Valuing Marine Ecosystems | European Marine Board

Valuing Marine Ecosystems

Understanding the value that humans place on the marine environment is important in making the trade-offs that need to be made in Integrated Marine Spatial Management. The EMB Working Group on Valuing Marine Ecosystems will highlight the tools and frameworks used for the valuation of marine ecosystem services and their benefits and the utilization of these tools in decision making for the sustainable management of coasts, seas and ocean.


A Future Science Brief is expected to be published in 2019.


Marine research has traditionally focused on physical, chemical and biological processes in the water body and its boundaries, whereas the field of marine related socio‐economics is much less studied and understood. Understanding the mechanisms and ways by which humans utilize marine resources and space directly or indirectly is essential for an integrated assessment and management of the coasts, seas and oceans, and will require an innovative interdisciplinary research approach. It is also an intrinsic requirement for achieving a genuine ecosystem approach to the management of marine resources.

Our foresight activity on Valuing Marine Ecosystems specifically targets the development of tools for the valuation of marine ecosystem services and their benefits and the utilization of these tools to facilitate decision making processes and sustainable management of coasts, seas and oceans and their intrinsic resources.


  • Highlight the importance of goods and services provided by marine ecosystems. 
  • Identify strategic (topical) areas for Europe in the realm of socio‐economic research related to marine ecosystems and the valuation of the services they provide. 
  • Provide recommendations to guide European research in the medium term (to 2020) to set standard methodology/guidelines for valuation of marine ecosystem services and to improve European competitiveness in this field. 
  • Suggest path towards bridging (i) valuation of marine ecosystems and the current European policy context and (ii) valuations and effective decision‐making procedures.



  • 20 February 2014, London
  • 1 October 2013, Dublin 
  • 14 May 2013, Brussels  



  • Chair - Dr Melanie Austen, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK
  • Peder Andersen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Claire Armstrong, University of Tromsø, Norway
  • Ralf Döring, TI-Institute of Sea Fisheries, Germany
  • Stephen Hynes, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
  • Harold Levrel, French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer), France
  • Adriana Resurreição, formerly at University of the Azores, Portugal
  • Soile Kulmala, Finish Environnent Institute (SYKE), Finland


Contact at European Marine Board Secretariat: Joke Coopman Email