The MSP Data Study, undertaken on behalf of DG MARE between February and December 2016, presents an overview of what data and knowledge are needed by Member States for MSP decision making, taking into account different scales and different points in the MSP cycle. It examines current and future MSP data and knowledge issues from various perspectives (i.e. from Member States, Sea Basin(s) as well as projects and other relevant initiatives) in order to identify:
- What data is available for MSP purposes and what data is actually used for MSP;
- Commonalities in MSP projects and Member State experiences; -
- The potential for EMODnet sea basin portals to help coordination of MSP at a regional level and options for realising marine spatial data infrastructures to implement MSP;
- Potential revisions to be made concerning INSPIRE specifications for MSP purposes.
The study finds that across all European Sea Basins, countries are encountering similar issues with respect to MSP data needs. Differences are found in the scope of activities and sea uses between Member States and Sea Basins and the type of planning that is being carried out. Common data gaps include socio-economic data for different uses and socio-cultural information. By and large, data and information gaps are not so much about what data is missing but more about how to aggregate and interpret data in order to acquire the information needed by a planner. Challenges for Member States lie in developing second generation plans which require more analytical information and strategic evidence. Underlying this is the need for spatial evaluation tools for assessment, impact and conflict analysis purposes. Transnational MSP data needs are different to national MSP data needs. While the scope and level of detail of data needed is typically much simpler, ensuring its coherence and harmonisation across boundaries remains a challenge. Pan-European initiatives, such as the EMODnet data portals and Sea Basin Checkpoints have the potential to support transboundary MSP data exchange needs by providing access to a range of harmonised data sets across European Sea Basins and testing the availability and adequacy of existing data sets to meet commercial and policy challenges