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5th Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG) Meeting Minutes

Published on: Thu, 03/06/2021 - 21:50
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    In this article, you can find the minutes of the 5th Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG) Meeting

    5th EC Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG) Meeting Minutes

    Remote Meeting, 19 and 21 April 2021

    List of Participants: See Annex I

    The main aims of this 5th  meeting of the European Commission (EC) Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG) were to update members about the latest developments in the European Marine Observation and Data network (EMODnet), including the ongoing move towards centralisation of services (including all data and data products), and to collect feedback from MKEG members on EMODnet status, recommendations for future development, and on related projects and initiatives such as the EMOD-PACE EU-China project.

    To achieve maximum opportunity for interaction and engagement with EMODnet, the 5th MKEG meeting was held in two sessions:  The first session was held on 19th of April 2021 morning, held jointly with the 14th EMODnet Steering Committee (SC) meeting, chaired by Jan-Bart Calewaert (JBC) (Head of the EMODnet Secretariat) and Iain Shepherd (IS) (Unit A1 Maritime Innovation, Marine Knowledge and Investment, DG MARE, European Commission). This enabled MKEG members to hear the latest EMODnet thematic developments presented by EMODnet Coordinators, and interact directly with EMODnet SC and Technical Working Group (TWG) members (see full participants list in Annex I). This was followed by a closed MKEG session on Wednesday 21 April 2021 morning, restricted to MKEG members, EC DG MARE and the EMODnet Secretariat (see Annex I). The closed session was Chaired by Zoi Konstantinou (ZK) (Unit A1 Maritime Innovation, Marine Knowledge and Investment, DG MARE, European Commission) and included further discussion and feedback from MKEG on strategic EMODnet developments e.g. centralisation, EMODnet external partnerships e.g. with Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS), and Global dialogues e.g.,  the EU-China EMOD-PACE project, and to hear the latest updates and preliminary results from the EC consultation on ‘Ocean Observation: Sharing responsibility’ . In this morning session.  The EMODnet Secretariat presented key updates from the EMOD-network and served as rapporteurs.

    Monday 19 April Morning Session, held jointly with the EMODnet Steering Committee and Technical Working Group


    Welcome and Updates (EMODnet Secretariat and DG MARE)  emodnet_14thsc_19april2021_secretariat_opensessionslides.pdf

    Jan-Bart Calewaert (JBC), Head of the EMODnet Secretariat, welcomed all EC Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG) members to the EMODnet Steering Committee (SC) Open Session, which included members from the EMODnet SC, EMODnet Technical Working Group (TWG) and EC MKEG (see Participants list, Annex I). Following an overview of practical arrangements and housekeeping rules for the online meeting, JBC initiated a tour-de-table which included introductions from all members of the EC MKEG attending the meeting. Practical recommendations and guidelines were repeated to inform new participants.  


    DGMARE: Current status and perspectives & Marine Knowledge Expert Group updates (EC, DG MARE)

    DG MARE, Zoi Konstantinou (ZK) welcomed all MKEG members, noting this was the fifth meeting and would include the joint session with the EMODnet SC and TWG on 19 April and a closed MKEG session on 21 April. She highlighted the ongoing centralization of EMODnet, noting that updates from EMODnet Central Portal, data ingestion and thematic Coordinators would be presented during the meeting. 

    ZK then gave a short update on the EC initiative on Ocean Observation (OO). She noted the impact assessment stage had ended and was currently in review, and preliminary results from the stakeholder consultation (which closed February 2021) were being analysed. It was noted that this would be further discussed in the MKEG closed session on 21 April morning.


    Updates from the EMODnet Secretariat and VLIZ on the Centralisation process   emodnet_centralportalupdates.pdf

    Joana Beja (JB), VLIZ, gave a presentation containing a brief overview of the EMODnet Central Portal (CP), including the two main ongoing activities:

    1. EMODnet centralisation process

    For the centralisation process it was noted that the CP team has drafted an initial plan (see Maritime Forum) to coordinate the centralisation process that will see the migration of the thematic lots to the EMODnet CP. The EMODnet SC, TWG and MKEG were invited to note this and to send any feedback to the EMODnet Secretariat, to distribute to the EMODnet Central Portal colleagues.

    It was noted the centralisation process follows a step-by-step approach and that since the initiation of this in Autumn 2020, each portal will be progressively brought into the centralization, with EMODnet Bathymetry being the first thematic Portal to be centralized by the end of summer 2021, followed by Biology.

    Dick Schaap (DS), EMODnet Data Ingestion, Bathymetry and Chemistry, stressed that whilst the Portal websites would close after centralisation, the thematic Consortia of experts running the thematic operations would remain and would indeed be crucial to maintain their thematic service, working in close collaboration with the EMODnet Central Portal.

    Conor Delaney (CD), technical coordinator of the EMODnet Secretariat highlighted that COVID- 19 had in fact catalysed the CP team to find online solutions organize the various strands of work as everything is organized online and emphasized the CP team welcomes on a continuous basis feedback how improvements can be made.

    b) repatriation of the EMODnet website to the Europa domain

    The repatriation process of the EMODnet website to the Europa domain was reported to be ongoing, expected for completion by end May 2021. The updated EMODnet Central Portal website would remain hosted by VLIZ servers, complying with EU standards. The new website url would be communicated publicly after a soft launch, giving time for final testing and tweaking if needed.


    Updates from EMODnet thematic assembly groups

    Each EMODnet thematic group (see direct links at the EMODnet Central Portal) provided an overall status update including an update on thematic outputs, cross-thematic and external interactions and the future outlook of their thematic activity. The main points of these presentations have been summarised below.

    EMODnet BathymetryDick Schaap (MARIS)  emodnet_14thsc_april2021_bathy.pdf

    Recent Updates and Collaborations:

    • A number of products were released, concluding the Phase III contract of EMODnet Bathymetry in December 2020: (i) the full release of the updated Digital Terrain Model (DTM); (ii) EMODnet High Resolution Digital Terrain Models (DTMs); (iii) new update of the inventory of national baselines and coastlines;

    Future Outlook:

    • Continue with increased spatial and temporal resolution, including expanding the region of interest to the Caribbean Seas.

    Q&A: Graeme Duncan (GD) noted there is the potential to add more UK-sourced high resolution DTMs to the catalogue. DS invited GD and others to submit data to EMODnet Data Ingestion.

    EMODnet Human ActivitiesAlessandro Pititto (COGEA)  emodnet_14thsc_april2021_ha.pdf

    Recent Updates:

    • New Data releases including:

    a) Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) dataset. This currently includes the national Marine Spatial Plans from Belgium and Finland, where the Åland Islands were one of the first stakeholders who used EMODnet to transmit their Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) and make it available in a digital format. An INSPIRE-compliant data model has been developed by EMODnet Human Activities that is compatible with other existing data models (e.g. HELCOM);

    b) Spirulina Production Facilities dataset.

    • EMODnet Human Activities Vessel Density maps were frequently used in 2020, most commonly by renewable energy developers and companies laying cables.

    Cross collaboration:

    • Cross-collaborations are planned with EMODnet Biology (animal migration route maps) and Physics (fine-tuning of noise maps through Automatic Identification System (AIS) data).
    • There is a proposal to develop a Human Pressure Index, which would combine data from all EMODnet thematic lots. EMODnet Human Activities will conduct a scoping exercise on this in the next phase.

    Future developments:

    • All datasets and products receive a yearly update. Coverage of aquaculture will be expanded through remote sensing and satellite images.

    Q&A: Toste Tanhua (TT), MKEG, enquired about the interaction with the Ocean Observing and wider research community to co-design Human Pressure Index, particularly in relation to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). He also asked if there was a connection with the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). AP replied that an initial scoping work was being carried out and that he would welcome feedback from the EMODnet SC, MKEG and wider scientific community at future meetings.

    Kate Larkin (KL) from EMODnet Secretariat proposed the EMODnet HA Human Pressure Index could be a potential discussion topic in the EMODnet Open Conference breakout session on EMODnet for the EU Green Deal. These Break-Out sessions are open discussions, to collect ideas and feedback from wider stakeholders on new priorities to add value and evolve existing EMODnet data and data products, and new ones.

    Jorge Blanco (JB), MKEG, asked AP which types of fishing data were going to be introduced in the EMODnet Human Activities (HA). AP replied that this is not a focus of EMODnet HA and the main fishing data available at the moment is relating to fishing efforts or intensity. Last year fishing intensity data in the North Sea collected by International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) was added. In the near future EMODnet HA plan to make more data available from ICES for the Baltic and later on for the Mediterranean Sea.

    JBC added that the EMODnet Secretariat is there to support future developments for EMODnet Human Activities regarding communication and outreach if considered useful.

    An action was noted for the EMODnet Human Activities Coordinator, AP, to keep EMODnet SC and MKEG updated on plans for developing an EMODnet Human Pressures Index, with an option to provide feedback (see EMODnet SC minutes for full actions list).

    EMODnet Biology – Joana Beja (VLIZ)  emodnet_biology_twg_2021-04.pdf

    Recent Updates:

    • EMODnet Biology has completed Phase III, and started Phase IV (as of 20 April 2021);
    • EMODnet Biology suffered from some delays in data submission due to COVID-19 and experienced a minor decrease on website visits and data downloads since November 2020;
    • Online events had positive outcomes as more participants were able to join.

    Cross-thematic collaboration:

    • EMODnet Biology data product was published using 2019 Seabed Habitats broad-scale habitat map.

    External collaborations:

    Future Outlook:

    • New developments with OBIS community on a workflow to manage –omics data.

    EMODnet Chemistry – Alessandra Giorgetti (OGS)  emodnet_14thsc_april2021_chemistry.pdf

    Recent Updates:

    • Release of new validated data collections for all European seas for Eutrophication and Ocean Acidification, Contaminants, Beach and Seafloor Litter;
    • Updating of the webODV tool with new data collections;
    • Consolidation of EMODnet Chemistry role as European data management hub for data on marine litter. 
    • A thematic video was in progress for summer 2021.

    Cross-thematic collaboration:

    • EMODnet Chemistry is leading the development of the joint EMODnet-Copernicus Marine Service portfolio on data and data products relevant to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) includes in situ and satellite data. This has input from all EMODnet thematic lots, and whilst initially focused on the Baltic Sea is now expanding coverage to include all EU sea-basins and regional seas. This is expected for publication in June 2021, for promotion at the EMODnet Jamboree.

    External collaboration:

    Future Outlook:

    • Undertake collation, harmonisation and integration of micro litter data, covering water and sediment, and involving all EU Member states.

    Q&A: A question was asked by the EMODnet Secretariat concerning the upcoming EMODnet Chemistry promotional video release, requesting the release date, when possible, to coordinate with Secretariat for promotion through social media and online.

    EMODnet Chemistry confirmed the release date of their thematic promotional video would be in early June 2021.

    EMODnet Geology – Henry Vallius (GTK)  emodnet_14thsc_april2021_emodnet_geology_final.pdf

    Recent Updates:

    • New map for coastline migration based on field data and aerial photography was released on 18 March 2021;
    • EMODnet Geology continues to update data and data products. The European Geological Data Infrastructure (EGDI) platform used by EMODnet Geology allows users to search through all layers easily and makes it possible to download data of a sub-area.

    External collaborations:

    • A variety of different levels: National, Regional Sea (e.g. RSCs), European level (e.g. Copernicus Marine Service, EEA, JRC, etc.), International (e.g. IOC-IODE, ICES, GEOSS, etc.).
    • Across different sectors: blue economy, policy, research, civil society, other.

    Future developments

    • A number of EMODnet Geology product updates are expected in the coming months.

    Q&A: Quillon Harpham (QH) asked the thematic coordinators how they decide which opportunities to take?

    JB (EMODnet Biology) replied from the point of view of EMODnet Biology, that until now and with only a couple of exceptions, it has been very project-centered. Plans are developed to try and cater different stakeholders’ requirements. EMODnet Biology has partners that are part of various coordination bodies (e.g. Black Sea Commission, OSPAR, etc.). Their feedback and the needs of these communities will feed back to the data product development. Also, recent events have triggered a couple of responses that can help EMODnet Biology guide in future product development.

    JBC (EMODnet Secretariat) added that this concerns a two-way approach: user-driven and coming from inside the thematic groups.

    AG (EMODnet Chemistry) commented that the main stakeholders are identified in their contract; MSFD, Copernicus Marine Service and the global community. Based on those stakeholders and in line with the on-going dialogue with users, scientists and policy administrators, EMODnet Chemistry evaluates the different opportunities. All requests are taken into consideration in this process.

    EMODnet Physics – Antonio Novellino (ETT)  20210415_emodnetphysics_emodnetsctwg.pdf

    Recent Updates:

    • A number of technological developments took place/are ongoing (e.g. connectors to match providers and user needs; new landing page; backend dataserver, etc.).

    Cross-thematic Collaboration:

    • Interactions with Data Ingestion portal, EMODnet Chemistry, Seabed Habitats, Biology;
    • Activity with CMEMS in situ thematic assembly centre (INSTAC) to ingest fishing vessel sensors (smart sensors) data.

    Future developments:

    • Several new products are in development, to be expected by August 2021, e.g. New SDN Temperature and Salinity, HR Temperature and Salinity climatology from the North Adriatic Sea, Noise monitoring sites, etc.

    EMODnet Seabed Habitats – Mickaël Vasquez (Ifremer)  emodnet_14thsc_april2021_seabed_habitats.pdf

    Recent Updates:

    • 25 new maps with ground-truth point datasets and 3 composite data products were made available on the Seabed Habitats Portal.

    Cross Collaboration:

    • Strong collaboration with EMODnet Geology. A meeting was organised in February 2021 to see how Geology will deliver the data to Seabed Habitats;
    • Meeting with EEA: Data for the Nature and Habitats and Bird Directives.

    Future developments:

    • New EUSeaMap version expected release by September 2021;
    • Update of European maps with biological and ecological Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs), e.g. Seagrass, Coral, etc;
    • New Products are designed: (1) European map of biogenic habitats, and (2) Coralligenous and other calcareous bio concretions in the Mediterranean.

    EMODnet Data Ingestion Portal – Dick Schaap (MARIS)  emodnet_14thsc_april2021_ingestion_schaap.pdf

    Recent Updates:

    • Ingestion of operational data in collaboration with EMODnet Physics. Connection of Near Real Time (NRT) data streams to the EU operational oceanography data exchange managed by CMEMS INSTAC, EuroGOOS and SeaDataNet;
    • Eurofleets project (Underway data available from vessels fitted with marine sensors and instruments for recording marine environmental parameters).

    Cross Collaboration:

    • Coupling with Crowne Estate Marine Data Exchange is under development, to share data from environmental origin;
    • SEANOE (DOI for data): More than100 SEANOE scientific data submissions are now in EMODnet.

    Future Development:

    • Following a meeting with the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI) initiated by the EC DG MARE and attended by EMODnet Data Ingestions DS, Sissy Iona (SI), Patrick Gorringe (PG) EMODnet Physics and the EMODnet Secretariat, RGI is looking for a collaboration with EMODnet Data Ingestion in order to share data and adopting best practices for data management by running wind farms. The next meeting was planned for the end of April 2021.


    External partnerships and interactions

    Kate Larkin (KL), Deputy Head of the EMODnet Secretariat and JB highlighted the main interactions and collaboration with external initiatives and partnerships with shared short updates.

    • European partnerships: Copernicus Marine Service & Other (e.g. European Marine Research Infrastructures, EOSC, Regional Sea Conventions, …)
    • European Ocean Observing: Update on EC Consultation and future developments 
    • EMODnet for Blue Economy and Policy
    • Global partnerships: EMOD-PACE, IODE, GEOSS & GEO-Blue Planet, UN Ocean Decade

    Further updates and discussions for this Agenda item were moved to the 19th of April closed session and to the 21 April MKEG closed session, in light of timing constraints


    Closing remarks and Any Other Business (AOB)

    JB thanked the EC MKEG members for joining the EMODnet SC, noting it was very valuable to have such a dialogue and interaction. He also noted that the EMODnet Secretariat would join the MKEG closed session on 21 April, to continue the presentations and discussions, most notably on the EU-China project EMOD-PACE, the EC Ocean Observation initiative and on EMODnet’s external partnerships, including with Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS), Global partnerships e.g. with IOC-IODE and GEOSS and with stakeholder sectors including EMODnet for Business.


    Wednesday 21 April Morning Session, closed session

    Opening and Welcome:

    ZK, DG MARE welcomed all MKEG experts to the second session of the 5th MKEG meeting, noting this was a closed session for MKEG members only, Chaired by the EC DG MARE, with presentations and reporting by the EMODnet Secretariat. She gave an overview of the agenda which would include EMODnet centralisation, EMODnet’s external partnerships at EU e.g., CMEMS, and Global e.g. the EU-China EMOD-PACE collaboration, the EC Ocean Observation initiative and the upcoming EMODnet open conference and jamboree.


    Feedback of MKEG on EMOD-PACE  2021_04_19_emodpace_updates_for_mkeg_at_emodnet_sc_v3.pdf

    Julie Auerbach (JA), EMODnet Secretariat, gave a short overview and presentation about the EMOD-PACE project. Following the presentation on EMOD-PACE given at the 4th MKEG meeting in November 2020, some key updates on the project’s current status were presented:  

    • A constructive EMOD-PACE mid-term meeting was held on 26 January 2021 together with NMDIS.  As a result of this meeting, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed (see press release here);
    • A custom-made brokerage service has been set up and built according to the requirements as needed by both project partners;
    • A Mapviewer was presented and currently the project is busy working on updating the map layers including data on;
        • Absolute sea level;
        • Wetland degradation;
        • Coastal erosion;
        • Maritime traffic routes and vessel density routes
    • Other work underway includes getting the maritime traffic routes and vessel density routes for 2019 ready with a view to developing
    • All technical reports and discussions reports will be made available on the EMOD-PACE project website
    • Key Outputs are now summarized in a new leaflet

    Dialogue is ongoing between EMODnet and NMDIS about the sharing of data.  This is challenging since China has a very restrictive data policy. However, the Chinese partners at NMDIS show strong interest to both share data and address data gaps e.g., bathymetric data. A list of required data has been produced by EMOD-PACE, to aid the discussions going forward. 

    Going forward, the strengthened partnership through the MoU will be further optimised and EMOD-PACE data products will be further developed and communicated to marine and maritime sectors, to increase the visibility and use of such data products for operations at sea and for ocean management and governance.


    Toste Tanhua (TT) enquired about the interoperability of Chinese data and EMODnet regarding international standards.

    JA replied that EMODnet and EMOD-PACE work with Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards, amongst others, to further make  EMODnet data and data products interoperable. Partners Ifremer and Maris are leading this work for EMOD-PACE, in collaboration with VLIZ, the EMODnet Secretariat and all partners.

    IS, DG MARE mentioned EMODnet standards also follow where possible the international standards such as; OGC, GEBCO, OBIS. He also noted that EMODnet was a European region best practice in data standards and that EU standards were an important contributor to international standards dialogues. He also noted that the Chinese counterparts seem to be willing to adopt EU standards, where possible.

    KL,  added that the EMODnet Secretariat and many EMODnet thematics are well connected on an international level and have a continuous dialogue with other regions worldwide, and with international organisations such as the International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange" (IODE) of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission" (IOC) of UNESCO to align with the international standards and actively contribute to global initiatives e.g., the IODE Ocean Information Hub.

    TT asked if NMDIS is the main national marine data centre in China?

    JA replied that NMDIS is the National Marine Data and Information Service in China, although there is dialogue with other organisations and government ministries for some data e.g. data regarding plastic in the ocean.

    Paul Holthus (PH) asked about the future outlook after the project has ended.

    ZK  replied that the EC recognize that the EMOD-PACE project is delivering concrete outputs and there is momentum for further international collaboration and political to continue the collaboration with China.

    IS added that long time scales of funding are difficult for projects.

    ZK asked MKEG members which international collaborations in the future would be of particular interest to them?

    Jorge Blanco (JB) expressed an interest and need for a better collaboration across the full Mediterranean Sea basin, including with North-African countries e.g., to improve the information data flow.

    TT added that the sharing of ocean observation and marine data remains an issue in many countries.


    EMODnet External Partnerships and Interactions

    Kate Larkin (KL) EMODnet Secretariat gave a presentation about EMODnet’s (external) partnerships.

    Key Highlights:

    • EMODnet has a number of key EU partnerships, notably the Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS) which is a counterpart long-term EU service focusing on satellite-derived data. Work to date includes operational collaborations for data flow and sharing of expertise, joint use cases and workshops, and the development of a joint data and data product portfolio for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) which is due for finalization in summer 2021;
    • EMODnet also works very closely with Seadatanet, EuroGOOS and Marine Research Infrastructuresto ensure that marine data flows through from the national level to EMODnet.

    On a global level, In addition to EMOD-PACE, EMODnet collaborates with the IOC-IODE, , GEOSS, and GEO Blue Planet, UN 2030: SDG 14- 14.3.1 data portal (data portal on ocean certification); and SULITEST SDG 14 Module (for societal data), together with CMEMS.

    • For the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, EMODnet is already contributing as a European focal point to the Ocean InfoHub, and has registered thematic lots and Sea-basin Checkpoints in the ODIS catalogue. EMODnet is also very relevant for all UN Ocean Decade key Objectives and cross-cutting activities to enable the delivery of a transparent and accessible Ocean;
    • In addition to the Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) data principles, the Collective Benefit, Authority to Control, Responsibility and Ethics (CARE) data principles were discussed considering a more ethical focus and inclusive approach towards data access and to create a more transparent and robust data provenance..

    Gus Jeans (GJ) highlighted the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) led initiative on Benefits of Ocean Observing Catalogue (IOSS-BOOC) as another initiative that EMODnet could further collaborate with:  

    He offered to put EMODnet and DG MARE in contact and mentioned this initiative was already in contact with EMODnet (through IMAREST) and considered it would be beneficial to directly link for EMODnet.

    Post-meeting note: The EMODnet Secretariat have followed up and are now in direct contact with the IOOS – BOOC


    Paul Holthus (PH), noted that the World Ocean Council (WOC) as an international business organization regarding (Smart Ocean Smart Industries initiative) offered a platform for further partnership with the private sector. With this initiative the WOC are working directly with the blue economy and in particular the maritime shipping value chain, to deploy sensors on vessels to collect marine environmental data. . He noted that the IOC, WMO, IHO, and ESA already have MoUs in place with the WOC.

    ZK, DG MARE kindly thanked PH for this intervention and DG MARE is on a continuous basis looking to involve and work with industry across all blue economy sectors.

    TT asked EC DG MARE what long-term strategy was for all the various EU marine data services, noting that as a user, one would prefer to have a one-stop-show. 

    ZK replied from a communications point of view,  the main goal is to strengthen the EMODnet offer through centralisation of services (all data and data products) and to further  increase the resolution, parameters and quality of data. EMODnet has also increased its communication efforts to wider stakeholders including industry, to incease the visibility and the use of EMODnet data and data products, together with new opportunities for data sharing.

    Reference was made to the EU Horizon 2020 Blue Cloud-project, which offers a framework for web-based open science, using open source data from EMODnet, CMEMS and other data services, together with analytical tools and Virtual Research Environments (VREs).

    Gerben de Boer (GB) mentioned CMEMD offers technical hands-on workshops which are very useful for industry partners.  and he  highlighted it would be good to have joint workshops e.g. between EMODnet and CMEMS on technology and working with data

    KL replied that the EMODnet Secretariat works closely with CMEMS and has already initiated some joint workshops e.g. with the Aquacluture industry, with the potetnial for more. Iot was noted that more sector-specific technical workshops would be of benefit. She also referred to the EMODnet web service documentation.

    GB mentioned data sharing by the blue economy is not always  easy as often it may be unknown who the exact owner of the data & information collected is e.g. on wind farm projects where there are multiple investors. He stressed that data collected by private companies cannot be made public or available to others without their consent. He noted that a legal framework that included data sharing in the initial contract stages would be very beneficial to release marine environmental data collected through the private sector. Continuing the example of building a wind farm, he noted that currently, there is no incentive for companies to include data sharing or any additional costs into the contract stage as most consortia are formed two years upfront, taking into account the MEAT-procedure (Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT)).

    GJ, replied considering the offshore wind industry, greater international collaboration could be helpful. Support from the EU for this would be very helpful. He noted there remain big regional differences in collecting met ocean data   e.g., in the UK there’s the ‘Crown Estate Marine Data exchange’.

    GB referred to the Netherlands where some data are shared publicly, although in most cases not the time series. He noted that in the pre-tender phase the sharing of data e.g. single point data can be shared. The issue concerns the time-series data which are less easy to share. He stressed that currently there are no monitoring obligations on the wind farms to collect marine environmental data,   and no explicit criteria for data gathering are imposed. He concluded stating that governments could put these requirements into the tender agreements, and there is a need for unified criteria, to ensure a level playing field for all.


    Ocean Observation initiative (DG MARE)  5th_mkeg_21042021.pdf

    ZK, DG MARE provided an overview of the EC initiative ‘Ocean Observation: Sharing Responsibility’ where diverse stakeholders had been consulted on the potential for a future EC initiative to strengthen coordination in marine monitoring and ocean observation at national levels.

    IS noted that a EuroGOOS/GOOS survey in 2020 to European GOOS National Focal Points had shown that in many nations, the mandate and responsibility for marine monitoring and ocean osbervation was often spread across multiple (at times >5) ministries, making coordination particularly challenging at the present time. He then presented some preliminary results from the EC Ocean Observing initiative public consultation which took place between Autumn 2020 and February 2021, noting that the response had been large and diverse, including the private and public sectors and spanning the full marine and maritime community. Key highlights on preliminary results included:

    • Almost all respondents  saw a big scope for more coherence and coordination in marine monitoring and ocean observation efforts at a national level, and for this to be diverse and inclusive, including for citizen science;
    • There was scope for enhancing coordination between national, European and international fora;
    • Many respondents saw significant scope for sharing assets e.g. measuring environmental parameters from fisheries surveys or on navigation (e.g. with navy)
    • There was also scope for more coordination and increased standardisation across the sea basins and across sectors and parameters;
    • There was significant scope for an increase in new technology and new sensors for ocean observation and marine monitoring e.g. eDNA etc. and feedback from stakeholders asking how such research and innovation can be moved to the next stage, to the market.

    Several MKEG member considered these preliminary results as very  valuable and expressed interest to discuss this more in the future.

    IS concluded that an impact assessment has been developed which is currently under political review.


    Discussion on input from EMODnet thematics on the progress of the integration of EMODnet portals

    ZK referred to the thematic presentations that EMODnet thematic Coordinators had presented on Monday 19 April and she opened the floor for MKEG member feedback and considerations.

    David Darbinyan (DD) replied that he thought the centralisation of all portals was a good idea. He noted that the Bathymetry Digital terrain Model (DTM) multi-resolution layer options were very useful for the modelling community.  He also remarked about the EMODnet data ingestion service, noting that it was a very useful service and that more communication to data providers was important to also reassure data providers of the status of their data ingestions and the data flow e.g. at the data referencing stage through SEANOE to submit their data.

    Kate Larkin (KL) thanked DD for his comments on data ingestion, noting that the rapidity of communications would be looked at and where possible optimised. She also encouraged all MKEG members to consider submitting data for ingestion through the EMODnet Data Ingestion submissions page.

    Jorge Blanco had some questions concerning the functionalities and lay-out to design specific maps in EMODnet comparable to the functionalities of the UN Biodiversity Lab.

    ZK mentioned similar lay-out functionalities have been covered mainly in the European Atlas of the Seas. The Atlas has a variety of layers and is expanding mostly in terms of ocean literacy, but is also expanding for scientific aspects.  A significant amount of EMODnet data layers are already in the Atlas alongside other open source data e.g. from CMEMS, Eurostat etc. KL added that next to the common map viewer,  the EMODnet metadata catalogue would also be centralised, to further improve the search for data.

    Quillon Harpham mentioned you can never have too much good usability, even if the users of EMODnet are quite technically minded and professional marine and maritime experts. He also noted the

    TT had a question about Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs) if the coverage could become extended.

    KL, replied that the EMODnet Open Conference and the next phase of EMODnet was a good opportunity  to extend the dialogue e.g., to extend the parameters for EOVs and essential biodiversity variables. For now, an overview from an EMODnet paper in Frontiers would be useful as it includes a table considering the link between EMODnet data and EOVs:

    ZK replied there’s a need to improve coverage and spatial resolution but resources are limited and highlighted as quantity and quality is increasing, EMODnet can also make sure visibility is higher. She noted it is  considered very difficult to calculate the exact amount of added value in actual numbers. KL gave more explanation on the monitoring process and highlighted the Online Survey of EMODnet as a way to collect feedback on the use and impact of EMODnet on users.

    Post-meeting note: The Online Survey 2021 was launched after the meeting and is available via:


    EMODnet Open Conference and Jamboree overview

    KL discussed the upcoming EMODnet Open Conference and Jamboree (14-18 June 2021) encouraging MKEG members to participate. In addition MKEG members were informed of an EC Ocean observing event (back to back related event) on Friday 18 June with two focal areas a) marine technology (development and tailored ready for market) b) the gaps and requirements on ocean observation. An invitation to all MKEG members would follow once online.

    The next MKEG meeting is planned for the beginning of September 2021.



    Annex I: List of Participants

    MKEG members

    *Present only in MKEG Session 1 (Monday 19 April 2021 morning)

    Quillon Harpham

    HR Wallingford, UK

    David Darbinyan

    The European Marine Energy Centre Ltd (EMEC)

    Gus Jeans

    Oceanalysis Ltd

    Jorge Blanco


    Toste Tanhua

    GEOMAR Helmholtz centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany

    Paris Sansoglu  

    European Dredging Association*

    Nicolaus Ernst Erhard Manuel

    Cefas, UK

    Liliana Rusu

    "Dunarea de Jos" University of Galati

    Katarzyna Chojnacka

    Wroclaw university of Science and Technology

     Faculty of Chemistry

    Gerben J De Boer

    Van Oord

    Ana Martos Barba

    Iberdrola Engineering and Construction

    Fiona Buckley*

    Engie lab LABORELEC*

    Paul Holthus

    World Ocean Council



    EMODnet Steering Committee

    **Present also in Session 2 MKEG Closed Session (21 April 2021 morning)

    EMODnet Thematic portal




    Thierry Schmitt

    SHOM, France

    Dick Schaap

    MARIS, The Netherlands


    Henry Vallius

    GTK, Finland

    Bjarni Pjetursson

    GEUS, Finland

    Seabed Habitats

    Mickäel Vasquez

    Ifremer, France

    Eleonora Manca

    JNCC, UK


    Alessandra Giorgetti

    OGS, Italy


    Joana Beja

    VLIZ, Belgium


    Antonio Novellino

    ETT, Italy

    Patrick Gorringe

    SMHI, Sweden

    Human Activities

    Alessandro Pititto

    COGEA, Italy

    Data Ingestion

    Dick Schaap

    MARIS, The Netherlands

    Central Portal

    Joana Beja

    VLIZ, Belgium

    Frederic Leclercq

    VLIZ, Belgium

    Bart Vanhoorne

    VLIZ, Belgium

    EMODnet Secretariat

    Jan-Bart Calewaert

    EMODnet Secretariat

    Kate Larkin**

    EMODnet Secretariat

    Francis Strobbe

    EMODnet Secretariat

    Maxime Depoorter**

    EMODnet Secretariat

    Conor Delaney

    EMODnet Secretariat

    Tim Collart

    EMODnet  Secretariat

    Nathalie Tonné

    EMODnet  Secretariat

    Julie Auerbach**

    EMODnet Secretariat


    Iain Shepherd**

    DG MARE A1

    Zoi Konstantinou**

    DG MARE A1


    Juan Carlos Fernández Gomez


    Lucie Pautet