CoCoNET Press Release 5

July, 2012

"Habitats Are More Important than the Species"

The first joint meeting for CoCoNet Pilot Projects was held in Istanbul, 16-17 July 2012.

The details of the PPs (Pilot Projects) in the Mediterranean and Black Seas were discussed with the partners of the PPs as well as WP leaders.


The first pilot project meeting of CoCoNET Project was held in Istanbul on the 16th and 17th of July at the University of Istanbul.

The first day started with the work package leaders presentations on CoCoNET. On the second day of the meeting the discussion meetings took place. There were 3 working groups, one for the Black Sea Pilot Project, another for the Adriatic Sea Pilot Project, and the other for the deep water.

On the first day, Simonetta Fraschetti made a presentation "Pattern of distribution of species and habitats in the pilot area: known and unknown" and Antoni Garia-Rubies's presentation was about "Threats and potential environmental changes in Pilot Areas.

One of the most important roles of the CoCoNET project is the offshore wind farm (OWF). Accordingly, OWF was another important issue at this meeting. The work package leader Takvor Tsoukissian mentioned in his presentation that in one year time, they will be able to speak more specifically about the site selection. He also explained the criteria for site selection, such as wind speed statistics, local wave climate, bathymetry, distance from shore and infrastructure on land, bottom morphology and sediments, assessment of physical constraints and infrastructures, marine and aerial traffic, marine use considerations and environmental impact of construction and relevant operations

The leader of Work Package 9 (Data Management and Synthesis), Frederica Foglini, had focused on the geomorphology of the south Adriatic Sea. On the other hand Marco Taviani had made a presentation on the deep sea ecosystem in the South Adriatic Sea and also coast to coast transport pathways in the Southern Adriatic Sea from drifter data.

Black Sea and Adriatic Sea Pilot Projects are among the main purpose of CoCoNET.

Mediterranean Sea Pilot Project and Black Sea Pilot Project will run in parallel and will be integrated with each other with the aim to prioritize several sites to assess whether abiotic and biotic factors, their relationships, and ongoing natural and human driven processes justify their inclusion in anecological network of MPAs, also analysing their potential interconnectivity.

The coordinator of the CoCoNET project Dr. Ferdinando Boero specified that this project will ensure a network between the Mediterranean countries. Dr. Boero underlies the importance of the awareness.

"Until now the protection is targeted to the Marine Protected Areas and outside there is nothing. We end up protecting very small portion of the seas and we leave the rest to over- exploitation. The network concept means to extend at least some principles of the MPAs to the whole sea. We need to increase the awareness of protecting the environment as a value and as a wise thing to do"

According to Dr. Boero, the main target of the protection should not be the species but the habitat. He quoted, "The species cannot live without its habitats. So if we protect the habitat we protect also the species. Another important result of this is the shift from the species to the habitat perception. Habitats are more important than the species."

To create MPA's in the Black Sea is one of the other important missions of CoCoNET . During his speech Dr. Boero mentioned on this issue as well.

" The first thing we should do is to specify the appropriate fields in order to create MPA's and push the governments to take action. The laws have to be implemented by politicians. The scientist can give advice and see if the advice is heard by the politicians. In the Mediterranean the MPA's have been built individually without taking consideration of the concept of networks. Now we are trying to build the network on a series of MPA's that have been implemented without thinking about a network. We have to do it a posteriori."


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