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Step 5

Evaluation and adaptation

MSFD requirements

The MSFD assessment process is cyclical and the key components of marine strategies will be reviewed and adapted as necessary every six years. As part of this, the MSFD requires EU countries to submit an interim review of the outputs of Step 1 by July 2018.

Implementation in the Celtic Sea project area

This step has not yet been started. If reaching or maintaining GES by 2020 will not be possible, additional measures will be put in place to achieve GES within the next cycle.

Success will be influenced by a range of factors, including the quality of performance indicators. Meaningful evaluations can be conducted only if the objectives were stated in unambiguous terms and if indicators for assessing progress were identified in the planning phase, and monitored effectively afterwards. Baseline data is essential.

Adaptation is likely to be a case of trial and error in the Celtic Sea, as elsewhere. Few examples exist of adaptive management in practice (the concept is still relatively new).

How stakeholders could be affected by this step

This step depends on earlier progress, but it is likely stakeholder participation will be required. As in previous steps, care needs to be taken to ensure balance of representation. Stakeholders may need some support and training to help them play a role. The process could result in changes to measures previously agreed and implemented. If measures have been ineffective, the EC may take more of an active role and determine measures to achieve targets at a regional scale.

“All stakeholders should feel that the evaluation regime is current and that their inputs are valued. Evaluation should be open, transparent and available to all stakeholders.” (Renewables sector)

How stakeholders can influence this step

Stakeholders will be invaluable in helping with evaluation through highlighting the benefits and costs (and their distribution), compliance with measures and any problems and challenges, e.g. on data collection, monitoring and co-ordination.

Sharing information with stakeholders helps bring them into the process of government and generate trust. Evaluations should be open, transparent and available to all.

Participation could positively influence outcomes. Stakeholders could submit their own evaluations of how effective the measures have been, and on the appropriateness of indicators, targets and thresholds. Coupled with suggested improvements, and rationales for these, this could be very effective in influencing the next cycle.

PISCES recommendations

Stakeholders should...

  • Get involved in evaluation and adaptation, highlighting issues, challenges, gaps and benefits to ensure appropriate improvements are made.
  • Make recommendations for future adaptations to measures.

Governments should...

  • Actively involve stakeholders in the evaluation and adaptation process, learning from their first-hand experiences of implementing measures.

Crab fishing boat