EU Member States are required to implement measures to ensure their marine waters achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) by 2020. Defining what constitutes GES is challenging. Advances are being made in marine research that can underpin environmental assessments. The uptake of this knowledge is hindered by the lack of awareness of the current research effort and outputs; and the lack of an interface between science and policy. STAGES will work to directly address these gaps.
Email: mfernandez[a]
Project Topic EU contribution Duration From
N° 308473 FP7-ENV.2012.6.2-5
Scientific knowledge base to support the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive
€999,733 24 months September 2012
Spain (Coordinator), Portugal, France, Ireland, Denmark, Belgium, Norway
STAGES has carried out a series of targeted support activities to develop additional scientific understanding for assessing GES and offer solutions to make this knowledge accessible, relevant and usable by policy-makers and stakeholders in the Member States affected.

1) The STAGES project has developed an inventory of relevant EU and national research projects and results relating to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), and will make this information widely accessible to policy-makers and MSFD stakeholders through the Marine
Knowledge Gate, a dynamic, searchable online portal. The STAGES consortium has performed a survey of more than 4,000 projects from EU and national funding programmes with relevance to MSFD by using an online questionnaire as main tool to collect knowledge. The in-depth analysis of the knowledge collected will inform the production of five State of the Art Synthesis Reports on major MSFD Themes: 1) Biodiversity; 2) Contaminants and Nutrients; 3) Disturbances; 4) Commercially exploited fish and 5) Hydrographical conditions.
2) Areas with a need for further research were identified in a series of three Workshops aimed at identifying gaps and needs for further research in: Monitoring Programmes, Pressures and their impacts on marine ecosystems, and Socio economic analysis under the MSFD.

3) STAGES has also conducted a MSFD Stakeholders consultation to put forward a proposal for a long-term European science-policy platform to bridge the MSFD science-policy gap. Stakeholders were targeted that represented International, European, Regional and National levels across a wide cross-section of marine sectors. The results of the survey will be used to inform the organisation of a Stakeholders Workshop scheduled on 12 February 2014.
Modelling activities of the ACCESS project are intended to estimate and interpret the impacts of climate change on human activities in the Arctic Ocean and vice versa. Modelling activities importantly cross all aspects of the ACCESS project to deliver practical policy and infrastructure options for responding to the rapidly changing Arctic Ocean. Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) in particular and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) in general are key integration tools for ACCESS. EBM and MSP are the links that relate the basic research components of ACCESS. Monitoring activities for long-range and longterm observations of the Arctic Ocean including in-situ and remote sensing observations of the Atmosphere, Sea-Ice and Ocean, are a major development for the ACCESS projectThrough close engagement with DG Environment and MSFD stakeholders, STAGES has carried out a range of tasks to achieve its objectives. A comprehensive knowledge collection process was performed with the aim of building the inventory of MSFD-relevant research projects and knowledge outputs. Through scientific foresight workshops, MSFD knowledge gaps were identified. Recommendations for a Science-Policy Interface (SPI) will be based on stakeholder consultation and assessment of existing structures, processes and global best practices.
STAGES European Added Value:
MSFD is the environmental pillar of the Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) that provides, for the first time, a Europe-wide policy framework to holistically and sustainably manage human activities in EU territorial waters. It aims to support the continued development of a sustainable maritime economy in Europe, whilst protecting and restoring the environmental health of Europe's marine environments. To achieve this, multi-disciplinary and multistakeholder cooperation at a European level is needed. As part of 'The Ocean of Tomorrow' 2012 coordinated initiative, STAGES will contribute to this goal.