Maritime Forum

Maritime Forum Themes


European marine ecosystems and what we don't know about them: The role of research towards the 2012 targets and beyond

Event date:
15/03/2010 - 12:00 to 14:00
Table of Contents

    Dear Participant,

     On behalf of IFM-GEOMAR (Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences), IFREMER (Institut français de recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer) and NOCS (National Oceanography Centre, Southampton), we would like to thank you for your contribution to the lunch-time scientific briefing on "European marine ecosystems and what we don't know about them: The role of research towards the '2012 targets' and beyond". 

    The presentations by the scientists and from Claude Roaum, Head of Unit for Marine Environment at DG Environment, clearly argued that a major contribution from marine sciences is required to deliver the necessary knowledge-base to implement European marine environmental policy and to achieve a "good environmental status" of our seas by 2020. 

    In the first scientific presentation, Prof. Wolf-Christian Dullo (IFM-GEOMAR) argued that Europe has a huge marine natural heritage constituted by what is the largest barrier reef on the planet in the North Sea. This is an area we know very little about, in spite of the fact that its potential in terms of ecosystems services may be enormous.

    Dr. Jacques Populus (IFREMER) presented the issue of seabed cover maps, which are essential for applications such as informing marine spatial planning and designating marine protected areas. Even though the EU has made important efforts in this area through research funding and legislative frameworks, he argued their remains a need to encourage Member States to collate and process existing data throughout Europe.

    Finally, Dr. David Billet (NOCs) emphasized a number of pressing research needs, which are necessary for marine protection legislation and to understand the impact of human activities (i.e science, cables, oil and gas, bottom trawling) on marine biodiversity. These include topics such as: habitat classification, ecosystem function and structure, MPA design, molecular biology, climate change, ecosystem services and Earth System feedbacks.

    For her part, Corinne Lepage MEP (Vice-President of the Environment Committee and Chair of the Intergroup on Oceans and Coastal Zones) emphasized that the Intergroup is committed to bridging the gap between scientists and EU decision-makers. According to Lepage this was particularly important in the priority area of the Intergroup, which are: sea and climate change, waste and pollution issues, maritime security as well as employment. Lepage emphasized the employment potential of the marine and maritime sectors as a particular concern for the Intergroup. 

    Please find attached the presentations that were made during this scientific briefing and do not hesitate to contact us for any additional information.

     Best Regards,

     Florence Coroner and Stefan Fritz 

    Florence Coroner


    Brussels representative

    8, avenue des arts

    B-1210 Brussels



    Jan-Stefan Fritz, PhD


    Brussels representative

    Boulevard St. Michel 80

    B-1040 Bruxelles