Combining seascape connectivity with cumulative impact assessment to support ecosystem-based marine spatial planning.
Cumulative impact assessment (CIA) is a simple yet promising approach to guide marine management interventions, but one not without limitations. In this paper, it was shown how seascape connectivity can be implemented into a CIA framework. The focus is on species where connectivity is governed by the passive dispersal of planktonic eggs and larvae, which is typical for most marine invertebrate and fish species. To demonstrate how CIA can be extended to include seascape connectivity, a recently developed tool, Symphony, was used. In the Baltic Sea, CIA modelling revealed that connectivity impact is generally small for blue mussels, but may in some areas exceed 20 percent. The neglect of seascape connectivity within MSP could be particularly serious for valuable or sensitive areas, e.g. biodiversity hotspots or fish spawning areas - where distant pressures here may compromise management measures.