ETC/ICM Report 1/2022: Comparison of multi-metric indicator-based tools for assessment of the environmental status in Europe's seas

15 Jun 2022

Jesper H. Andersen, Kathrine J. Hammer, Ciarán Murray

Multi-metric indicator-based assessment tools (MIBATs) are nested frameworks combining multiple indicators and their specific target values into an integrative assessment of environmental status. The use of MIBATs for classification of ecological and/or environmental status in marine waters has grown over the past two decades (Andersen et al. 2016b, Borja et al. 2016). In this study, EU Member States’ Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) 2018 reporting on MSFD Art. 8, 9 and 10 is compared with the recent EEA thematic assessments on eutrophication, biodiversity, contaminants and ecosystem health applying multi-metric indicator-based tools, i.e. new EEA-specific versions of the HELCOM Eutrophication Assessment Tool (HEAT), the HELCOM Biodiversity Assessment Tool (BEAT), HELCOM Chemical Status Assessment Tool (CHASE) as well as newly developed Marine Ecosystem Health Assessment Tool (MESH). The aim of this comparison is to explain the observed similarities and differences between the assessments. Further, special focus has been put on the EEA tools and their strengths and weaknesses.

Prepared by:

Lead authors: Jesper H. Andersen, Kathrine J. Hammer, Ciarán Murray (NIVA Denmark)
EEA project manager: Johnny Reker
Coordination: Claudia Neitzel (UFZ)
Language Check: Shane Hume (CENIA)
Layout: F&U confirm, Leipzig