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14th EMODnet Steering Committee Meeting - April 2021 - Meeting Minutes

Published on: Fri, 04/06/2021 - 02:22
Table of Contents
    This article summarise the main discussions of the 14th EMODnet Steering Committee Meeting which took place remotely in April 2021.

     14th EMODnet Steering Committee Meeting

    April 2021

    Meeting Venue: Remote Meeting

    Dates: Monday 19 April 2021 (9:30-12:30) - (14:00-16:30), (all times in Central European Summer Time, CEST)

    Meeting Chairs: Iain Shepherd (EC, DG MARE) & Jan-Bart Calewaert (Head, EMODnet Secretariat)

    List of Participants: See Annex I 

    Actions list


    What (short description)

    By when (deadline)

    By who?



    All thematic Coordinators to search for and provide additional footage for upcoming EMODnet videos and Open Conference and Jamboree



    EMODnet Thematic Coordinators

    Achieved in part, ongoing


    All SC to provide information on meetings, events co-organised by the EMODnet partnership, or where EMODnet participate or speak, to the EMODnet Secretariat


    EMODnet Steering Committee



    EMODnet Human Activities and all thematic Coordinators to continue updating the EMODnet Secretariat of thematic users e.g. industry, policy etc., to create new use cases


    Thematic Coordinators,



    Launch a Dashboard with user-statistics and performance information on the EMODnet Central Portal (to action after repatriation)

    30 June 2021

    VLIZ and EMODnet Secretariat



    Provide Thematic Coordinators with the updated Use Case template

    31 May 2021

    EMODnet Secretariat



    Update table of EMODnet thematic contracts

    31 May 2021

    EMODnet Secretariat



    Send an invitation to all thematic coordinators with registration link and meeting details to discuss input to EuroGOOS Conference

    29 April 2021

    EMODnet Secretariat



    Keep EMODnet SC and MKEG updated on plans for developing a EMODnet Human Pressures Index, with an option to provide feedback



    Alessandro Pittito, EMODnet Human Activities



    EMODnet Chemistry to confirm the release date of their thematic promotional video


    3 May 2021

    EMODnet Secretariat

    Achieved, video planned for release on 3 June 2021


    EMODnet Secretariat and EMODnet thematics to discuss with EC, DG MARE and provide a list of data and data products and who contributes, specifically Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS), further guidelines to the SC and a document outlining the main concerns.


    30 June 2021

    EMODnet Thematic Coordinators



    EMODnet Secretariat will follow up with practical guidelines for the thematic presentations at the EMODnet Open Conference and Jamboree (14-16 June 2021)

    17 May 2021

    EMODnet Secretariat




    EMODnet thematic Coordinators were requested to complete the survey on the Conference breakout session and Jamboree requirements

    23 April 2021

    EMODnet thematic Coordinators



    Meeting Minutes

    DAY 1, Monday 19 April 2021

    09:30-10:30: EMODnet SC (Closed session for SC only)

    1. Welcome & Introduction  emodnet_14thsc_19april2021_secretariat_opensessionslides.pdf

    Jan-Bart Calewaert (JBC), Head of the EMODnet Secretariat, opened the meeting and welcomed all EMODnet Steering Committee (SC) members. Practical arrangements and guidelines for the meeting were highlighted and the SC members adopted the meeting Agenda (Document 1) without any comments, noting the list of meeting documents (listed in Document 2).


    1. Updates from DG MARE (Iain Shepherd / Zoi Konstantinou)

    DG MARE Vision Objectives & Priorities for next phase of EMODnet

    Zoi Konstantinou (ZK), EC DG MARE, welcomed all SC members and thanked all EMODnet implementers for their efforts towards the repatriation of the EMODnet Central Portal to the Europa Domain and the ongoing centralisation of EMODnet services, expressing gratitude to the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), EMODnet Secretariat, EMODnet thematic Coordinators and technical teams, EC DG MARE colleagues and CINEA (formerly CINEA).

    She noted the relevance of EMODnet data and data products to the EU the Green Deal and that as a result, EMODnet is gaining visibility both within the European Commission services and with wider stakeholders. She recognized this increased communication and stakeholder engagement is largely thanks to the active role that the EMODnet Secretariat and thematic Coordinators and partners are taking in stakeholder dialogues, meetings and events, and that this – together with the centralization of EMODnet services was important for the longer-term development of EMODnet in the future.

    DG MARE noted they would give a short update on the EC initiative on Ocean Observation (OO) in the Open Session (agenda item 5).  


    1. General updates from the Secretariat (EMODnet Secretariat)

    JBC further thanked the thematic Coordinators and the wider EMODnet partnership for their active work in increasing visibility for EMODnet, noting this is a joint effort. He highlighted that many of the dialogues and interactions are not only extending the user base for EMODnet’s services, data and data products, but are also further strengthening existing collaborations, and creating new opportunities at national, European and global levels for data sharing, joint workshops and more.

    • Impact of COVID19 on EMODnet operations, developments & continuity of service

    Kate Larkin (KL), Deputy Head of the EMODnet Secretariat, gave a brief overview of the impact of COVID19 on EMODnet thematic activities and progress, summarising input provided by the EMODnet thematic lots through Quarterly reporting (Document 4), and the solutions that had been put in place to overcome these challenges. She explained that whilst this presented ongoing challenges for the EMODnet partners and Secretariat, the EMODnet services and operations had not been adversely affected. In some cases, it had led to new solutions including developing more online collaborative environments to optimize workflow and access to software.

    • List of actions from previous meetings (Secretariat & all)

    JBC referred to actions from the previous 13th Steering Committee meeting (Meeting Document 3), noting that all actions were achieved (see Annex II Table), except for three ongoing actions, which are added as ongoing actions to the 14th SC actions list, namely:

    Action 1: All thematic Coordinators to search and provide additional footage for upcoming EMODnet videos and Open Conference and Jamboree (All thematic Coordinators, ongoing)

    Action 2: All SC members to continue updating the Secretariat with events where EMODnet is active in (co)organisation, presenting etc (All SC members, ongoing)

    Action 3: EMODnet Human Activities and all thematic Coordinators to continue updating the EMODnet Secretariat of thematic users e.g. industry, policy etc, to create new use cases (All thematic Coordinators, ongoing)

    Action 4: To launch a Dashboard with user-statistics and performance information on the EMODnet Central Portal (to action after repatriation) (VLIZ and EMODnet Secretariat, 30 June 2021)

    In addition, it was noted the EMODnet Secretariat have updated the use case template which will be shared with all thematic Coordinators for co-development of use cases.

    Action 5: Provide Thematic Coordinators with the updated Use Case template (EMODnet Secretariat, 31 May 2021)

    • Key updates on work plan and partnerships

    The EMODnet Secretariat presented a slide with a timeline indicating all contracts for the thematic Coordinators. At the time of the meeting, the EMODnet Geology and Chemistry Consortia were in the process of signing their contracts, expected to be completed by end of May 2021.

    JBC informed the SC that EMODnet continues to actively develop partnerships at multiple geographical levels e.g. European and global, and across sectors e.g. with the marine and maritime business community, and these partnerships would be further discussed later in the agenda.

    Action 6: Update table of EMODnet thematic contracts (EMODnet Secretariat, 31 May 2021)

    • Forward Look: EMODnet activities, events and calendar 2021

    JBC reminded the SC that the Secretariat keeps a list of events (Document 5) where the EMODnet partnership (Secretariat, thematics, Data Ingestion) is actively (co)organising, presenting or taking any other active participation. The SC-members were asked to provide information to the Secretariat, if events or other important meetings are missing in order to adapt the list in accordance. (see Action 2 above).

    Dick Schaap (DS) highlighted the upcoming EuroGOOS Conference on 3-5 May 2021. JBC confirmed the EuroGOOS Conference website and noted the EMODnet Secretariat had an active role on 3 May on a Panel ‘Expanding Europe’s Ocean Observing and Forecasting Capacity.’ The EC DG MARE would also give a presentation on Ocean Observing supporting the EU Green Deal. Other thematics noted active participation, including EMODnet Bathymetry, Physics and Data Ingestion.

    Action 7: Send an invitation to all thematic lot coordinators with registration link and meeting on EMODnet Secretariat, thematic lots, Data Ingestion, Physics to discuss input to EuroGOOS Conference (EMODnet Secretariat, 30 April 2021)

    Post-meeting note: The EMODnet Secretariat contacted all EMODnet thematic coordinators to further stimulate EMODnet’s active participation and contribution to the EuroGOOS Conference 2021.


    1. Centralization process (EMODnet Secretariat, VLIZ, with ALL thematic lots)
    • Update on Progress

    EMODnet Bathymetry, Central Portal hosting team and the Secretariat highlighted they are making very constructive progress on the centralisation of EMODnet Bathymetry, acknowledging that it is a technically challenging and complex task. The continuing centralisation of this thematic is expected to be completed by the end of summer 2021, with a seamless service throughout.

    • Implementation process and next steps (further discussion possible in PM closed session)

    JBC recalled that the centralization is an ongoing process with EMODnet Bathymetry as the first thematic portal to be integrated and  all other thematic lots following progressively with regular information sessions  between the EMODnet Central Portal team and each thematic. The EMODnet Secretariat Technical coordinator Conor Delaney (CD) mentioned that an overview of the technical aspects would be provided by VLIZ during the Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting on Tuesday 20 April 2021, afternoon session.


    10:30-12:30: Joint session with EMODnet SC, TWG and MKEG *

    *This Session was open for Members of the EMODnet Steering Committee (SC), Technical Working Group (E-TWG) and the EC Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG)


    1. Welcome and Updates (EMODnet Secretariat and DG MARE)    
    • Welcome new participants and introduction to the meeting agenda JBC initiated a tour-de-table which included introductions from all members of the European Commission Marine Knowledge Expert Group (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)

    Zoi Konstantinou (ZK), EC DG MARE, gave a short update on the EC initiative on Ocean Observation (OO). She noted the impact assessment is awaiting to enter the process of scrutiny and review which may take significant time. Preliminary results from the stakeholder consultation (which closed February 2021) were being analysed. It was noted that this would be further discussed in the SC closed afternoon session no 19 April, and also in the MKEG meeting continuation on 21 April morning.

    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.

    In an update on current status, 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 Human Activities and subsequently by Biology (in early Autumn 2021).

    Dick Schaap (DS), EMODnet Data Ingestion, Bathymetry and Chemistry, stressed that whilst the Portal websites would close after centralization, 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 and emphasised that the CP team welcomes on a continuous basis feedback on 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 will remain hosted by VLIZ servers, complying with EU standards. The new website url will be communicated publicly after a soft launch, giving time for final testing and tweaking if needed.


    1. Updates from EMODnet 7 Thematic lots and Data Ingestion (All Coordinators)

    Key updates and forward look - see EMODnet thematic and data ingestion PPTS

    Each EMODnet thematic coordinator (see direct links at 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.


    Bathymetry – Dick 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.


    Human Activities – Alessandro 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 (JBL), 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.

    Action 8: Keep EMODnet SC and MKEG updated on plans for developing an EMODnet Human Pressures Index, with an option to provide feedback (Alessandro Pittito, EMODnet Human Activities, ongoing)


    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;
    •  Contribution to EMODnet-Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS) data and data product portfolio for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), with an initial focus on the Baltic Sea;
    • Upload of datasets submitted via EMODnet Ingestion.

    External collaborations:

    Future Outlook:

    • New developments with OBIS community on a workflow to manage –omics data;
    • Development of new products to cater for various stakeholders requirements;
    • Development of procedures to allow for image linkage to data;
    • Explore implementation of ERDDAP server and expand existing web services.


    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.

    Action 9: EMODnet Chemistry to confirm the release date of their thematic promotional video (Alessandra Giorgetti, EMODnet Chemistry, 1 May 2021)


    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.


    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 EMODnet Data Ingestion portal and EMODnet Chemistry, Seabed Habitats, Biology;
    • Activity with CMEMS 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 Temp and Salinity climatology – North Adriatic, Noise monitoring sites, etc.


    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.


    Data Ingestion – 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 Copernicus CMEMS INSTAC, EuroGOOS and SeaDataNet;
    • Eurofleets project (underway data available from the cruises from the fixed instruments).

    Cross Collaboration:

    • Coupling with Crowne Estate Marine Data Exchange is under development, to share data from environmental origin;
    • SEANOE (DOI for data): >100 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.


    1. External partnerships and interactions

    KL and JBC 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


    1. Closing remarks and Any Other Business (AOB)

    JBC 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.

    12:30 Open Session Ends


    Closed Session (14:00-17:00)

    JBC opened the meeting, welcoming participants to the closed afternoon session with an agenda focussing on EMODnet centralisation, the upcoming EMODnet Open Conference and Jamboree (14-18 June 2021), and EMODnet’s diverse external partnerships, including Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS), global dialogues and collaborations e.g. with IOC-IODE, and with wider marine and maritime sectors e.g. the blue economy, in the context of the EMODnet for Business.


    1. DG MARE & CINEA recommendations and priorities on current and next phase EMODnet

    ZK thanked all thematic Coordinators for their very useful presentations which gave a good overview of all EMODnet thematic activities and progress. She noted the need to work together more between the Thematic groups was clear and this would be pursued more in the next phase of EMODnet, in the context of centralization. 

    JBC remarked that the centralisation is a good catalyzer for this cross-thematic dialogue, where the experience for each step of the process can be shared between thematic lots, to exchange best practice and trouble shoot technical challenges to find solutions. In addition, dialogue and exchange with the Regional Sea Conventions (RSCs) was also a way to guide cross-thematic interaction.


    1. Central Portal de-brief on centralisation and look forward (EMODnet Secretariat, VLIZ, All)

    CD thanked everyone for embracing the online platform JIRA both for reporting and centralisation process, remarking how useful and efficient this was to post, monitor and update the EMODnet technical developments.

    JBC recognised the work that VLIZ and the EMODnet Secretariat had done to set the JIRA up, adding that in terms of cross-thematic lot interaction, JIRA was really helpful, particularly to address problems quickly and to track actions undertaken in a transparent way.


    External partnerships and interactions (Agenda item 7, rescheduled) – see PPT Open Session slides

    This Agenda item was moved to the 19 April closed session and further presented at the 21 April MKEG closed


    • European partnerships: Copernicus Marine Service & Other

    KL presented EMODnet’s external partnerships in Europe, noting the existing collaborations with a range of marine data infrastructures, data repositories e.g. PANGAEA initiatives, projects e.g. ENVRI-FAIR, ODYSSEA, iAtlantic, Blue-Cloud and wider marine data services e.g. Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS) (see PPT slides). She reported in particular on the ongoing strengthening partnership with CMEMS, providing some examples of the diversity of collaboration at a coordination and operational level including:

    • Operational data flows (bi-directional);
    • Joint thematic workshops e.g. coastal; marine data for aquaculture (see the North Atlantic workshop report here; Mediterranean and Black Sea workshop report to come in summer 2021);
    • Joint use cases, including pro-active dialogue and follow up between EMODnet and CMEMS after joint workshops;
    • Joint portfolios for specific users e.g. for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) which is due to be finalised in June 2021 and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) which is in the early stages of development;
    • Open marine data from both EMODnet and CMEMS e.g. latest data layers being the Ocean monitoring indicators e.g. sea surface trend (SST) on the EC Communication tool European Atlas of the Seas;
    • Coordination meetings e.g. EMODnet – CMEMS – EC (see last coordination meeting minutes here) and also with related initiatives e.g. GEO Blue Planet, EU4OceanObs.

    KL noted that the Marine Data for Aquaculture workshops in October 2020 (North Atlantic) and March 2021 (Mediterranean and Black Seas) were an important collaboration between EMODnet, CMEMS, the European Aquaculture and Technology Platform (EATiP) and the European Commission (DG MARE and DG DEFIS). Such workshops are an important opportunity to jointly communicate about the EMODnet and CMEMS offers of open source marine data and data products to wider stakeholders, in this case the Aquaculture sector. The EMODnet Secretariat are in dialogue with CMEMS to follow up with some meeting participants to develop joint use cases with aquaculture representatives and intermediate service providers such as DELTARES, that build upon and further innovate EMODnet and CMEMS data and data products to tailor these for more specific applications e.g. aquaculture farm operators. She noted that such companies could also be potential Associated Partners.

    She also explained that when the EMODnet Central Portal website would repatriate in late Spring/summer 2021, new text will be added on the partnership between EMODnet and CMEMS, to further strengthen communication of this to wider stakeholders.

    Finally, she noted that the EMODnet Secretariat and CMEMS had held a joint meeting with the GEO Blue Planet EU office, and the project EU4OceanObs and these initiatives served a good framework for EMODnet and CMEMS to collectively communicate the value of open source marine data and data products through use cases and societal benefit areas to a wider global audience, including to the wider GEOSS community, and to G7.


    EMODnet-CMEMS data products

    • ZK then led a discussion about EMODnet and CMEMS data products. She noted that in the lead up to the Steering Committee there had been a discussion on this topic with the EMODnet Secretariat and some EMODnet thematic Coordinators e.g. Physics who work the closest with CMEMS. This resulted from a request by CMEMS to remove some CMEMS products from the EMODnet thematic portals, to reduce duplication. She explained the key discussion points going forward were on how to optimise complementarity between EMODnet and CMEMS. This would entail assessing how the community handle products coming from CMEMS and EMODnet, and how we can handle cases where products are jointly produced, or where there are difficulties to identify a single ownership. She emphasised that the EC confirms these services are working well together and that further discussions between the EC DG’s and implementers will inform how to streamline the complementary service offers of EMODnet and CMEMS with appropriate acknowledgement of products and matching communication towards users and stakeholders. A discussion followed with key points raised including:
    • Credits should be clear to the user in metadata and visibly, using relevant logos or visual identities, together with a contact person for addressing any questions.
    • There are many examples where CMEMS uses in situ data in models and vice versa, EMODnet uses satellite-derived data from CMEMS and also from wider providers, when required. This would need discussion on a case by case basis e.g. a SMOS derived salinity data product, as needed. For this the EC DG MARE would follow up with the EMODnet Secretariat and relevant thematic Coordinators to create a list;
    • It was recognised that EMODnet has been working with satellite-derived data for some data products for some time and has built up expertise e.g. in EMODnet Bathymetry;
    • These new guidelines would come into force for new products, they would not be applied in a retrospective way;
    • EMODnet could remove CMEMS data products from EMODnet thematic services – where possible and where this does not mean reduction in overall service to users – and instead add a re-direction to CMEMS;
    • EMODnet should use where possible CMEMS-derived satellite data/data products when developing new data products, unless there is a valid reason e.g. resolution, coverage that precludes this when another Earth Observation (satellite-derived) data provider may be used as a second choice;
    • It would be important to communicate the significant work, process and quality of EMODnet delayed mode integrated, standardized and harmonized datasets in comparison with CMEMS that works more with operational data which include automated Quality Control checks and near real-time data transmission, for use in Ocean models. CMEMS has three levels of products for observation which, in addition to near real-time (NRT) data include short time critical (STC) products and non-time critical (NTC) products ;
    • Clear guidelines would be very useful going forward regarding joint activities e.g. the joint portfolio on data and data products for MSFD and MSPD.

    The next coordination meeting with CMEMS would be in September 2021 (date to be confirmed)

    Action 10: EMODnet Secretariat and EMODnet thematic lots to discuss with EC, DG MARE and provide a list of data and data products and who contributes, specifically Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS), further guidelines to the SC and a document outlining the main concerns (EMODnet thematic Coordinators, 30 June 2021)


    1. EMODnet Open Conference and Jamboree: EMODnet SC role & partner meetings (EMODnet Secretariat and All)

    KL presented the latest status and key facts of the EMODnet Open Conference (Document 10)

    • The event will be fully online, with a fully virtual audience;
    • Community posters had been solicited in an open call, with 64 Posters submitted at the time of the meeting;
    • The role of Master of Ceremonies (MoC) will be taken on by Paul Rose, National Geographic Pristine Seas expedition leader, Explorer, Broadcaster, Science support authority;
    • A draft Programme and further information on pre-registration is available on the EMODnet Central Portal website here;
    • The EMODnet thematic Coordinators would have a 5 minute presentation on Day 1, to showcase highlights from their thematic, followed by a live dialogue with thematic Coordinators / experts (maximum 2 / thematic) moderated by Paul Rose (MoC);
    • EMODnet thematic coordinators together with other representatives of the wider partnership, EMODnet Associated Partners and wider collaborators, data providers and users were all contributing to the very diverse Programme with more than 70 speakers and panelists across the 3 days of the Programme;
    • Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS) had confirmed they could give a keynote presentation during the EMODnet Open Conference together with representatives of CMEMS in situ Thematic Assembly Centre (INSTAC) joining a Data Partnerships Panel, and CMEMS/MOi joining the Closing Panel. DG DEFIS would join a Panel in the Opening session;
    • The EMODnet SC and wider partnership were encouraged to promote the event widely to their networks and to take an active role as breakout facilitators and rapporteurs for the three topics EMODnet for the EU Green Deal; EMODnet for Global and EMODnet for the Digital era;
    • EMODnet Jamboree: This would be for EMODnet partners. A survey had been sent to thematic coordinators to gather requirements for the thematic (and cross-thematic) meetings and a schedule was being prepared;
    • The Jamboree also offered an opportunity to hold cross-thematic discussions on key topics including Ocean Best Practices, Citizen Science, EMODnet centralization etc. No decision had been made on these and feedback was welcomed from the SC. These topics could involve EMODnet Associated Partners and invited experts, where relevant.
    • Whilst the majority of the Programme was now fixed, the EMODnet SC were encouraged to provide rapid feedback to the EMODnet Secretariat if there were additional speakers they could recommend.

    Q&A: EMODnet thematic Coordinators asked about the content and the format of the thematic presentations. It was confirmed that the content would include highlights of key outputs of the EMODnet thematic (including recent updates) and a future outlook. The presentations would be pre-recorded and the EMODnet Secretariat would follow up technical guidelines in the coming weeks (see Action 11);

    AG noted for EMODnet Chemistry it would be good to have time on the Conference Programme to present the joint EMODnet-CMEMS portfolio for MSFD. The EMODnet Secretariat noted this could be presented in the EMODnet-CMEMS dialogue that would take place on 15 June AM during the EMODnet partnerships session. More details would follow to EMODnet Chemistry and Physics Coordinators who would take part in that dialogue;

    It was noted that some EMODnet thematics had already planned their thematic meetings for Thursday 17 June so this day was best kept exclusively for thematic meetings;

    There was interest for Ocean Best Practices and potentially Citizen Science, but it was considered too early to have a fully cross-thematic discussion on centralization.

    Action 11: EMODnet Secretariat will follow up with practical guidelines for the thematic presentations at the EMODnet Open Conference and Jamboree (14-16 June 2021) (EMODnet Secretariat, 17 May 2021)

    Action 12: EMODnet thematic Coordinators were requested to complete the survey on the Conference breakout session and Jamboree requirements by 23 April 2021 (EMODnet thematic Coordinators, 23 April 2021)


    1. Updates on European Ocean Observing: EC Consultation and Ocean Observing event update (DG MARE, EMODnet Secretariat)

    ZK gave some more information on the EC Ocean Observation initiative noting that from preliminary results of the stakeholder consultation (closed February 2021), most stakeholders from the wider community e.g. industry were in support of having a stronger coordination of national Ocean observation efforts, with a lot of momentum both internally and externally. An impact assessment had been developed and is  currently in line to undergo political scrutiny.

    The EMODnet Secretariat confirmed that EMODnet had submitted responses to the EC Ocean Observation Consultations in November 2020 and February 2021 and had undertaken a series of activities to align Ocean observation efforts with EMODnet, including participation in EOOS Steering Group and Operations Committee meetings, and planning the EC Ocean Observation event, in collaboration with DG MARE and the European Marine Board (EMB) (see Document 6).

    EC Ocean Observation event, 18 June PM

    An EC Ocean Observation event will be held during the week of the EMODnet Jamboree on Friday 18 June PM, in the context of the EC Ocean Observing initiative and a recent EC study on Marine Technology. The event will be co-organised by the EC DG MARE, EMODnet Secretariat and the wider community. It would include 2 key session topics, namely: marine technology (the EU pathway to market), and methodologies like the EMODnet Sea-basin checkpoints, Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs) for modelling risk analysis, and other methods).

    ZK noted in addition for the EC Ocean Observation event:

    • It was important to bring in the private sector (marine technology and wider industry) to connect between the user community and Ocean Observing community;
    • The event would be co-organised by EC DG MARE, the EMODnet Secretariat and potentially other key networks e.g. CMEMS and EuroGOOS;
    • It would be a very inclusive meeting, but with a limited capacity to keep discussions to a manageable number and with a separate, but linked, registration;

    The EMODnet Secretariat, with EMB, had conducted a mapping of stakeholders was being carried out and that all EMODnet thematic coordinators, Data Ingestion Coordinators, Sea-basin checkpoint coordinators and Associated Partners would be invited. In the coming weeks a save-the-date and invitations would be issued, as targeted promotion to key experts.


    1. EMODnet for Business: Update on targeted activities in 2021 (WOC dialogue, Open Conference industry inputs) & EMODnet Associated Partnership Scheme e.g. updated Terms of Reference (ToR) (EMODnet Secretariat, DG MARE)

    KL invited the EMODnet SC to review Document 7 (EMODnet for Business Strategy) and gave a short overview of the key activities to come in 2021 including a 2021 EMODnet Targeted Assessment with a focus on receiving feedback on EMODnet data, data products and services from the Blue Economy and private sector, in conjunction with a wider and fully open online survey for all stakeholders. 

    She also updated the EMODnet SC on the EMODnet Associated Partnership Scheme Terms of Reference (ToR) inviting the SC to approve the new version (Document 11), which had been updated in early 2021 following a discussion with the EMODnet SC about having more inclusive criteria to promote a wider sectoral representation in the AP Scheme. The Terms of Reference highlight more explicitly the wide diversity of win-win opportunities for collaboration, and that all APs should explicitly demonstrate both motivation and continued follow-up in terms of developing a stronger partnership with EMODnet e.g. as a data provider, user etc. Further follow up with Associated Partners was planned in the lead up to the EMODnet Conference.

    Decision: The EMODnet Associated Partnership Scheme Terms of Reference (ToR) v. April 2021 was approved.

    She noted in addition to engaging marine and maritime business in the EMODnet Conference, EMODnet were also organising a stakeholder workshop at European Maritime Day 2021, on 20 May PM on Ocean Observation and Marine Data for the Blue Economy. Over 160 people had registered at the time of the meeting (over 300 at the time of the meeting minutes writing) and this would be an important opportunity to increase EMODnet visibility to the business and Blue Economy sectors.

    KL also noted that dialogue was in progress with the World Ocean Council (WOC) who were members of EC MKEG and who had expressed interest for a more formal and structured partnership with EMODnet e.g. through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

    Q&A: EMODnet thematic Coordinators saw the value in a structured agreement with WOC. This would be taken forward by the EMODnet Secretariat

    It was noted by EMODnet Data Ingestion that the project SIMORC  was also an initiative with tangible dialogue with the Blue Economy including data sharing by companies such as TOTAL.


    EMODnet for Global – see PPT EMODnet Open Session (and Document 10)

    The EMODnet Secretariat presented slides highlighting EMODnet’s expanding partnerships at Global level, including :

    • EMOD-PACE : The EMODnet PArtnership for China and Europe project  – see separate PPT (and Document 9)  2021_04_19_emodpace_updates_for_mkeg_at_emodnet_sc_v3.pdf
    • IOC-IODE where EMODnet Secretariat and thematic lots have contributed to the IOC Ocean InfoHub Project, ODIS (where EMODnet thematic nodes and EMODnet Central Portal are already registered), and as a contributor to the Intersessional Working Group Strategy on Ocean Data and Information Stewardship for the UN Decade (IWG-SODIS). It was noted that EMODnet Secretariat and thematic representatives would also be joining IODE meetings happening in parallel to the EMODnet meeting week 19-23 April 2021;
    • UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, where EMODnet was recognized as a key contributor and is considered as a cross cutting service for accessing data key to UN Ocean Decade, building on regional workshops in 2020 and with EMODnet contributing to various UN Ocean Decade Actions e.g. Coast Predict, Ocean Best Practices, DITTO (Digital Twins). Collaboration with Chinese counterpart organisations e.g. NMDIS was seen as very valuable to strengthen the global connectivity;
    • GEOSS and GEO Blue Planet: EMODnet Secretariat had participated in a meeting with GEOSS, GEO Blue Planet, CMEMS and EC DG MARE and DG RTD in December 2020 on strengthening the collaboration. This would build on existing collaborations including of EMODnet Chemistry with the GEO Blue Planet WG on marine debris and litter, which had produced a white paper co-authored by EMODnet Chemistry and the EMODnet Secretariat.


    1. Next Steering Committee Meeting: format, date and location (Secretariat & All)

    The next SC would be in early September 2021, potentially 7-9 September. The format (virtual or physical) would be decided in summer 2021. A poll for the dates will be circulated together with minutes.


    1. Summary of actions and wrap up (EMODnet Secretariat, DG MARE)

    The EMODnet Secretariat thanked all the EMODnet SC for their time, noting that the meeting had been very productive and that short-term actions e.g. on the EMODnet Open Conference and Jamboree would be important for all to follow up on as soon as possible.

    Meeting minutes will be circulated to the EMODnet SC for review, then posted on the EC Maritime Forum.

    It was noted that if EMODnet SC or TWG had specific questions or follow up for the EC MKEG they could contact the EMODnet Secretariat who would be joining the MKEG meeting, with EC DG MARE.


    Any other business (AOB) – none.




    Annex I: List of Participants

    EMODnet affiliation e.g. thematic lot / Other




    Thierry Schmitt



    Dick Schaap



    Henry Vallius


    Bjarni Pjetursson


    Seabed Habitats

    Mickäel Vasquez


    Eleonora Manca



    Alessandra Giorgetti



    Joana Beja



    Bart vanhoorne



    Antonio Novellino


    Patrick Gorringe


    Human Activities

    Alessandro Pititto


    Luigi Falco


    Data Ingestion

    Dick Schaap


    Central Portal

    Joana Beja


    Frederic Leclercq


    Bart Vanhoorne


    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

    Xiaoyu Fang

    EMODnet Secretariat


    Iain Shepherd

    DG MARE A1

    Zoi Konstantinou

    DG MARE A1


    Juan Carlos Fernández Gomez


    Lucie Pautet



    Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG) members (participating only from 10:30)

    MKEG Members

    Quillon Harpham

    HR Wallingford, UK

    David Darbinyan

    The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)

    Gus Jeans

    Oceanalysis Ltd

    Jorge Blanco


    Toste Tanhua

    GEOMAR Helmholtz centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany

    Nicolaus Ernst Erhard Manuel

    Cefas, UK

    Liliana Rusu

    "Dunarea de Jos" University of Galati

    Katarzyna Chojnacka

    Wroclaw university of Science and Technology

    Gerben J De Boer

    Van Oord

    Fiona Buckley

    Engie lab LABORELEC

    Ana Martos Barba

    Iberdrola Engineering and Construction

    Paris Sansoglu

    European Dredging Association


    Annex II: List of Actions from 13th EMODnet SC


    What (short description)

    By when (deadline)

    By who?



    Provide feedback, including speaker suggestions to the EMODnet Secretariat on the Open Conference and Jamboree.

    23 November 2020, then ongoing

    EMODnet Steering Committee



    Search and provide additional footage for upcoming EMODnet videos e.g. EMODnet for Marine Spatial Planning and Business


    30 November, 2020, then ongoing

    EMODnet thematic Coordinators



    Send additional events involving EMODnet thematic actors to the Secretariat.



    EMODnet Steering Committee



    Provide updated Programme of the EMODnet Open Conference to CMEMS and DG DEFIS to secure presentations and share input.

    15 December, 2020

    EMODnet Secretariat



    Organize a meeting with EMODnet HA to go through the list of industry users to create new use cases potentially for the open conference.


    15 December 2020

    EMODnet Secretariat

    Dialogue ongoing


    Share the final and approved Online Survey and Targeted Assessment reports with MKEG.

    31 January 2021

    EMODnet Secretariat

    Summary PPT from 13th SC (Agenda Item 10) available on the EC Maritime Forum


    Make available high-level overview of the Thematic portal infrastructures to CINEA, DG MARE and Secretariat.

    31 January 2021


    On the EC Maritime Forum


    Launch Dashboard on the Central Portal.

    31 January 2021


    To be implemented after Central Portal repatriation