JPI Oceans pilot actions get off the ground | JPI OCEANS

JPI Oceans pilot actions get off the ground

2013.08.07

JPI Oceans pilot actions get off the ground

The early summer months have been a busy period in JPI Oceans with the pilot actions on deep-sea mining and micro-plastics taking important steps towards their implementation.

Two international workshops between scientific experts and representatives from national ministries and funding agencies were held in Berlin in mid-July to kick-off the actions.

Following a proposal from Germany to launch a pilot action investigating the ecological aspects of micro-plastics in the marine environment, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) invited interested members of the JPI Oceans Management Board (MB) to participate in a workshop in Berlin on 15 July. MB members were also encouraged to nominate (scientific) experts to participate in this workshop in which 28 individuals from 11 European countries took part. The aim of the workshop was to start discussions on the exact scope and concrete objectives of the pilot action as well as to determine how the action can be implemented in the JPI Oceans framework.

During the workshop it was agreed that a group of authors under the lead of Heather Leslie (VU Amsterdam) would draft an action proposal focusing on (1) standardisation of research methodologies for micro-plastics, (2) monitoring needs and (3) transfer of micro-plastics into the food chain and their effects. The group has until 30 September to deliver such a proposal, which will subsequently be discussed during a meeting of the national funding bodies in October, in order to examine how the proposal can be translated into a concrete JPI Oceans action.

Ecological aspects of deep sea mining

In similar fashion, the BMBF invited to a second workshop on 16 July in order to further develop the second pilot action proposed by Germany – “EcoMining” – which seeks to investigate the long-term ecological impacts of deep-sea mining. In a positive and constructive meeting, 25 participants from 9 countries underlined the importance and expressed their desire to cooperate together in this emerging topic area.

Following an offer from the German side to provide ship-time on RV Sonne of up to 90 days in the first quarter of 2015, a group of experts around Pedro Martínez (German Centre for Marine Biodiversity Research / Senckenberg institute) will draft a research proposal by 30 September for such an expedition. Envisaged is a three-legged cruise to visit the DISCOL area off the coast of Peru where a sea-floor disturbance experiment was carried out in the 1980s as well as to conduct research in the various claims of European countries in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone in the Pacific Ocean. National funding bodies plan to meet in October to discuss the modalities of implementing the proposal.

JPI Oceans Pilot actions

Pilot Actions have been launched in JPI Oceans to test out new modes of cooperation and to demonstrate the added-value of the initiative. They are actions that can provide a quick start even in the absence of a fully developed Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, which will not be ready before 2014. Pilot actions are carried out, like all JPI Oceans’ actions, under the principle of “variable geometry” meaning that only those countries interested in the action will participate.

Apart from the two aforementioned, a third pilot action proposed by The Netherlands has been launched by the Management Board at its 4th meeting in Dublin in February 2013. This action aims to develop integrated monitoring programmes for requirements under the Common Fisheries Policy and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. The plan is to jointly collect this data among member countries, for instance in the context of fish stock assessments. A workshop similar to the ones held in Berlin will scheduled to take place in September.

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