Knowledge-based Sustainable Management for Europe’s Seas (KnowSeas)


Europe’s four regional seas (Baltic, Black, Mediterranean and NE Atlantic) have suffered severe environmental degradation due to human pressure. Existing measures to manage pressures have proven inadequate and the EC has responded by proposing a new policy (Maritime Strategy Blue Book) and environmental legislation (Marine Strategy Framework Directive). The Knowledge-based Sustainable Management for Europe’s Seas (KnowSeas) project is supported by the European Commission under the Environment (including climate change) Theme of the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.

A consortium of 30 project partners, KnowSeas strengthened the science base for managing Europe’s seas through the practical application of systems thinking. Research addressed decision space analysis, economic and social impacts of changes to ecosystem goods and services as well as costs and benefits of various management options available through existing and proposed policy instruments. Institutional and social analysis determined conflicts of interest and examined governance as well as stakeholder values and perceptions. Our contribution was to develop a comprehensive set of interdisciplinary science-based practical guidelines to assist with implementation of the new policy and environmental legislation proposed by the European Union – the output from this can be found at