This was the Fifteenth meeting of the Marine Observation and Data Expert Group.
Corinna Artom, Sukru Besiktepe, Antonio Bode, Peter Burkill, Simon Claus, Franciscus Colijn, Hans Dahlin, Raf Deroo, Juliusz Gajewski, Robert Gatliff, Anthony Grehan, Lars Hansen, Neil Holdsworth, Bourillet Jean-François, Corine Lochet, Cherith Moses, Lesley Rickards, Angela Schäfer, Iain Shepherd, Henry Vallius, Christopher Zimmerman
National governments devolve many responsibilities for managing the sea to regional authorities. This requires data and the MAREMED project, funded through INTERREG, gathers a number of regional authorities together to improve the accessibility and interoperability of marine and coastal data. Inventories have been developed and checks are ongoing to determine compliance with the INSPIRE Directive. The project team reported that fisheries data is generally held at a national level and it is difficult to obtain access to it for incorporation in coastal geographical information systems
The Litto3D project is 50% funded by the European Regional Development Fund. It aims to provide a topographical map of the coast and sae out to the six-mile limit. The horizontal resolution in the marine part would be 5 metres. The marine component would be publicly available.
MODEG applauded these excellent projects which highlighted the benefits of involving regional authorities and which ensure a joining-up between land and sea components. The ANCORIM and PAGASO projects similarly aim to improve the knowledge base for integrated coastal zone management.
EMODnet needs to provide a repository so that the output of these projects is not lost once the project has finished. The Commission said that they would bear this in mind when preparing the next phase of the project.
Given the burgeoning interest in living and non-living resources in the deep-sea for biotechnology or for mining, the DS3F (Deep sea and Sub- Sea floor Frontier) is a timely EU project to develop a “white paper” to highlight future research themes. Most of the funding for current sub-sea research comes from individual countries' contributions to the ECORD (European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling). The aim is to deliver a science plan that can consolidate research into complex and interlinked physical, geological, chemical, biological and microbial processes operating throughout the global deep sea floor. The plan can enable a case to be built for the necessary funding both for key science objectives and the distributed European scientific infrastructure to underpin subsea research
The FP7 CoralFISH project aims to provide a scientific basis for the sustainable management of deep-sea fisheries using an ecosystem approach. Obtaining fisheries data from reluctant authorities is still a major challenge.
CoralFISH has developed methods and tools (including video annotation software) to promote standardised habitat mapping and classification in Europe’s deep seas. Quantification of habitat is an important step in determining the how important particular habitats are for fish. CoralFISH is also developing predicted habitat maps using high resolution habitat suitability models that incorporate terrain attributes generated from bathymetry to indicate where vulnerable marine ecosystems are likely to occur in areas where data is lacking . EMODnet should consider including predicted habitat map layers, as well as layers representing the principal terrain attributes extracted from EMODnet bathymetry.
The impact assessment for EMODnet indicated that public authorities are the third largest user of marine data. Gerben de Boer provided an unofficial view of the challenges facing government departments with declining budgets and increasing requests from the EU for data. He emphasised the need for simplicity and standardisation. The different EMODnet platforms should be interoperable with the same technology used to deliver near-real-time data as for archived data. Information technology needs to be maintained. He suggested that training workshops from EMODnet providers might help.
Progress in the ur-EMODNet projects had been summarised the previous day. MODEG provided some further comments that should be borne in mind for the continuation of these projects and their follow up under the Integrated Maritime Policy financial regulation for 2012 and 2013.
The next meeting of MODEG is planned for 19-20 June 2012.
 industry is first and researchers are second