13 February 2019, 16:00 - 17:30

Join the workshop 'Environment - planning issues, criteria and tools'

13 February 2019
16:00 – 17:30
Room: Large Ballroom

This workshop will address cross-border maritime spatial planning matters from an environmental perspective and the need for tools for monitoring and assessing environmental issues. In the workshop findings from the work carried out in the NorthSEE project as well as related planning issues regarding the marine environment of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea will be introduced. Cross-border issues such as the need for coherent blue green infrastructure will be in focus.

The workshop will also introduce and showcase spatial decision support tools for maritime spatial planning, including from the NorthSEE project on connectivity modelling, and related experiences from North, Baltic and Adriatic Seas relative to the development of tools for cumulative impact assessment. An interactive part of the workshop will include workstations, where the participants can get the opportunity to get a closer look on the functionalities of impact assessment tools as:

  • Symphony (Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management),
  • The Baltic Sea Impact Index (HELCOM),
  • MYTILUS (Aalborg University),
  • Tools4MSP (CNR-ISMAR)
  • Ecopath with Ecosim as part of the education-oriented platform; the MSP Challenge BSR/NSR (Breda University of Applied Sciences).


Symphony was developed by SwAM in 2017 in order to better assess the cumulative environmental impact of the various human pressures, The method is based on the scientific contribution by Halpern et al. (2008) and subsequent works. By calculating the cumulative impact of human activities on the marine environment, planners are informed of the baseline environmental conditions. The potential effect of various planning options on the cumulative impact in different areas can also be assessed. When integrated into the planning process, Symphony facilitates sustainable development in the MSP process. Symphony consists of maps of 32 ecosystem components and 41 pressures from human activities. These are connected by a sensitivity matrix that describes how each ecosystem component is impacted by the pressures. Unlike other known cumulative impacts applications, Symphony enables scenario-based evaluations of the various planning options. The outcome includes maps illustrating the cumulative impact and complementary data, such as specification of the impact from each pressure in any given area.

The Baltic Sea Impact Index estimates the cumulative burden on the marine environment based on species’ sensitivities and maps on pressures and ecosystem components at a Baltic Sea scale. The Baltic Sea Impact Index was recently developed further as part of second HELCOM holistic assessment of ecosystem health of the Baltic Sea (HOLAS II project, producing the ‘State of the Baltic Sea’ report). The assessment represents the situation during 2011-2016. The results are presented as the Baltic Sea Pressure Index, which shows areas where the greatest pressure from human activities likely occurs, and the Baltic Sea Impact Index, which shows where the impact from cumulative pressures is likely the highest.

MYTILUS has been developed as part of the INTERREG North Sea project NorthSEE as well as the BASMATI project under the BONUS programme. Referring to the work carried out by Halpern et al. ten years ago, the aim of MYTILUS is to provide an open source tool to enable assessments of cumulative impact of various maritime activities on the marine ecosystems and its services. MYTILUS is applying a scenario based approach to analyse the effect of various maritime spatial planning options, and the differences between scenarios can easily be visualised. Expert users can change values directly in the sensitivity matrix, and the calculations are done very fast to facilitate its use at stakeholder events, where the effect of different spatial planning proposals can be demonstrated. The MYTILUS software is very user friendly and is strongly connected to different GIS software packages like ArcGIS using the same data formats, which allows the initial data preparation as well as the final map creation to be performed in the GIS package.

The Tools4MSP Modelling Framework is a set of web and open source geospatial tools developed in support of Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP). The framework is open source and allows the analysis of maritime use conflict (MUC) and the analysis of cumulative effects (CEA) of human activities on marine environments. Users can access the modelling framework in two modes: 1) by using the Tools4msp Geoplatform (www.tools4msp.eu), an interoperable information system, that provides an user-friendly interface for CEA and MUC analysis or (2) by using the Tools4MSP open-source geopython library available under github (https://github.com/CNR-ISMAR/tools4msp), allowing high customization and deployment to any study area. The CEA analysis initially developed in the ADRIPLAN Project (http://adriplan.eu), has been evolved towards the Tools4MSP framework and applied in various national and EU level projects, such as RITMARE Flagship Project (http://www.ritmare.it/), SUPREME (http://www.msp-supreme.eu/) and the ongoing Project PORTODIMARE (https://portodimare.adrioninterreg.eu/).

The Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) Challenge 2050 is a multiplayer serious game, built to provide stakeholders and maritime planners with insights into the diverse challenges and trade-offs of sustainable planning of human activities in marine and coastal areas. To improve its capabilities in representing the impacts of planning decisions and fisheries management on marine ecology, Ecospace, the spatial-temporal module of the Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) food web modelling approach, was integrated into the MSP game environment. We present this integration, and discuss how an existing EwE model was adapted to drive the ecology in the MSP games of the North Sea. Results show that this integration captures the interplay between fisheries, other marine uses, and ecosystem dynamics, allowing MSP players to experience management trade-offs between conservation and exploitation of marine resources.


Download here

  • The Knowledge Base for Maritime Spatial Planning – the Norwegian approach. Anne Langaas Gosse, Norwegian Environmental Agency
  • Maritime Spatial Planning and the need for Spatial Decision Support – the Swedish approach. Goncalo Carneiro, Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management
  • Modelling of Connectivity among Marine Protected Areas, Particularly Valuable and Vulnerable Areas. Mats Huserbraten, Norwegian Norwegian Institute for Marine Research
  • HOLAS II – HELCOM Second Holistic Assessment of the Ecosystem Health of the Baltic Sea. Lena Bergström, HELCOM

Pitches and workstations on tools for MSP

  • MYTILUS – cumulative impact assessment tool and scenario-based decision support for MSP. Dr. Henning Sten Hansen, Aalborg University
  • Recent applications in the Baltic Sea Impact Index, for cumulative assessments at the Baltic Sea scale. Lena Bergström, HELCOM
  • Symphony – the Swedish approach to Spatial Decision Support for MSP. Jonas Pålsson, Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, Duncan Hume The Geological Survey of Sweden
  • Tools4MSP – tools for analysis of conflicts between marine uses and the analysis of cumulative impacts (CI) of human activities on marine environments. Daniel Depellegrin, National Research Council, Institute of Marine Sciences, CNR-ISMAR
  • Combining ecosystem modelling and serious gaming to aid transnational management of marine space.  Giovanni Romagnoni, University of Oslo; Magali Goncalves, Breda University of Applied Sciences


Magali Goncalves

Breda University of Applied Sciences


Giovanni Romagnoni

University of Oslo


Anne Langaas Gosse

Norwegian Environmental Agency


Daniel Depellegrin

National Research Council – Institute of Marine Sciences, CNR-ISMAR


Goncalo Carneiro

Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management


Mats Huserbraten

Norwegian Institute for Marine Research


Lena Bergström



Henning Sten Hansen

Aalborg University


Jonas Palsson

Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management