Compendium for Coast and Sea - creating a marine science-policy interface

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The Compendium for Coast and Sea is an integrated knowledge document about the socio-economic, environmental and institutional aspects of the coast and sea in Flanders and Belgium. As such, it constitutes a one-stop shop for data and information from the Flemish and Belgian marine and maritime research community and experts. The Compendium for Coast and Sea is an initiative of the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and was developed in close collaboration with experts from the research community, government, industry and civil society organisations. The first version of the Compendium was launched in 2013, a second edition was presented in 2015.


Context

The development of the European Integrated Maritime Policy (COM(2007)575) with its Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EG), Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (2014/89/EU) and Blue Growth Strategy (COM(2012)494), has significantly increased the need for scientifically-underpinned and up-to-date information in the marine and maritime field. In this context, an integrated approach, which addresses environmental and ecological research, as well as socio-cultural, economic and institutional aspects of the marine system, is indispensable. Although such information is partially available, it is generally highly fragmented, sector-specific or poorly accessible. The Compendium for Coast and Sea aggregates the disperse information and data from the Flemish and Belgian marine and maritime research community and experts. Furthermore, it provides an overview of the relevant – often sectoral – policy frameworks (including international and European legislation) which apply to marine and maritime activities in the Belgian part of the North Sea. In line with the Open Access policy, the cited references are made publicly available.


Objectives and products

The Compendium for Coast and Sea has a three-fold objective:

  • Provide a summary of the scientific knowledge regarding the different user functions on the Belgian part of the North Sea;
  • Create an overview of the legislative and policy framework applicable for marine and maritime activities in the Belgian part of the North Sea;
  • Map the Belgian marine research landscape (expertise, capacity, research infrastructure, etc.).

The integrated and multidisciplinary character of the Compendium aims to increase the communication within the broad network of marine scientists and experts (from industry, policy, etc.) who are professionally involved with the coast and the sea. Furthermore, it increases the visibility and accessibility of marine research. In short, the Compendium for Coast and Sea consists of an extensive background document [1] which describes the marine scientific landscape (Chapter 1) and provides a summary of the knowledge on different user functions of the Belgian coast, sea and the adjacent Scheldt Estuary (Chapter 2). Furthermore, a number of derived communication products with a specific focus were developed:

  • A brochure with an overview of the expertise of the Belgian marine research groups [2]
  • A catalogue with an overview of the available marine research infrastructure [3]
  • A guide on funding instruments for marine research and innovation projects [4]
  • A manual with the most pertinent marine policy and legal instruments which apply to the Belgian part of the North Sea [5]

All these products can be interactively consulted on the website www.compendiumcoastandsea.be [6]


The marine and maritime research landscape in Belgium

The Compendium provides an overview of the Belgian marine research community in a global, European and local context. A semi-automated methodology was developed in order to quantitatively map the marine research landscape in Flanders and Belgium in terms of research capacity, research resources, knowledge output, research infrastructure, etc. The mapping exercise feeds into derived products such as the brochure [2], which provides detailed information on the expertise within each individual Belgian marine research group, and the catalogue [3], which discloses the marine research infrastructure. Funding opportunities for marine research and innovation projects are included in the guide on funding instruments for marine research and innovation projects [4].


Use of the coast and sea

The Belgian part of the North Sea is one of the most intensively used seas in the world. Many activities take place in the Belgian part of the North Sea or along its coastal zone. The Compendium for Coast and Sea aggregates and discloses the fragmented scientific information and policy frameworks of the different user functions in thematic chapters, using a fixed template. The aspects dealt with include: policy context, spatial use, societal interest (socio-economic information), impact (environmental impact as well as impact on other activities) and sustainable use. The following thematic chapters were elaborated in the Compendium for Coast and Sea (version 2015):

  1. Nature and environment
  2. Maritime transport, shipping and ports
  3. Dredging and dumping
  4. Sand and gravel extraction
  5. Energy (including cables and pipelines)
  6. Fisheries
  7. Aquaculture
  8. Agriculture
  9. Maritime and coastal heritage
  10. Social and economic environment
  11. Tourism and recreation
  12. Safety against flooding
  13. Military use

The Compendium also includes an integrated chapter on the Scheldt Estuary and on marine data and information (data sources and data systems).


Process

The Compendium for Coast and Sea is an initiative of Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) which also hosts the secretariat that coordinates the activities and takes on most of the work. The mission, goals and end products are overseen by an expert group with members from the research community, government, industry and civil society organisations. The thematic chapters of the Compendium for Coast and Sea are elaborated in cooperation with a broad network of coauthors and reviewers. As such, the Compendium can be regarded as a collective effort of the Belgian marine and maritime community. The first version of the Compendium for Coast and Sea was launched in 2013, a second edition was published in 2015. The figures of the thematic chapters are continuously updated by the Compendium secretariat. An in-depth actualisation of the Compendium is carried out in collaboration with the relevant experts with a larger interval.


References

  1. Pirlet, H.; Verleye, T.; Lescrauwaet, A.-K.; Mees, J. (Ed.) (2015). Compendium for Coast and Sea 2015: An integrated knowledge document about the socio-economic, environmental and institutional aspects of the coast and sea in Flanders and Belgium. Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ): Oostende. ISBN 978-94-92043-19-1. 252 pp.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mees, J.; Verleye, T.J.; Pirlet, H.; Lescrauwaet, A.-K.; Janssen, C. (Ed.) (2015). Belgian Marine Research - an overview. Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ): Oostende. ISBN 978-94-920431-2-2. 146 pp.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Pirlet, H.; Verleye, T.J.; Lescrauwaet, A.-K.; Mees, J. (Ed.) (2015). Catalogue ‘Marine research infrastructure. Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ): Oostende. ISBN 978-94-920431-5-3. 129 pp.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Pirlet, H.; Verleye, T.; Lescrauwaet, A.-K.; Mees, J. (2015). Wegwijzer 'Financieringsinstrumenten voor Mariene Onderzoeks- en Innovatieprojecten'. Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ): Oostende. ISBN 978-94-920430-4-7. 42 pp.
  5. Verleye, T.; Pirlet, H.; Lescrauwaet, A.-K.; Maes, F.; Mees, J. (Ed.) (2015). Manual: Marine policy instruments and legislation for the Belgian part of the North Sea 2015. Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ): Oostende. ISBN 978-94-920431-4-6. 128 pp.
  6. http://www.compendiumcoastandsea.be


The main authors of this article are Verleye, T., Pirlet, H., Lescrauwaet, A.-K. and Mees, J.
Please note that others may also have edited the contents of this article.

Citation: Verleye, T.; Pirlet, H.; Lescrauwaet, A.-K.; Mees, J. (2016): Compendium for Coast and Sea - creating a marine science-policy interface. Available from http://www.coastalwiki.org/wiki/Compendium_for_Coast_and_Sea_-_creating_a_marine_science-policy_interface [accessed on 30-03-2017]