subsidies is dependent on co-ordination with other countries. If the UK were to ‘go it
alone’ with regards to removing fuel tax subsidies, then the UK fleet would effectively
be operating at a competitive disadvantage, affecting their profits to an even greater
extent. Furthermore, the international fleet would likely maintain the existing
pressures on the marine environment of overfishing and greenhouse gas emissions.
95
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Table A15-1 compares the gas oil tax rates for retail and industry sectors in a range
of EU countries, and calculates the percentage reductions. Many EU countries have
substantial percentage reductions, even greater than the UK.
Table A15-1 Gas oil tax rates96
Member State
Retail gas oil
excise duty (euros
per 1000 litres)97
Belgium
Bulgaria
Czech Republic
Denmark
Germany
Estonia
Greece
408/393
314
448
393
486/470
393
412
Spain
331
France
Ireland
Italy
Cyprus
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Hungary
Malta
Netherlands
Austria
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Slovenia
Slovakia
Finland
Sweden
UK
428
466
423
330
330
302
323/320
355
382
424/434
397/425
327
364
303
420
386/368
364
493/521/536
679
Gas oil excise duty for
‘agriculture,
horticulture,
pisciculture, forestry’
(euros per 1000 litres)
0
n.a.
40.51
255.60
110.95
n.a.
56.60
43.60
93.06
0
0
0
0
71.10
254.53
77.51
n.a.
28.50
124.12
130.59
Percentage reduction
100%
90%
46% – 47%
72%
Reimbursement
between 60% and 85%
87%
91%
78%
100%
100%
100%
100%
80%
40% - 41%
79%
92%
75% - 77%
81%
96
97
http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/excise_duties/energy_products/rates/index_en.htm
Some countries have multiple retail tax rates to account for different types of gas oil
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Appendix 16 - UK Marine Valuation Studies
Economic values are the values placed by individuals on resources, goods and
services of any kind. The theory behind economic values is discussed in more detail
in Annex 3 of The Handbook (eftec & Cefas, 2011). Values are expressed in relative
terms based on individuals’ preferences for given changes in the quality and/or
quantity of resources and services. The unit used for economic valuation is money –
as it is a common unit making the comparison of financial and other (environmental,
social) costs and benefits possible. Using this unit, preferences are measured in
terms of individuals’ willingness to pay (WTP) money to avoid a loss or to secure a
gain. For market transactions, the price paid represents buyers’ WTP. However,
even resources, goods and services that are not traded in markets generate
economic values. A complete economic analysis should include the changes in both
market and non-market values.
People have several motivations for having positive WTP to protect ecosystem
services. These motivations are analysed within the so called Total Economic Value
(TEV) typology: Use value involves some interaction with the resource, either directly
or indirectly; Non-use value is associated with benefits derived simply from the
knowledge that ecosystems are maintained. In other words, non-use value is not
associated with any use of an ecosystem.
Assessment of the economic value of the marine environment is challenging due to a
shortage of information in a number of areas. For example, the application of
ecosystem services analysis to the benefits of MSFD measures is difficult due to a
lack of information. In particular, two types of information are lacking. Firstly, there
is limited understanding of how many potential marine management measures will
change the ecosystem services provided by the marine environment to society. This
may be because the response of the environment to the management measure is
not known (e.g. how will fish stocks be affected by areas closed to fishing?) and/or
because how the environmental response translates into ecosystem services
changes is not quantified (e.g. how will increased fish stocks affect the value of fish
landings?).
Secondly, the economic value of changes in ecosystem services to society is not
always known (e.g. how does society value the conservation of marine
biodiversity?). This is particularly a problem for the many marine ecosystem
services, which, unlike fish stocks, are non-market goods and, therefore, market
price data is not available to assess their value to society. This leads to the
challenges of non-market valuation approaches to assess WTP, which are beyond
the scope of the current analysis.
This section reviews some of the information available on the economic value of the
marine environment: a study valuing different marine ecosystem services (Beaumont
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et al. (2008)), and work for Defra valuing marine conservation zones (SAC et al.
2008).
Beaumont et al. (2008)
This paper identifies the economic value of marine ecosystem goods and services as
a way to determine the value of marine biodiversity in the UK. This approach is
defined in Beaumont et al. (2007), and each service is analysed in the context of UK
marine biodiversity. The values identified are summarised here:
Food Provision:
 The extraction of marine organisms for human consumption.
 In 2004, the UK fishing fleet landed 654,000 tonnes of sea fish, with a total
value of £513m (first point of sale).
 70% of all landings were caught in 3 areas: West coast Scotland, Northern
North Sea and the Central North Sea.
 The fleet comprised of 11,559 fishermen, 84% of these were employed full
time.
 This value may be an underestimate because the added value of fish
processing, employment in retail sales and exports are not included; fish
processing employs 18,180 people including 1,300 fishmongers.
 Also it does not include unreported catches.
Raw Materials
 The extraction of marine organisms for all purposes, except human
consumption.
 Examples: seaweed for industry and fertiliser; fishmeal for aquaculture and
farming; pharmaceuticals; and ornamental goods.
 Estimated total gross income from seaweed in 1994: £270,000 - £450,000
 In 2004, 192,000 tonnes of fishmeal were used in the UK, with 50,000 tonnes
of that produced locally – the total value of the UK fishmeal market was £81m.
 Other marine raw materials are not valued.
Gas and Climate Regulation
 The balance and maintenance of the chemical composition of the atmosphere
and oceans by marine living organisms.
 Average annual primary production (carbon sequestered by phytoplankton)
calculated to be 0.07 +/- 0.04 Gt carbon/yr (just over 0.1% global production).
 Valued using value/tonne carbon in Clarkson (2002); range £6 – 121, giving a
total value of £420m - £8.47bn. This figure is an underestimate as it only
covers carbon sequestered by primary production and can now be updated
using DECC’s non-market carbon value.
Disturbance alleviation, prevention
 The dampening of environmental disturbances by biogenic structures.
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

King and Lester (1995) identified that an 80m width of saltmarsh could result
in cost savings (in terms of sea defences not having to be constructed) of
£0.38 – 0.71m per hectare in capital costs and £71,000 p/ha in annual
maintenance.
For an area of 45,500 ha, this value is used to aggregate a total of £17 – 32bn
for capital costs saved and £0.3bn maintenance saved. This may be an
underestimate as it only accounts for saltmarshes; but aggregating values
over other habitats is not reliable (environment types are non-uniform and it
does not account for variations in per unit value as environment is exploited –
as the resource is diminished its value may increase).
Bioremediation of waste
 Removal of pollutants through storage, burial and recycling.
 Breaux et al. (1995): value of bioremediation function of wetlands in terms of
potential savings over waste water treatment. Present value of wetlands,
calculated over 30 years with a discount rate of 9%, is £1096.8 – 1236.5 per
acre. However, these values cannot be readily extrapolated to the UK as it is
not specific to saltmarshes.
Cognitive values
 Cognitive development, including education and research, resulting from
marine organisms.
 Pugh and Skinner (2002): data on marine research funding (including higher
education, public sector, industrial sector) suggest value added of research
and development in the marine sector to be £292m; education and training
valued at £24.8m. This overestimates the value of biodiversity as it values all
marine research areas.
Leisure and Recreation
 The refreshment and stimulations of the human body and mind through the
perusal and study of, and engagement with, living marine organisms in their
natural environment.
 Pugh and Skinner (2002): net value of marine leisure and recreation is
£11.77bn. 0.25m tourists are involved with whale-tourism activities annually
in West Scotland; total income generated £7.8m (1994). Seal watching
provided at least £36m to UK economy in 1996
 Total expenditure by sea and fish anglers resident in England &Wales
estimated at £538m per year from 12.7m angler days of activity (Drew
Associates, 2004). First round impacts: 18,889 jobs, £71m in suppliers’
income.
Non-Use values
 Benefit which is derived from marine organisms without using them.
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
Hageman (1985), Loomis & White (1996): average household WTP to ensure
continued survival of various sea mammals between £19 and £36 annually.
Assumed that WTP to maintain one is equal to that of ALL (because this value
is in the context that they have a fixed budget to reallocate repeatedly).
Estimated total value of marine mammals between £469m and £1,136m.
Nutrient cycling
 The storage, cycling and maintenance of nutrients by living marine organisms.
 Costanza et al. (1997): replacement cost method for valuation of environment
in nutrient cycling capacity. Proposed values are £0.10 – 0.29 per metre
cubed (2004 prices). Area of 161,200km, assumptions about depth,
replacement cost for nutrient cycling lead to a value between £800bn and
£2320bn to treat entire UK waters once – this data is theoretical and if all
nutrient cycling stopped, entire marine system would breakdown.
The study was not able to value cultural heritage and identity, option use, resilience
and resistance and biologically mediated habitat in a quantitative nature.
SAC (2008)
This study applied stated preference methods to estimate the potential benefits that
could be derived from the implementation of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs),
with a particular focus on the non-use component of this value.
Both contingent valuation (CV) and choice experiment (CE) methods were used to
value a hypothetical scenario taken from Richardson et al. (2006). These scenarios
were to be paid for by some increase in the annual tax paid by the household.
The CE survey presented pairs of scenarios allowing an estimation of their price,
while the CV survey was similar, but respondents were presented with one policy
scenario which they were asked to accept or reject. This proposal was framed by a
starting bid level, which was followed by a higher or lower bid depending on their
response. Those individuals that declined the proposal on the basis of a ‘protest’
response were omitted from the survey results.
The basic description of attributes and levels presented in the CE survey were:
Biodiversity
1 = continued loss of biodiversity (current situation);
2 = halt the loss of biodiversity;
3 = increased biodiversity.
Benefits provided by the marine environment
1 = continued loss of marine benefits (current situation);
2 = halt the loss of environmental benefits;
3 = increased environmental benefits.
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Restrictions on resource extraction and development within marine conservation
zones
1 = current restrictions;
2 = moderate restrictions;
3 = highly restricted.
Price (additional annual tax paid by household)
£5
£10 £20 £50 £75 £100
Other variables controlled for include socio-economic variables and various activities
and interactions with features of the marine environment and the goods and services
it provides.
The ‘halt loss of biodiversity’ level of the biodiversity attribute was considered to be
the most representative measure of non-use value in the CE study. Mean implicit
levels ranged from £21 to £206 per house hold (£1611m to £1810m aggregated),
with median values ranging from £20 to £128 per household (respective aggregate
value of £1,170m). The value based on median values was thought to be more
representative as it is not influenced by extreme values.
The CV results represent a total economic value for the provisions in the Marine Bill
when aggregated (£698m), corresponding to household mean WTP £26.91 and
median £26.93. This aggregated value assumed that the mean or median is applied
to all UK households. However, this value is likely to be biased, as the values were
not based on a random sample across the whole UK population. Adjusting for the
UK population structure lowered the average WTP - suggesting an aggregate WTP
of £487m per year.
These estimates were combined to generate a range of £487m to £1,170m as the
non-use values of the benefits arising from the introduction of MCZs. It is important
to note that this valuation was based on ex ante assessment of the benefits of
MCZs, and as such, this may not reflect the benefits actually realised. Furthermore,
the timescale over which the benefits arise was not indicated and defining it could
change the value estimates.
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Appendix 17 - Note of workshop on Disproportionate Costs
Analysis
The disproportionate costs assessment (DCA) workshop was held at Defra on Friday
10th June. Presentations on the implications of disproportionate costs under the
MSFD (Ian Dickie, eftec) and DCA in the WFD (Anna Maria Giacomello, EA) were
followed by group discussions addressing the following points:
Group 1: Controlling noise impacts from marine construction.
Noise impacts from marine construction (like noise from drilling for gas or wind
turbine developments) can be mitigated using different noise reduction technologies.
These technology options (sleeves, bubble curtains, soft start) have different costs
and effectiveness. How to assess whether costs to industry are disproportionate?
Group lead: Frank Thomsen (technical knowledge), Chris Durham (economics)
Group 2: Assessing distributional impacts of measures.
There are a number of possible fisheries measures that would reduce the value of
UK fisheries (e.g. restrictions on mobile demersal gear). At the expected scale,
these marginal measures are unlikely to be significant to UK plc, but their impacts
might be concentrated in specific communities (often described as ‘fisheries
dependent’ but the evidence behind this term is unclear). How should the
concentration of impacts in specific social groups be looked at?
Group lead: Mansi Konar (economics)
Group 1
The discussion was focused on indicator 11.1.1, which corresponds to loud, low,
impulsive sounds and is concerned with avoiding large scale gaps in the distribution
of marine mammals. There are several alternative measures for achieving what is
desired under the MSFD, including managing the spatial distribution of the noise and
reducing the level or amount of the noise produced in the first place below a certain
level.
It was assumed that managing the spatial distribution of noise would be the more
cost effective of these alternatives, and therefore DCA only needs to be carried out
for this option. The group noted a number of challenges in engaging in DCA:

Benefit assessment is difficult - there is some good valuation evidence to
attach to the existence of iconic marine mammal species but it is more
problematic to generate robust scenarios for impacts on marine mammal
populations. There may be some opportunity to apply evidence from porpoise
displacement.
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





Implicit costs – if the measure would result in the failure to deliver on the UK’s
renewable energy targets then these costs would need to be included.
Developer input required – in order to ascertain costs of applying such a
measure (may slow development or restrict ability to operate out of certain
ports). Also need confidence in these industry estimates.
Consideration of temporal aspects – e.g. the construction phase is not
permanent but may last for several decades.
Comparing the costs and benefits on the basis of the same scenarios.
Details of measures – being able to provide certainty about the measures at
an early stage would reduce costs.
Trans-boundary costs and benefits – particularly relevant when assessing
benefits, i.e. could be disproportionately costly if applied by the UK alone but
not if applied across the whole OSPAR region.
The group noted that the prioritisation of resources for this task was difficult and
suggested that scoping should be carried out at an early stage across all potential
measures in order to identify which ones warrant further analysis. There is also
more time pressure associated with this indicator because a vast amount of wind
farm licensing is happening presently.
Group 2
The discussion began by looking at why the value of UK fisheries would reduce with
restrictions on mobile demersal gear (MDG) and it was noted that this would depend
on whether or not the fishermen were price takers in the market (in which case they
would have very little influence on the market price). Other impacts were also
considered: displacement effects could lead to competition within existing fishing
grounds and decrease profits there; some boats may have to travel further in order
to fish and the longer stay in the sea could reduce the freshness of the fish. The
benefits should not be ignored and there is a temporal context: even if fishermen
suffer a loss of revenue in the short term, the recovery of the stock through
conservation measures could lead to higher revenues in the future.
Focusing on the impacts on a community of restricting MDGs in some marine
conservation zones (MCZs), the likely direct economic impacts were noted as loss of
income and employment but the social impacts were harder to quantify. Such
impacts include those on community cohesion, lifestyle, health, wellbeing and feeling
of social insecurity from a lack of employment. The size of the impacts would
depend on the size and strength of the fishing industry in comparison to the relevant
community; if over-represented, employing a large proportion of the population, then
it is likely that the impacts would be relatively large.
The strength of the fishing industry also applies to the supply chain; the multiplier
effect of reducing income to fishermen would reduce income to suppliers as well as
to the wider community. It is thus important to understand the indirect and
Page 336 of 337
Proposed UK Targets for achieving GES and Cost-Benefit Analysis for the MSFD: Final Report
(appendix)
secondary links the fishing sector has to the rest of the local economy; these knock
on impacts could generate further social impacts such as multiple deprivation etc.
The issue of food security was also discussed but imports in particular were thought
to be able to account for this.
Potential benefits to the community were discussed, insofar as better environmental
conditions could increase the inflow of tourists (including sea anglers and divers),
resulting in more business to the community. The net effect would depend on the
ability of the community to transfer its skills to capitalise on the growth of a different
sector. The possibility that tourism could suffer was also discussed, noting that this
could be the case if tourism was already a part of the local economy, and based
around the fishing industry itself.
In order to address any potential negative social impacts, the group discussed two
options. The first option would be to compensate the fishermen in the community,
perhaps through a means such as transfer payments . It was thought that this may
not be a particularly effective solution if the rest of the local businesses are
dependent on the income generated via fishing, and thus the secondary impacts
down the chain would not be addressed. Concerns were raised about the political
feasibility of such a measure, given the current financial situation of the UK
government.
The second option discussed was, rather than banning fishing activities, to increase
the accountability of the fishermen with regards to their environmental impact. The
group highlighted the fact that the fishing sector is the only sector that does not need
to do an environmental impact assessment (EIA). Although setting up any sort of
environmental assessment might be burdensome for individual fishermen, it could be
possible to set up a union or committee (represented by the fishermen) to carry out
any such assessment.
In assessing the social impacts of local measures, the group discussed a possible
prioritisation exercise which could rank communities on their susceptibility to MDG
bans. This could need to consider many of the points raised during the discussion,
to include the long term benefits of the measure, how the economy could adjust to
the measure (i.e. if diversification to renewable and tourism etc. was possible) as
well as utilising local economic indicators as to the size of the fishing industry and
the supply and service chain that depends on it. It was noted that an assessment
similar to this had been conducted by Marine Scotland, which could provide the
basis for further application.
Both groups noted that ultimately the final decision on whether or not a measure is
disproportionately costly lies with the minister and the concern should be to provide
all possible information on the likely impacts in order to aid the minister in their
decision.
Page 337 of 337
About us
Customer focus
Cefas is a multi-disciplinary scientific research and
consultancy centre providing a comprehensive range
of services in fisheries management, environmental
monitoring and assessment, and aquaculture to a large
number of clients worldwide.
With our unique facilities and our breadth of expertise in
environmental and fisheries management, we can rapidly put
together a multi-disciplinary team of experienced specialists,
fully supported by our comprehensive in-house resources.
We have more than 500 staff based in 2 laboratories,
our own ocean-going research vessel, and over 100 years
of fisheries experience.
We have a long and successful track record in
delivering high-quality services to clients in a confidential
and impartial manner.
(www.cefas.co.uk)
Our existing customers are drawn from a broad spectrum
with wide ranging interests. Clients include:
•
•
•
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international and UK government departments
the European Commission
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(FAO)
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aggregate and marine industries
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regulators and enforcement agencies
local authorities and other public bodies
Cefas Technology Limited (CTL) is a wholly owned
subsidiary of Cefas specialising in the application of Cefas
technology to specific customer needs in a cost-effective
and focussed manner.
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CTL systems and services are developed by teams that
are experienced in fisheries, environmental management
and aquaculture, and in working closely with clients to
ensure that their needs are fully met.
(www.cefastechnology.co.uk)
We also work successfully in partnership with other
organisations, operate in international consortia and have
several joint ventures commercialising our intellectual
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