The Benthic Indicator Species Index (BISI) is the Dutch national benthos indicator for evaluation of the quality status of the benthic habitats of the North Sea as amongst others in use for Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) reportings. At the moment an updated version of the BISI is being developed that allows generic application in the international context and/or application in marine waters outside the North Sea. Most important differences with the first version of the BISI are that:
- – Ecotopes* form the basis for derivation of the index (instead of the use of an area-specific index).
- – Indicator species selection and derivation of (internal) reference occurrences of indicator species are standardized and part of the methodology.
Development in the international context takes place as part of the OSPAR common indicator development process (within the OSPAR Benthic Habitat Experts Group – OBHEG) and the specific aim in the Netherlands is to allow evaluation of marine Habitat Directive habitat (sub)types outside the North Sea as well.
The updated version of BISI including a complete protocol and examples and results of application in the international context will come available (here) soon.
In the meanwhile an intermediate version of the updated BISI protocol and assessment tool is available here to show the characteristics and potentials of the methodology:
*The methodology makes use of the EUNIS (EUropean Nature Information System) Broad habitat type classification as suggested by the European Commission (EC) in the MSFD common implementation strategy (CIS) and a comparable classification (ZES.1: Zoute wateren EcotopenStelsel: Dutch ecotope system for coastal waters) for coastal and transitional waters.