These instruments rely on the ecosystem approach, a management paradigm that encompasses humans and the supporting ecosystem. The sciencific base for this approach needs strengthening and practical tools must be developed and tested for policy implementation. In particular, criteria for assessing costs and benefits of management actions are poorly developed, particularly in the complex marine environment where multiple uses and management conflicts are common.

The KNOWSEAS project has strengthened the scientific basis for the management of Europe's seas through the practical application of systems analysis. The project has worked on the two scales envisaged for EU policies under development: the scale of the regional sea and the exclusive economic zones of the Member States. A new approach to decision analysis has been developed to investigate the scale discrepancies.

Deltares contributed to the work package for modeling methods. The contribution focused on the relationship between river inputs and impacts of coastal pollution and provided a sound scientific basis for dealing with such impacts. In addition, Deltares contributed to the development of the ecosystem-based management method, Ecosystem-Based Management System (EBMS). All KNOWSEAS tools have been developed in the early phases of the project, tested for the regional seas and finally evaluated and adapted where necessary to the needs of water management practice.


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