The European Union Biodiversity Strategy sets the target for protected areas in the EU at 30% of its sea area, one third of which need to be strictly protected. The Strategy endorses the use of a larger and well-connected network of protected areas with effective fisheries management measures to contribute to the sustainable use of the seas and oceans. Protected areas need to be established to fulfil implementation of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and the Birds and Habitats Directives. Various designations of spatial protection measures are therefore evident in EU waters including marine protected areas (MPAs), no-take zones and marine conservation zones (MCZs). These have been established to fulfil different objectives such as biodiversity protection and sustainable fisheries management.

  1. The objective of this study is to evaluate the costs and benefits of (i) Fish Stock Recovery Areas (FSRAs), (ii) MPAs, and (iii) areas designated as Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs) on fisheries and aquaculture, and assess how far fisheries co-management approaches can potentially help to achieve EU targets for these spatial protection measures. The study addresses two aspects of spatial protection measures in EU waters: It provides an overview and maps the (i) existing spatial protection measures under the three spatial protection categories (FSRAs, MPAs and OECMs) and the relevant obligations for Member States under the EU’s Maritime Spatial Planning Directive, and (ii) critically reviews co-management arrangements evident in the various marine areas, and the state-of-play of the CBA framework in assessing spatial protection measures.
  2. It executes site visits to collect primary data and consultation with stakeholders at three case study sites (one for each designation), to assess the economic costs and benefits of existing spatial protection measures in EU waters as tools to manage fisheries resources.

Based on a synthesis of the data and information assembled, the study seeks to make substantiated conclusions and recommendations on the costs and benefits of FSRAs, MPAs and OECMs as tools for fisheries management.  

Name of Client

EU Parliament (PECH Committee)

Project Dates

02/12/21 - 16/06/22