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Knowledge-based Sustainable Management for Europe’s Seas


Project timeline
April 2009
51 months
June 2013
General Information
Europe’s four regional seas (Baltic, Black, Mediterranean and NE Atlantic) have suffered severe environmental degradation due to human pressure. Existing measures to manage pressures have proven inadequate and the EC has responded by proposing a new policy (Maritime Strategy Blue Book) and environmental legislation (Marine Strategy Directive). These instruments rely on the Ecosystem Approach, a management paradigm that encompasses humans and the supporting ecosystem. But the science base for this approach needs strengthening and practical tools must be developed and tested for policy implementation. In particular, criteria for assessing costs and benefits of management actions are poorly developed, particularly in the complex marine environment where multiple uses and management conflicts are common.

The KNOWSEAS consortium will strengthen the science base for managing Europe’s seas through the practical
application of systems thinking. It will work at the two scales envisaged for emergent EU policy: the Regional Sea Scale and Member State Economic Exclusive Zones (EEZs). KNOWSEAS will develop a new approach of Decision Space Analysis to investigate mismatches of scale. Knowledge created through the FP6 European Lifestyles and Marine Ecosystems project, augmented with necessary new studies of climate effects, fisheries and maritime industries - in EEZ case studies – will provide a basis for assessing changes to natural systems and their human causes. New research will examine and model economic and social impacts of changes to ecosystem goods and services and costs and benefits of various management options available through existing and proposed policy instruments. Institutional and social analysis will determine conflicts of interest and examine governance as well as stakeholder values and perceptions. Our research will develop and test an assessment toolbox through regional liaison groups and a multisectoral Project Advisory Board.

GKSS is leading Workpackage 5, focussing on institutional and social analysis, especially highlighting cultural ecosystem services and the relation between stakeholder perceptions and political action. GKSS will be involved in case study exercises in the North Sea. This work will contribute to LOICZ activities on Social-Ecological Systems and the GKSS research concept for analysis of human dimensions under global change.
EU-Programme Acronym and Subprogramme AreaFP7-ENV-2008-
Project TypeLarge-scale Integrating Collaborative Project
Contract NumberGrant Agreement 226675
Co-ordinatorThe Scottisch Association for Marine Science (UK)
Total Eligible Costs (€) Hereon Eligible Costs (€) EC Funding for Hereon (€)
Contact Person at Hereon Dr. Andreas Kannen, Institute for Coastal Research, KSO Phone: +49 4152 87 1874 Fax : +49 4152 87 2818
E-mail contact
Worldwide Europe

University College Cork-National University of Ireland (IE), Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung AWI (DE), Consiglio Nazionale delle Richerche (IT), EUCC - The Coastal Union (NL), Finnish Environment Institute SYKE (FI), IMAR-Instituto do Mar (PT), Institute for European Environmental Policy London (UK), Institute of Oceanology - Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BG), Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen-KNAW (NL), MEGAPESCA Formacao Profissional Eprestacao de Servicos LDA (PT), Middle East Technical University (TR), Morski Instytut Rybacky w Gdyni (PL), Norsk Institutt for Luftforskning (NO), Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (UK), Stichting Deltares (NL), Stockholms Universitet (SE), The Scottish Association for Marine Science SAMS (UK), The Secretary of State For Environment, Food And Rural Affairs (UK), Universita ca Forscari di Venezia (IT), Universita degli Studi di Padova (IT), Université de Bretagne Occidentale (FR), University of Bath (UK), University of East Anglia (UK), University of Plymouth (UK), University of Plymouth (UK), University of Southern Denmark (DK), Vereniging Voor Christelijk Hoger Onderwijs, Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek En Patientenzorg (NL)
Last Update: 16. April 2021