The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products has published its monthly highlights.
Overexploited stocks decreased from 70% to 40% over the past ten years, according to a new report from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF).

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The Commission Decision on good environmental status of marine waters, adopted on 17 May 2017, contains a number of criteria and methodological standards for determining good environmental status, in relation to the 11 descriptors of good environmental status laid down in Annex I of the Marine Directive.
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Travel between 26 - 27 June 2017 to learn more about the many uses of Copernicus data and information. The session will provide the opportunity for hands on demonstrations and basic training as well as networking and information sharing regarding:

  • Copernicus for GI professionals
  • Copernicus Land Monitoring Service
  • Copernicus for Entrepreneurs and Developers
  • Copernicus for Public Users
  • Copernicus for Renewable Energy
  • Copernicus Emergency Management Service
  • Copernicus for Coastal Zone Management

The event is meant for national and regional authorities, industry and institutions. They will be provided with concrete use cases of Copernicus and also with opportunities to discover, exchange and to learn from experiences.

A networking event will be organised on the first evening of the Copernicus Training and Information Session.

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St. Julian's, Malta

Register now for the 2-day conference in St. Julian's, Malta to discuss MSP and Land-Sea Interactions. The conference will feature both experts and practitioners sharing their experience of addressing LSI in the framework of MSP. The audience will be invited to actively participate in the discussion.

Read more about the conference here and register here


If you are involved in marine protected areas in your professional life, do you see them as positive in providing benefits or negative in limiting what you can do? Do they support or restrict your business or other activities in the marine environment, and how do they contribute to the ‘blue economy’? Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) wants to understand your views.

Go to survey

How do marine protect areas affect you - benefit or challenge?
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are recognised as a key tool for marine conservation and already cover significant parts of some sea basins around Europe. In parallel, the ‘blue economy’ – industries based upon the ocean and its products - and demand for marine space across Europe is growing. The ‘blue economy’ is expected to play a significant role within the central EU policy of promoting jobs and growth.
A commonly held concern about MPAs is that they may constrain economic activity, adding costs to businesses and restricting opportunities for growth and jobs, even for those industries that are expected to benefit from improved marine biodiversity and environmental conditions more generally. This is important as interactions with MPAs will increase as the marine area under MPA designation expands and the blue economy continues to grow.
To ensure that the planning and management of MPAs can be taken forward to maximise benefits – for the marine environment, to the blue economy and society more generally - the linkages between maritime sectors and the potential benefits of MPAs need to be better understood. There is a need to integrate these linkages into decisions surrounding the management of MPAs.

Plymouth Marine Laboratory is carrying out a survey to find out how MPAs and other spatial protection measures provide benefits to the blue economy. They want to examine what these economic benefits are and how they are gained. The university is also interested in the role of MPA governance in conflict management, the creation of win-win situations between multiple users and the sustainable use of MPAs. Whether you are an MPA manager or work in ‘blue economy’ sectors, they would like to hear your opinions. No matter which part of the ‘blue economy’ you are involved in (fisheries, aquaculture, tourism and recreation, energy, shipping transport, seaports and marinas, blue biotechnology, seabed aggregates and other mining, dredging and offshore construction) they would like to know what you think of MPAs and their economic impact. You can access the survey directly at and it will take no more than 15 minutes to complete.

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about this survey and its outcomes, please contact Dr Caroline Hattam ( or Dr Stefanie Broszeit ( The survey is part of research being conducted by ICF, PML and IEEP under contract to the European Commission.

Go to survey



The course provides examples and case studies that will inspire leadership at all levels, thereby increasing awareness of and stimulating creative solutions to marine litter problems. Moreover, this course will benefit policymakers, practitioners, and managers who wish to connect with other professionals in order to enhance their knowledge of marine litter issues.

The MOOC is available in two tracks: a leadership track and an expert track. It will start in May 2017 with the Leadership track taking place over a course of 2 weeks. Those students who wish to remain in the course will continue to the Expert track, which will be completed in July 2017 (total of 8 weeks).

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EMODnet has recently led the production of a ‘good practice guide’ to promote the sharing and re-use of marine data by business. This guide has been produced in the context of the H2020 COLUMBUS project, with partners  EuroGOOS, Marine South East, PLOCAN (EMODnet Associated Partner) and  SmartBay Ireland. The good practice guide examines the common challenges faced by coastal and ocean observatories and public data-sharing initiatives, in terms of fostering better engagement with the private sector with the goal of improving the re-use of open marine data and information for economic development and innovation. Recommendations are proposed that could support those initiatives aiming to deliver growth in the blue economy. These will be further elaborated in a joint EMODnet - COLUMBUS workshop at European Maritime Day.

Download the report here

More information about the workshop


The cooperation project between Bulgaria and Romania MARSPLAN has published its first newsletter. The project conference will take place on 3 and 4 May in Bucharest, Romania. Read more about the Black Sea project here. Read the newsletter here.


Berlin, Germany

The 8th Annual Forum of the EUSBSR will be hosted by the Federal Foreign Office together with the CPMR - Baltic Sea Commission and in close cooperation with the European Commission on 13 - 14 June 2017 in Berlin. About 800 participants from governments, international organisations, NGOs, universities, local and regional administrations and business will discuss a broad range of issues relevant for the Baltic Sea Region.

The theme of the 8th Annual Forum is connectivity. This motto highlights the necessity to intensify contacts throughout the Baltic Sea Region including its neighboring regions and to develop a better awareness of each other’s perspectives. Cooperation in form of mutually beneficial projects may have beneficial spill-over effects and contribute to confidence-building in politically difficult times. Furthermore, connectivity relates to efficient and comprehensive collaboration among all levels of government. Be it in communication, cultural exchange, energy, research activities or transport - connectivity is crucial for modern, network based and outward looking business. 

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The MSP Data Study, undertaken on behalf of DG MARE between February and December 2016, presents an overview of what data and knowledge are needed by Member States for MSP decision making, taking into account different scales and different points in the MSP cycle. It examines current and future MSP data and knowledge issues from various perspectives (i.e. from Member States, Sea Basin(s) as well as projects and other relevant initiatives) in order to identify:

  • What data is available for MSP purposes and what data is actually used for MSP;
  • Commonalities in MSP projects and Member State experiences; -
  • The potential for EMODnet sea basin portals to help coordination of MSP at a regional level and options for realising marine spatial data infrastructures to implement MSP;
  • Potential revisions to be made concerning INSPIRE specifications for MSP purposes.

The study finds that across all European Sea Basins, countries are encountering similar issues with respect to MSP data needs. Differences are found in the scope of activities and sea uses between Member States and Sea Basins and the type of planning that is being carried out. Common data gaps include socio-economic data for different uses and socio-cultural information. By and large, data and information gaps are not so much about what data is missing but more about how to aggregate and interpret data in order to acquire the information needed by a planner. Challenges for Member States lie in developing second generation plans which require more analytical information and strategic evidence. Underlying this is the need for spatial evaluation tools for assessment, impact and conflict analysis purposes. Transnational MSP data needs are different to national MSP data needs. While the scope and level of detail of data needed is typically much simpler, ensuring its coherence and harmonisation across boundaries remains a challenge. Pan-European initiatives, such as the EMODnet data portals and Sea Basin Checkpoints have the potential to support transboundary MSP data exchange needs by providing access to a range of harmonised data sets across European Sea Basins and testing the availability and adequacy of existing data sets to meet commercial and policy challenges

Read the full study here


The project SIMCelt: Maritime Spatial Planning: transboundary cooperation in the Celtic Seas is organising its closing conference on the 28th and 29th of November. The results of the project will be shared and key issues in transbounday working on the MSP Directive will be addressed. The conference will feature insights on data management, stakeholder engagement, cross-border working, ecosystems approach, cumulative impacts, evaluation and much more.

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EU Maritime Ministers will sign a Declaration on Blue Growth, reaffirming their political commitment to further grow EU's sustainable blue economy. The Declaration will be adopted at the Informal Ministerial Conference on Blue growth, Ocean Governance in the EU and the Mediterranean, Innovation and Nautical Tourism, co-chaired by Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella today in Malta. It will give an additional boost to the sustainable development of key sectors including tourism, aquaculture, ocean energy and biotechnology. Blue growth has the potential to become a real European success story contributing more than €500 billion a year to EU's economy and representing 5.4 million jobs. The Informal Ministerial Conference will also discuss the Commission's recently launched Western Mediterranean Blue Growth Initiative and comes one month after the successful MEDFISH4EVER declaration. The sustainable development of the Blue Economy will also be a major theme at the Our Ocean conference on 5-6 October 2017, co-hosted by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Vella. The Commissioner's opening speech at the Informal Ministerial Conference on Blue Growth is available here.

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