User cases

MARCIS

Project info

Marine spatial planning and cumulative impacts of blue growth on seabirds

Project period: 2021-2025

MARCIS is a collaborative research project where research institutes, together with industry and management authorities, will contribute to ecosystem-based management of marine spatial use and provide a decision-support tool for balancing interests and conflicts in planning processes.

Funding: The Research Council of Norway

Project leader: Tone Kristin Reiertsen (NINA)

Project partners:

Norwegian institute for nature research (NINA)

Environmental Research Institute – University of the Highlands and Islands (ERI-UHI)

Equinor

The UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Total Energies

Aker Offshore Wind

RWE renewables Sweden

Norwegian Offshore Wind

Norwegian Polar Institute

Stakeholders: 

BirdLife Norway

Norwegian Fishermen's Association

Norwegian Oil and Gas Association

SalMar

Directorate of Fisheries 

Rogaland County Municipality

Norwegian Coastal Administration

Norwegian Environment Agency

Institute of Marine Research

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

User cases

The MARCIS project collaborates with a range of different partners and stakeholders from industrial, regulatory and scientific sectors, as well as interest groups and non-governmental organisations. This page features user-cases written by these stakeholders, which showcase how MARCIS will impact and inform their work within marine industries, and how the knowledge and tools developed in the project will enable the coexistence of these industries while simultaneously minimising conflicts with seabirds that use the same areas as their habitat.


Aker Offshore Wind

Offshore wind offers an amazing opportunity to move further toward renewable energy and the expectation is that the sector will grow significantly in the coming years. In parallel, our oceans are under increased pressure and there is an urgency to understand the potential impacts these activities may have on marine life. 

As Aker Offshore Wind and other offshore wind operators develop projects, it is critical that we plan to avoid potential conflicts of area use. Aker Offshore Wind takes the ecosystem effects seriously and aims to be a responsible developer. We work continuously to reduce our environmental impacts through prevention of impacts, increasing protection and preservation, and restoration. We aim to have a net positive environmental footprint. 

At Aker Offshore Wind, we see the MARCIS project as a way to increase knowledge of offshore wind’s impact on seabirds and develop an improved framework for assessing cumulative impacts and knowledge-based risk assessment. We expect to utilize the project results to provide important input to environmental risk assessments across our global operations, as well as support discussions on how and where to locate future offshore wind areas. 

BirdLife Norway

BirdLife Norway is a nature conservation organization which focusses on knowledge acquisition and the conservation of birds. Birds are of great importance to nature management both because they are good indicators of the state of nature and because they, like the rest of the natural environment, have an intrinsic value. In line with increasing activities in marine areas, we see the value of improving methods for measuring both the impacts of these activities and the value of different marine areas. The natural values associated with marine areas are less understood than terrestrial areas, not least for our large network of ornithologists.

BirdLife Norway increasingly has to deal with issues related to petroleum activities, land-based aquaculture, conventional aquaculture, wind power, kelp trawling, pollution, fishing, as well as disturbances and physical interventions related to these activities, and their effects on seabirds. Large-scale changes caused by climate change also affect and exert stress on the entire marine ecosystem. The significant decline in the breeding populations of seabirds is further evidence of the major challenges that this group of birds faces. BirdLife Norway works to avoid the co-localisation of harmful activities and important areas for seabirds. Thus, accurate and up-to-date knowledge is of critical importance to our work. National and international environmental goals to halt the loss of biodiversity, to increase the proportion of protected areas at sea, and to practise sustainable resource use in the remaining areas, are the foundation of our commitment to birds. As such, we consider MARCIS an important project to achieve objectives related to the conservation of seabirds and biodiversity as a whole.

Norwegian Fishermen’s Association

The Norwegian Fishermen's Association is a politically independent trade and industry organization for Norwegian commercial fishermen. We want the fishing industry to be a forward-thinking, sustainable, and viable industry. 

Fishermen depend on relatively large areas of the sea to practice their profession. However, there is a great deal of overlap between areas used in fisheries and other industries, such as the petroleum industry, offshore wind, and offshore aquaculture. In other words, the marine environment is under pressure from several anthropogenic activities. These pressures, along with the effects of climate change, play a significant role in the functioning of marine ecosystems. 

The Norwegian Fishermen's Association is concerned with using the best available knowledge about the state of ecosystems, and sees a particular need for more knowledge about the cumulative impacts of anthropogenic activities and how the use of marine space affects these ecosystems. Filling these knowledge-needs is one of the project’s main objectives, and we look forward to receiving updated information that can form the basis for a better understanding of where different activities should be carried out. Such knowledge will be important for achieving objectives for safeguarding biodiversity, and can be used to prepare better and more up-to-date frameworks for assessing the overall impacts of marine industries. Using this knowledge, we can ensure that ecosystems are safeguarded and that fishermen can continue to harvest from sustainable resources in the future. 

RWE

RWE is one of the global leaders in renewable energy, and the second largest in offshore wind. We have strong growth ambitions to meet our target to completely decarbonize by 2040. As such RWE is a significant developer of offshore wind and hydrogen farms. Environmental surveys and monitoring are important to RWE, both to fulfill legal requirements and because RWE has high standards regarding sustainability, such as net positive gain on biodiversity. In order for RWE to fulfill these high standards, we want to contribute to research projects that help fill knowledge gaps and create a better understanding of how to safely develop renewable energy. This is essential to make sure that energy production at sea can coexist and minimize the impact on the environment. RWE regards the MARCIS project as a way of collecting more information about seabirds, their status, as well as their spatial use. This will give RWE more knowledge on how to assess cumulative effects and risks on birds while developing offshore windfarms.

Equinor

The marine environment is under influence from multiple anthropogenic activities, such as offshore oil and gas activity, fisheries, shipping, in addition to ecosystem and climate change. Equinor is a significant user of the ocean space and recurrently carry out authority required environmental monitoring as well as contributing to the development of novel methods and technologies to map and assess potential environmental impacts from our operations. 

Equinor sees the need to further improve our understanding of the increasing cumulative pressures on marine habitats. Equinor has the ambition to grow our activities within offshore windfarms, but not at the cost of causing negative impact on the marine environment. The management plans for Norway’s sea areas, published in 2020, state a need for an increased understanding of sea bird status and spatial usage, and emphasizes the need for a holistic assessment approach of marine ecosystem pressures and impacts. We see this project as a possibility to increase our knowledge related to birds and develop an improved framework for assessing cumulative impacts and basis for risk management.

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research

NINA is an independent foundation for nature research and research on the interaction between human society, natural resources and biodiversity.
Follow us on: