MONS research and monitoring programme

The North Sea Agreement (NSA) wants to confront the challenges in response to changing use and find a new equilibrium. The NSA outlines the real need for an integrated and systematic research and monitoring programme that forms the basis for knowledge about how the North Sea functions. The 'Nature Strengthening and Species Protection Monitoring Survey' (MONS) aims to answer the central question of whether and, if so, how the changing use of the North Sea can adapt to its ecological capacity.

The aim of the MONS programme is to give the parties to the North Sea Consultation (NSC) and, in the wider sense, society, an understanding of the changes that may and/or will, in future, arise as a result of the transitions that are already under way (energy, food supply and nature), combined with factors such as climate change, acidification and autonomous changes. All these developments will lead to changes in the ecosystem of the North Sea, protected habitats and populations of various protected species. Changes are inevitable. When the environment changes, the ecosystem changes with it. So there will be trade-offs between human use and the ecosystem, the habitats and the species. It is the job of the research carried out within the framework of the MONS programme to explain and/or to predict the scope of these changes, to assess the gravity of the effects (scientifically) and to communicate the results of this to the NSC parties (and the public at large). In this way it is possible for the NSC to make well-informed decisions.