Monitoring and assessment
There is a requirement within the Habitats Directive
(Article 17) for Member State governments to report on the conservation
status of the habitats and species which SACs and SPAs aim to
The monitoring programme for each marine site
should work towards distinguishing changes that are brought
about by human activities from natural changes. Knowledge about
this varies, and in some circumstances a precautionary approach
may be necessary towards activities that are considered, by
the best scientific view, to be likely to cause significant
damage. It is this significant human-induced damage to the condition
of the conservation features of the site that management scheme
is primarily intended to prevent.
The aim of monitoring on European marine sites
is to determine whether the conservation objectives for the
site have been, or are in the process of being, achieved. Its
value is to record changes in the conservation features, for
which the site has been designated in response to the management
measures taken to conserve it, and to serve as a guide to help
identify any additional measures which need to be taken.
A monitoring programme will be developed for each
European marine site and should assess the effectiveness of
the management scheme in achieving the conservation objectives.
The results of the monitoring will inform he management scheme
and allow for effective revision of the management measures.
The responsibility for carrying out the monitoring programme
will vary between sites but it is hoped that many of the relevant
authorities will contribute to this through the exercise of
their normal functions. It is likely that, where appropriate,
the conservation agencies will co-ordinate the monitoring programme
for each site.