Sharing data to achieve sustainable global marine management

May 09, 2014
Sharing data to achieve sustainable global marine management

A healthy sustainable marine environment is crucial to the smooth functioning of the EU economy. Fishing and offshore oil and gas fields for example employ thousands and bring in billions of euro a year, while most raw materials and consumer goods are imported and exported by sea. In fact, the EU has the world's largest merchant fleet; 90 % of foreign trade and 40 % of internal trade is seaborne. Coastal areas are also vital for tourism.

The sustainable management of this marine environment is therefore a critical economic as well as environmental issue, and to be truly effective, international cooperation is required. For this reason, the EU-funded IMARINE project, which was completed in April 2014, has developed data infrastructure specifically designed to encourage cross-border and cross-sectoral collaboration in this field.

Specialists from 17 countries gathered in Rome in March 2014 to mark the imminent completion of the project, and to examine new funding opportunities under the EU's Horizon 2020 programme. Addressing global societal challenges is one of the three pillars of Horizon 2020, which is something that IMARINE has successfully addressed.

The IMARINE infrastructure works by providing an open access platform to relevant marine information and resources. This can be accessed quickly and effectively by numerous marine stakeholders such scientists, the fishing industry and environmental groups. Indeed, a key challenge that emerged from early IMARINE workshops was the need for greater global efforts - especially in fishing - to share information at the international level. Seamless access to data should lead to quicker, more informed decision making.

By interconnecting all these concerned sectors, the ultimate goal of IMARINE is to encourage what is known as an ecosystem approach to the . This approach aims to ensure that, despite variability, uncertainty and likely natural changes within the ecosystem, the capacity to produce food, revenue and employment is maintained for the benefit of both present and future generations. This will only be achieved through global collaboration among different parties, and the IMARINE data infrastructure is designed to facilitate this.

The IMARINE Board - made up of policy makers, industry experts and scientists - has also contributed to the promotion of an ecosystem approach through sharing examples of best practice, helping to define global standards and offering advice on sustainable policies. Board Members have also been instrumental in establishing several new collaborations, by building on the possibilities presented by IMARINE's operational data infrastructure.

The gateway is a key feature of this infrastructure. This provides users with online access to a number of Virtual Research Environments, which bring together experts, multidisciplinary data sources and analysis on a particular issue. Within these research environments, users can find everything they need to complete a particular task.

IMARINE promises to have a lasting impact on the way we address sustainable marine management in the future. This will have direct and indirect benefits on the future of our planet, from climate change mitigation and marine biodiversity loss to disaster risk reduction.

Explore further: New approach to managing marine ecosystems

More information:

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New approach to managing marine ecosystems

Apr 28, 2014

Ways to manage natural resources have been under development for decades, driven by an increasing need to understand the effect of man-made impacts on ecosystems. Often, it has been assumed that management could be based ...

Researchers create first regional Ocean Health Index

Apr 03, 2014

With one of the world's longest coastlines, spanning 17 states, and very high marine and coastal biodiversity, Brazil owes much of its prosperity to the ocean. For that reason, Brazil was the site of the ...

Recommended for you

Ditching coal a massive step to climate goal: experts

1 hour ago

Phasing out coal as an electricity source by 2050 would bring the world 0.5 degrees Celsius closer to the UN's targeted cap for climate warming, an analysis said on the eve of Tuesday's UN climate summit.

Monitoring heavy metals using mussels

4 hours ago

A research team in Malaysia has concluded that caged mussels are useful for monitoring heavy metal contamination in coastal waters in the Strait of Johore. Initial results indicate more pollution in the eastern ...

Climate change report identifies 'the most vulnerable'

5 hours ago

Extreme weather events leave populations with not enough food both in the short- and the long-term. A new report by the Environmental Change Institute (ECI) at the School of Geography and the Environment ...

Obama readies climate change push at UN summit

8 hours ago

President Barack Obama will seek to galvanize international support in the fight against climate change on Tuesday when he addresses the United Nations, with time running out on his hopes of leaving a lasting ...

User comments : 0