Blue Economy: Sharing Success Stories to Inspire Change



MAREANO – 10 Years of Integrated Seabed Mapping in Norway

Overview The sustainable use and ecosystem-based management of the marine and coastal areas of Norway demands a thorough knowledge of seabed and benthic ecosystems. This is the background to the interdisciplinary MAREANO seabed mapping programme in Norway, which collects extensive bathymetric, geological, chemical and biological data for use in management planning. Background The value of production in 2014 from marine areas in Norway was around 20 per cent of the total national budget (SSB, 2015). 22 The output at basic values from the main industries were

oil and gas extraction including services (USD 121bn), fishing and aquaculture (USD 11bn), and ocean transport (USD 19bn). Ocean governance has traditionally focused on maximising fish catches while maintaining sustainable fish stocks, or on the risks associated with drilling for oil and gas. This has changed over time into a desire to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of human activities, based on expert knowledge provided by scientific institutions (Knol, 2010). A series of strategic environmental analyses were initiated in 2002, headed by the Ministry of Environment (2006). This process resulted in the first Norwegian ocean management plan for the Barents Sea (see case study 4A). The goals for MAREANO according to the plan from 2006 is to develop a marine aerial database for Norwegian waters increasing our knowledge of ecologically important benthic communities such as coral reefs and sponges, providing a better basis for evaluating the scale and importance of anthropogenic pressures on the environment. MAREANO is a cross-sectoral programme involving surveys and basic research on physical, biological and chemical conditions on the seabed and systematic organisation of the information in an area database for Norwegian coastal and marine areas. The database is regularly updated and can be accessed from the MAREANO website. MAREANO has grown significantly from small beginnings in 2005, and its budget has grown fourfold, from USD 3.8mn 23.6 Million Norwegian Kroner (MNOK) in 2006, to USD 14.9mn in 2015. The total cumulative budget since 2005 is in the order of USD 125mn, not including in kind contributions from the executive scientific institutions. Results The initial focus of the MAREANO programme was the Barents Sea and the marine areas off the Lofoten Islands (Figure 4). From 2011, the south-east Barents Sea was included, following

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Figure 4: Overview of areas for Norwegian Marine Management Plans (North Sea, Norwegian Sea, Barents Sea) and sampling stations collected by MAREANO since 2006 (red and black dots).

22. values.current-prices.nok-million. All USD values are converted from NOK at respective annual average rates taken from


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