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Research support for MSFD biodiversity Indicator development using fisheries survey data

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive places certain obligations on Ireland. Among the most onerous are the Article 8 (Assessment) submissions, which take place on a 6-year rolling cycle, beginning 2019. The MSFD is structured into 11 descriptors, which require monitoring work, and assessments to be developed. Methodological development and threshold setting is to be done at an international level, coordinated by the relevant Regional Seas Convention (OSAPR), advisory body (ICES) with overall coordination by The EU Commission (mainly JRC).

The work towards Article 8 of MSFD is expected to align with OSPAR Common Indicators which will feed into OSPAR’s 2023 Quality Status Report (QSR). Work begins in 2019 to align OSPAR Common Indicators with the recent Commission Decision (848/2017) on the MSFD.

As part of the data collection scheme under UP3, the Marine Institute conducts ten annual fisheries research surveys at sea to provide fisheries independent data for stock assessment. The fisheries data collected on the surveys can be reanalysed to support the development of operational and surveillance indicators for MSFD biodiversity descriptors 1 and 4.

The project objectives are to:

  • Provide Research support to address any knowledge gaps in indicator development for MSFD criteria and OSPAR fish indicators assessments such that they align and answer Article 8 monitoring requirements for fish under Descriptors 1 and 4 of the MSFD
  • Support the QSR 2023 delivery by developing Common Indicators under OSPAR that synergise with MSFD Criteria elements



This project will run during 2019 and 2020.

Project Outputs:
  1. Number of relevant meetings attended.
  2. Relevant MSFD criterion elements developed that are required under Decision 848, and support OSPAR QSR 2023.
  3. Reports detailing methodologies and output from data analysis-.
Expected Benefit:
  1. DCF funded data collection maximised to support implementation of environmental legislations.
  2. Enhance Ireland’s ability to answer Article 8 and Article 9 of MSFD under Descriptors 1 and 4 including addressing knowledge/research gaps.
  3. Provide the best possible Irish input to OSPAR QSR 2023.
  4. Develop links and synergies between relevant Irish researchers to build national capacity in marine environmental science.
Further Information:
Contact Maurice Clarke at
Project Cost - Projected:
Project Status: