ETC/ICM Report 3/2020: Spatial Analysis of Marine Protected Area Networks in Europe’s Seas III

09 Dec 2020

This technical report presents an overview of the spatial distribution of marine protected areas (MPAs) in Europe’s seas established as of 2019 (excluding overseas territories). It represents an updated rerun and advancement of the spatial statistics and of the coherence analysis run by the European Topic Centre on inland, coastal, and marine waters (ETC/ICM) on MPA reported data in 2012 and 2016. As such it provides insight on the observed changes in European MPAs established in the three-year period 2017-2019. The MPA networks considered in the analysis are those established under the framework of the EU nature directives, National designations, and the Regional Sea Conventions as reported in the respective official spatial and tabular databases. The MPA assessment areas are defined by regions and sub-regions referred to in Marine Strategy Framework Directive reporting mechanisms. The statistics are reported in terms of surface area (km2) and relative percentage cover as well as percentage overlap between different networks.

This volume contains the general MPA statistics and gives an update of EU MPA coverage following the UK exit from the EU. MPA networks now cover approximately 12% of Europe’ seas and thus set a 2020 baseline for achieving the 30% coverage target as defined by the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2030. As such, it also show that EU managed to reach 10% cover of its seas by marine protected areas by 2020 as agreed for Aichi target 11 and SDG 14.5.

Prepared by: 

Lead authors: S. Agnesi (ISPRA), A. Annunziatellis (ISPRA), P. Chaniotis (JNCC), G. Mo (ISPRA), S. Korpinen (SYKE), L. Snoj (TC Vode), L. Tunesi (ISPRA)

EEA lead author and project manager: Johnny Reker

Coordination: Christiane Katterfeld (UFZ)

Language Check: Shane Hume (CENIA)

Layout: F&U confirm, Leipzig


Key words: marine protected areas, MPA

Published by: ETC/ICM, December 2020, 40pp.