Growth of coastal and marine industries, such as energy development, aquaculture, fishery and shipping, has led to increasing pressure on marine biodiversity. At the same time climate-and ecosystem- change is putting pressure on the marine environment. Consequently, there is an urgent demand for novel management tools to ensure sustainable industrial development in the marine environment (?blue growth?). Seabirds play an important role in marine ecosystems and are among the most threatened birds in the world, partly due to anthropogenic activities. Norway is home to a significant proportion of the world?s seabird populations and therefore has an international responsibility to protect them.
The goal of MARCIS is to develop a decision support tool for assessing the cumulative impact of human marine industries on seabirds and migrating land birds in marine ecosystems. To achieve this goal, we will (1) compile detailed maps of marine industries and the distribution of seabird populations, (2) assess the consequences of offshore wind power plants on seabirds and migratory land birds, (3) evaluate individual seabird sensitivity to marine activities, (4) quantify effects of anthropogenic marine industries on seabird populations in the light of climate- and ecosystem- change, (5) develop the decision support tool (web app) allowing users to quantify, and immediately illustrate, the cumulative impact of marine industries on seabirds, and (6) demonstrate different scenarios of blue growth co-developed with industry, management and NGOs in order to improve marine spatial planning and risk assessment. The MARCIS project will thus contribute to better informed discussions towards achieving sustainable blue growth in the marine environment.
MARCIS is a collaborative research project where research institutes together with industry, and a string stakeholder involvement from relevant sectors, will contribute to ecosystem-based management of marine spatial use and provide a decision-support tool for balancing interests and conflicts in planning processes.
Interest in the economic potential of the oceans is increasing. In Norwegian waters, marine activities present many - potentially acute - stressors e.g., oil-spills and bycatch from fisheries. The development of the offshore wind industry represents a new potential stressor for seabirds, with its key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Norway. Growth in the blue economy could increase the cumulative stressors on marine habitats, impairing environmental conditions through loss of ecosystem functions, habitat, and biodiversity. To achieve sustainable development there is a pressing need for spatial tools to assess the cumulative impacts of anthropogenic stressors on ecosystems. Norway has an international responsibility to manage and protect seabirds, since they are among the most threatened bird groups. In this project we will develop an innovative decision support toolbox, the MARCIS App, to quantify the cumulative impacts of human stressors on seabirds, in order to balance the multiple use of the seascape. The project will do this in collaboration with energy-extraction industry and inter-disciplinary science. MARCIS will address cross-sector research questions and contribute to ecosystem-based management by providing a decision-support App to balance the interests and conflicts in decision-making processes.