Tool 1: Mapping of Activities (past, present, future)

This tool uses GIS software to analyse and visualise information on the location of the current and planned activities.


Tool 2: Individual Stress Level Analysis (ISLA)

This tool quantifies the impact on the activity of interest by future activities in terms of losses of parameters of interest while using R software (revenues, jobs, etc.). The approach of an individual stress level analysis (ISLA) presents a method at a high spatial resolution, which allows for comparing fishing effort and revenues depending on management scenarios, thereby estimating the potential impact of spatial closures on the fisheries sector.

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Tool 3: Analysis of Conflict Scores

In COEXIST we used an approach combining expert knowledge and numerical scoring to calculate the direct spatial Conflict Score of different activities in a marine coastal zone. This method comprises three consecutive steps:  1) the definition of activities of interest, 2) the temporal and spatial setting of attributes of each activity, and 3) the application of a set of rules to calculate the conflict score of each pair of chosen activities. The final result is an area specific conflict matrix for coastal activities.

The Coastal North Sea and the Algarve Coast were used as case studies to illustrate these three steps in two downloadable Microsoft EXCEL spreadsheets. The strength of this method is that it is a transparent and reproducible approach to analyse expert knowledge. The targeted end users for this simple and easy to use “tool” are the industry, NGOs and governmental agencies.

To consult the full document please click here pdf icon

To consult the results for the Coastal North Sea please click here 

To consult the results for the Algarve Coast please click here 


Tool 4: GRID

GRID (GeoReference Interactions Database) is a web-based flexible database and tool to analyse interactions (conflicts and synergies) in marine coastal areas. With GRID it is possible to fix interactions between activities, to represent them using matrix, and maps. Furthermore it allows to calculate the total conflict score for a specific area and to compare stress levels from different scenarios.

GRID has a dedicated GIS application to analyse spatial distribution of present and future activities (fisheries, aquaculture, energy, etc.) and interactions (existing and potential synergies and conflicts).

GRID is a decision support and managing tool for stakeholders involved or affected by marine spatial planning and can provide information on the activities developed in a specific area to support decision making.

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Tool 5: Stakeholder Consultation

The tool Stakeholder Consultation can be applied in various forms (from one-to-one conversations to online questionnaires). It should be used to increase the knowledge and to optimise the management of an area.

A rapid stakeholder engagement exercise was carried out at the start of the Coexist project. This exercise intended to highlight all the issues that stakeholders had in the Case Study sites so that further research could be refined. It also highlighted stakeholders that were not identified by the local Case Study researchers. In total, 78 stakeholders were interviewed by multiple methods, tailored to their circumstances.

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FISHRENT is a multi-fleet, multispecies, bio-economic simulation and optimisation model to evaluate management strategies. Within COEXIST an adaptation of the model including spatial variables has been developed. This model can be used to simulate different spatial management plans and to analyse the influence of future development of windfarms  and Natura 2000 sites. Species and fisheries of focus are the mixed flatfish fisheries targeting plaice and sole and the fisheries for brown shrimp.

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Tool 7: FARM

The production of cultivated shellfish or fish in estuaries and coastal systems is an important economic activity in many parts of the world. The downloadable FARM model version is designed for the COEXIST partners such as farmers or for licensing purposes, in order to determine the appropriate shellfish or fish densities for optimal carrying capacity (the greatest sustainable yield of market-sized animals within a given time period). This FARM version targets four cultivated species of fish and shellfish - Gilthead bream (Sparus aurata); Manila clam (Tapes philippinarum) Good Clam (Ruditapes decussatus); Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis). This model has been validated in Case Study 3 of the COEXIST project: the Algarve coast.

FARM requires console-based software and needs information about current speed, environmental drivers for growth and culture practice. The outputs of FARM provide data sheets, graphs and the mass balance resulting out of the IMTA.

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Tool 8: Detailed ecosystem models

The COEXIST project applied several models to study aquaculture production, environmental effects (positive and negative), and disease spread, and its impact on the environment in the Case Study 3 – Algarve Coast.

The Farm Aquaculture Resource Management (FARM) model was applied to simulate the gilthead bream production and biodeposition coming from a typical lease during a cultivation cycle. The EcoWin2000 ecological model (E2K) was applied for the whole area with different scenarios: Mediterranean mussel monoculture and for two scenarios of mutlitrophic aquaculture: mussel and gilthead seabream production. E2K resolves hydrodynamics, biogeochemistry and can incorporate population dynamics for target modelled species.

The various components are self-contained objects, rather than multiple sub-models, and incorporate drivers from other models of different spatial and temporal scales. The release of particulate organic matter from finfish culture simulated using the farm-scale FARM model was used as a driver in the E2K model, as a constant input to the environment using a density of 400 fish per m2, which corresponds to 4% occupancy of a lease. The hydrodynamic model was also used for disease modelling by simulating the spread of pathogens in the Case Study area.

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Visit EcoWin2000 ecological model and download the model at:


Tool 9: Suitability Maps

Suitability Maps show the specific characteristics of European Coastal areas based on each area's physical characteristics and suitability for aquaculture.

The scope of maps includes the Greater North Sea, Mediterranean, Baltic, Celtic Bay of Biscay and Azores. The activities related to the future aquaculture possibilities for current aquaculture species involved in the COEXIST Case Study areas (Hardangerfjord, Atlantic coast areas, Algarve coast, Adriatic Sea coast, Coastal North Sea and Baltic Sea). The physical characteristics included parameters of optimal water salinity, water temperature, water depth (bathymetry), wave height, content of chlorophyll and oxygen required for the species reproduction. In addition, all parameters were analysed to find the most critical ones affecting culture of particular species. The analysis was based on a literature review using scientific publications, FishBase and the FAO database on Cultured Aquatic Species. The species studied in this report are: Coregonus lavaretus, Crassostrea angulate and Crassostrea gigas, Dicentrarchus labrax, Diplodus sargus, Gadus morhua, Mytilus edulis, Mytilus galloprovincialis, Oncorhynchus mykiss, Ostrea edulis, Pecten maximus, Venerupis decussate, Salmo salar, Solea senegalensis, Sparus aurata and Venerupis corrugate.

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Tool 10: Stakeholder preferences

Stakeholder preferences refer to relative importance of all relevant objectives identified in a particular marine area, including specifications of economic, social and ecological goals. The procedure is referred to as a mapping out strategy, where all different objectives of relevance are identified before finding what is relatively more important to who. Thus, no average stakeholder preference is presented as outcome, but differences are explicitly provided as results.

Following the identification of objectives, they will be weighted in a process involving different categories of stakeholders. The strategy is to conduct a pairwise comparison technique which enables stakeholders to compare two objectives at the same time on a scale of importance. Consequentially, the priorities are spread over the relevant objectives. As this approach is based on the assumption that a total of 100% importance priorities exists for an individual stakeholder (or stakeholder group), each of these sets of preferences sums up to 100%. A modified version of the weighting technique developed by Saaty (2001) is applied (4, 3, 2, 1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4) for comparing the objectives two at a time.

For more information, please see COEXIST deliverable 4.1.

The stakeholder preferences were identified in all case studies of COEXIST, and results can be found in COEXIST Deliverable 4.2, which consists of a total of six case study reports.

Reference: Saaty TL. 2001. Fundamentals of Decision-Making - and Priority Theory - with the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP Series Vol. VI). University of Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh, PA.


Tool 11: Effect Table

In the effect table relevant economic, ecological and social objectives to a specific marine area, possibly specified into appropriate indicators, are assessed with respect to possible future marine spatial management options, referred to as scenarios. The effect table can thus be regarded a specific type of an impact assessment to obtain insights into effects of different marine management strategies. Two options exist; 1) effect scores on indicators are estimated quantitatively for each scenario, or 2) effect scores are judged ordinary, for example, an ordinal scale (-3,-2,-1,0,1,2,3) can be applied where -3 is large negative impact, -2, is moderate negative impact, -1 is low negative impact, 0 is no impact, 1 is low positive impact, 2 is moderate positive impact and 3 is large positive impact. In this way, also relevant objectives with low databases can be included in the analysis. The joint effect of all indicators for each scenario can be obtained and compared with joint effect values of other scenarios.

For more information, please see COEXIST deliverable 4.1.

The effect tables were identified in all case studies of COEXIST, and results can be found in COEXIST Deliverable 4.2, which consists of a total of six case study reports.   


Tool 12: Multi Criteria Analysis (MCA)

Multicriteria analysis can be used as a way to combine stakeholder preferences (i.e. weights) with the effect scores in the effect table, to judge on which scenarios are more favourable to different stakeholders. In other words, we can find which scenario is more favourable to the most preferred objectives, adjusted for positive and negative effect scores. The combination of weights and effect scores can be done in two different manners: 1) by just presenting them in a joint table or figure, or 2) by aggregating the effect scores and the weights (stakeholder preferences) by for instance, weighted summation. The latter is questionable as information gets lost when incommensurable values are aggregated and cannot be used as a result. At the same time, given careful considerations, the aggregation can assist in structuring large amounts of information throughout a process. The result is a mapping out of different scenarios being favourable to different stakeholders.

For more information, please see COEXIST deliverable 4.1.

The Multicriteria analysis was conducted in all case studies of COEXIST, and results can be found in COEXIST Deliverable 4.2, which consists of a total of six case study reports.



FISHNETS (Farmed Inshore Species Health NETwork System) is a tool designed for management of aquaculture, and impact on wild fisheries and conservation. FISHNETS is a screening model, aimed at farmers and managers, which uses four screens to evaluate:

  1. Biosecurity aspects  of sitting a new farm
  2. Vulnerability of a particular species to disease
  3. Optimization of culture practice

The information entered on the four screens of the model (Location, Species, Environment and Governance) is used to provide a risk assessment for aquaculture and wild species interaction

FISHNETS is a console-based software based on existing quantitative and qualitative data on the planned aquaculture activity. The outputs include risk rating (e.g. vulnerability of species) and recommendations concerning aquaculture techniques.

To consult the full document please chick here pdf icon

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flagsThe research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no 245178. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.