JERICO-NEXT. Review of monitoring of environmental threats and pressures in Europe

The objectives of JERICO-NEXT are to address the challenge of observing the complexity and high variability of coastal areas at Pan-European level, within the context of the EU Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive, and operational marine services. The JERICO-NEXT project aims to extend the EU network of coastal observations developed in FP7-JERICO by adding new innovative infrastructures while integrating biogeochemical and biological observations. An important target of JERICO-NEXT is to provide the research community with continuous and more valuable coastal data coupling physical and biological information. The ultimate objectives are to maximise the value and impact of the JERICO research infrastructure (JERICO-RI) and provide key recommendations for the further development of the infrastructure in terms of sampling capabilities, representativeness of coastal processes, support to services, among others.
Work Package 1 (WP1) focuses on producing a long-term strategy for the development and integration of coastal observatories in Europe, including observations of the physical, chemical and biological compartments, with the objective of addressing key scientific questions and meeting the societal challenges related to coastal regions. This report (WP1, Task 1.1, D1.1) summarises the outcome of a review of the environmental threats in European waters, and gaps in programmes for monitoring these risks. The approach included a summary of recent studies, analysis of the results of two dedicated questionnaires which were filled in by national representatives within JERICO-NEXT and other European competent organisations, and an in-depth discussion of the question of observation scales. Findings from this report will underpin the future JERICO-NEXT monitoring strategy, and support JERICO-RI in providing high-value datasets for addressing key challenges at European level.
This study consolidates the main conclusions from the Dobris Assessment (EEA 1995) and more recent studies (EEA, 2008a, b and the EU-DEVOTES project), highlighting the need for improved monitoring of environmental threats in European coastal environment. Clear assessment and possible perspective on key challenges related to the observation of essential coastal variables is presented.
Participation in the JERICO-NEXT questionnaire was not exhaustive, but responses provided new insights into the gaps between the environmental pressures or threats and their impacts, and the monitoring of these impacts. In total, 36 national representatives, scientists and monitoring authorities from 12 European countries completed the questionnaire, and 38 monitoring programmes were reported. Responses were received from the United Kingdom, Greece, France, Spain, Malta, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, and Sweden. Many respondents were JERICO-NEXT partners, but some were also from relevant organisations outside the consortium.
The main policy drivers of monitoring in the coastal ocean were identified as the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The findings highlighted that policy drivers may change over time but overall purposes largely remain the same or similar. Regional Seas conventions (OSPAR and HELCOM) were also identified as key policy drivers of monitoring programmes.
The most commonly identified threats to the marine environment were: fishing, marine litter, shipping and contaminants. Regime shift and ocean acidification were noted as pressures with large potential for widespread harm. The majority of respondents identified habitat loss or destruction as an impact of human activities on the marine environment, with more than 50% identifying contamination, invasive species, population change/depletion of standing stocks, underwater noise disturbance and changes in community composition as key impacts. Linkages between threats and impacts are complex, due to cumulative effects of multiple pressures.
Most respondents considered current monitoring of threats to be partially adequate or not adequate. The majority of responses were related to spatial and/or temporal scales at which monitoring takes place, and inadequate monitoring of parameters. The implications of these findings were discussed and demonstrated using a case study for the central part of the Bay of Biscay.
A number of suggestions for improved monitoring programmes were highlighted, which focussed on improved design, increased monitoring effort and better linkages with research and new technologies. These monitoring programme should be fit-for-purpose, through working with policy end-users. However, they should also underpin longer-term scientific objectives which cut across policy and other drivers, and consider cumulative effects of multiple pressures.
The JERICO-RI is not presently contributing to national monitoring programmes but has a high potential to fill in some of the observation gaps, especially related to physical and biogeochemical parameters, and the coupling between biology and physics across scales needed for integrative understanding. Through the JERICO-NEXT project, the JERICO-RI could become a major contributor towards future coastal monitoring programmes. The science strategy for JERICO-RI under elaboration will pave the way to a better integration of physical, chemical and biological observations into an ecological process perspective. The particular challenge of simultaneously observing physical, chemical and biological parameters for assessments of complex coastal processes remains an open issue in relation to the temporal scale of sampling. This will be studied and thoroughly discussed in deliverable 1.2 of the JERICO-Next project.

How to cite
Painting Suzanne, Collingridge Kate, Durand Dominique, Grémare Antoine, Bernard Guillaume, Puillat Ingrid (2017). JERICO-NEXT. Review of monitoring of environmental threats and pressures in Europe. Ref. JERICO-NEXT-WP1-D1.1-100417-V3.3.

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