Monetary evaluation of the ecosystem services of the German seas

Küste mit Leuchtturm

The European coasts and marine waters, including the North and Baltic Seas, are among the most intensively exploited marine areas in the world. As with most inland waters, various interests – fishing, shipping and tourism – and protection objectives overlap. These waters are exposed to a number of pressures due to intensive use, which result, for example, from the increased input of nutrients and waste, exposure to toxic substances or damage to the seabed. These issues continue to require protective efforts.

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) was passed in June 2008 at the level of the European Union (EU). The aim of the MSFD is to achieve a “good environmental status” (GES) for marine waters in the Member States by 2020 at the latest. For the first time, the MSFD establishes a uniform regulatory framework for achieving a GES in the EU, extending the EU water policy based on the Water Framework Directive (WFD) to all European waters. In addition to the MSFD and WFD, the EU Biodiversity Strategy forms the framework for this project. Objective 2, action 5 aims to improve knowledge of ecosystems and ecosystem services (ES) in the EU by mapping and assessing the marine ecosystem.

The overriding goal of this project is to record the ES of the German seas in the area of the twelve nautical mile zone and the exclusive economic zone and to evaluate them in monetary terms. This will provide support for political decision-making in various ways. To this end, the methodological foundation for the project is based on a broad literature search, and all ES will be systematically recorded. Then, in close coordination with the client, the project will focus on the five ES fisheries, recreation, coastal protection, biodiversity, and carbon fixation.

After physically recording these ES, the next step is monetary evaluation. In addition, the project will document the state of the marine ecosystems and their connection to the ecosystem services. Finally, the project will describe and assess how the planned measures to implement the MSFD affect the state and ES of the oceans and which additional action might be necessary to achieve the goals of the MSFD and the EU Biodiversity Strategy.

adelphi is responsible for the project management and will carry out the monetary valuation of coastal protection and carbon fixation services.