MESMA - Monitoring and Evaluation of Spatially Managed Areas

The MESMA project (2009-2013) has produced guidance and tools to evaluate marine spatial planning in Europe’s seas and beyond.

MESMA Framework for evaluation of spatially managed marine areas

MESMA developed a framework to monitor and evaluate spatially managed marine areas. That is, in areas where there is a spatial management plan in place or under development, this method - published in Marine Policy - allows you to analyse the effectiveness of it, and come up with recommendations. The outcome of a framework run may include a set of specific recommendations that can be communicated to decision makers.

The framework was tested by applying it to 9 different MESMA case studies that represent 6 EU marine regions, and a range of national and international aspects of marine spatial planning. In addition, a collection of tools and geodatasets was made available, that should help to perform the analyses.

Analysis of governance

The governance analysis framework provides a systematic and structured approach to analysing governance in Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), by ‘deconstructing’ governance into different incentive categories and examining the effectiveness of different governance approaches in addressing the key thematic issues or challenges encountered in existing initiatives with spatial elements.

Tools for marine spatial planning and evaluation

MESMA collected and described over 70 tools such as models, databases and decision support tools that are relevant for the monitoring and evaluation of spatially managed areas. The tools are linked to the MESMA Framework steps or can be explored by category.

Spatial data

Reliable monitoring and evaluation of spatially managed areas requires the use of reliable geospatial information covering a broad range of themes at a variety of temporal and spatial scales and with varying resolution depending on the level of detail being considered. MESMA has applied best available practice in the development of a project wide spatial data infrastructure (SDI) which is compliant with EU (INSPIRE) and international standards.

Download and use of MESMA tools and products

The MESMA methods, tools, geodata, case study examples and publications have all been collected in the tools website: For general information, see the project website: