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Hack4Oceans Challenge: Coastal Ecosystems

Published on: Thu, 02/12/2021 - 11:05
Table of Contents
    How might we better protect European coastal ecosystems from urban development, biodiversity loss, and erosion?

    Summary

    Europe’s coastal ecosystems are under significant pressure due to urban development, tourism, pollution and biodiversity loss. Urgent action is required to:

    • Create more and larger Coastal Protected Areas;
    • Better protect coastal ecosystems from biodiversity loss, erosion and sea level rise;
    • Increase public awareness and engagement with coastal ecosystems.

    Problem Description

    Ecosystems such as coastal zones, transitional waters, and near-shore marine areas are among the most biologically productive, yet threatened systems in the world. Europe’s coastal systems are under considerable degradation due to growing population densities along the coast, pollution, eutrophication (nutrient enrichment from agriculture, waste water, etc.), erosion and the introduction of alien species.

    The competitive pressure on Europe’s coastal regions is immense. Almost half of the EU population lives less than 50 km from the sea and coastal tourism is a hugely important economic sector employing over 3.2 million people.

    If we are to protect our natural coastal ecosystems we will need to take a longer-term perspective and make necessary trade-offs between different coastal users. Key priorities are to increase the number and size of protected coastal ecosystems, better protect and manage those we have, and engage the public and all relevant stakeholders in that task.

    HOW WE MIGHT (HMW) Questions

    Create more and larger Coastal Protected Areas?

    ► HMW designate as much as 30% of European coasts as Protected Areas?

    ► HMW identify and prioritise areas that are good candidates as Coastal Protected Areas?

     HMW improve protection of coastal ecosystems by connecting inland Protected Areas to Coastal Protected Areas[1]?

    [1] Lucy Bastin, Noel Gorelick, Santiago Saura, Bastian Bertzky, Grégoire Dubois, Marie-Josée Fortin, Jean-Francois Pekel. Inland surface waters in protected areas globally: Current coverage and 30-year trends. 2019. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210496  

    Better protect coastal ecosystems from biodiversity loss

    ► HMW consistently track and respond faster to biodiversity loss through monitoring key indicator species?

    ► HMW engineer new ecosystems around energy production sites, algae culture sites and other marine infrastructure?

    Better protect coastal ecosystems from biodiversity loss
    ► 
    HMW consistently track and respond faster to biodiversity loss through monitoring key indicator species?

    ► HMW engineer new ecosystems around energy production sites, algae culture sites and other marine infrastructure?

    Increase public awareness and engagement with coastal ecosystems  

    ► HMW we improve ocean literacy, both in coastal and inland communities, and motivate people to protect coastal ecosystems?

    ► HMW engage coastal tourists to reduce pollution and protect coastal ecosystems?

     HMW encourage public involvement in marine data collection (e.g. through reporting, photos, sensors, etc.), and conversely how might we make marine data and information accessible and relevant to citizens?

     HMW stimulate citizen engagement in coastal ecosystem management and decision making?

     HMW we facilitate coordinated/joint decision making by multiple stakeholders, including coastal communities, authorities and economic players?

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