NEA PANACEA project wrap

5 May 2023

The final project meeting for the North-East Atlantic project on biodiversity and eutrophication assessment integration and creation of effective measures (NEA PANACEA) took place from 3-5 May in Den Haag (Netherlands).

NEA PANACEA is a European Union (EU) funded project in which 8 partners from 5 OSPAR countries (Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands) collaborated to deliver biodiversity assessments for OSPAR’s Quality Status Report (QSR) 2023. Around 30 scientists involved in the project delivered 10 Indicator Assessments and 3 Thematic Assessments focusing on pelagic habitats, benthic habitats, food webs and marine birds. The project also had special attention for coherence between biodiversity and pressure assessments, most notably eutrophication. The delivered assessments, in combination with assessments looking at other issues such as marine litter, radioactive substances, the oil and gas industry, underwater noise, eutrophication and hazardous substances, paint a holistic picture of the state of the North-East Atlantic Ocean which will be used to inform policy and management measures.

Cooperation and knowledge sharing through such projects delivers value for all OSPAR Contracting Parties, but especially for those that are also EU Member States as these assessments can be used to inform their reporting for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

The passion and ambition of the scientists involved was clear as the meeting discussed the knowledge gaps that this process had identified as well as future ambitions to address these, including the possibility of expanding the indicators geographically, assessing more aspects of biodiversity, and by improving coherence between biodiversity and pressure assessments.

Such dedication and desire to maintain the momentum to deliver these assessments through continuous data collection, analysis and writing helps OSPAR deliver its North-East Atlantic Environment Strategy and fulfil its vision of a clean, healthy and biologically diverse North-East Atlantic Ocean, which is productive, used sustainably and resilient to climate change and ocean acidification.

A final project report will be published in summer 2023 and the assessments produced will be published as part of OSPAR’s QSR in September 2023.