COCONET PRESS RELEASE
The CoCoNET Project (Coast to Coast NETworks of Marine Protected Areas Coupled with Sea-ased Wind Energy Potential) which aims to increase the number of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in the Mediterranean and Black Sea and to display the potential of the off-shore wind farm in these seas started with the kick-off meeting in Rome on 27-28 February 2012.
A four-year-project CoCoNET is the second biggest marine research project of EU under the 7th Framework Programme with a budget of € 9 million. The project includes 22 countries and involves more than 400 researchers from 39 institutions, covering a vast array of subjects, developing a timely holistic approach and integrating the Mediterranean and Black Seas scientific communities through intense collective activities with stakeholders and the public at large.
Dr. Ferdinando Boero (Project Leader) stated: There are two ideas behind this CoCoNET Project. The first is to develop a network of Marine Protected Areas, which are closed areas where you can protect marine areas and better manage activities instead of having smaller Marine Protected Areas. The idea is to have a network of different protected areas to link them together to be more efficient. The second idea is to combine the project with wind energy as finding renewable energy sources is one of the main challeges of modern societies.
Some of the highlights of CoCoNet activities are as follows.
CoCoNet website was launched in March 2012 (www.coconet-fp7.eu), which features the details of the project, participants, various meetings and workshops. A poster and a brochure were produced to explain the project, mainly its concept and purpose. They were traslated into local languages to be shared by wider range of people in each coutry.
During the first year of the project, several workshops and one summer school were organized.
There are two pilot projects in CoCoNet; one in the Adriatic Sea and the other in the western Black Sea. To harmonize all activities to be realized in the second and third year of CoCoNet, a joint meeting for pilot projects was held in Istanbul, July 2012.
As a desemmination activity, CoCoNet representatives participated to celebrate the Interational Black Sea Day on 31 October 2012 in Batumi, Gerogia.
MedPAN (Network of Marine Protected Area Managers in the Mediterranean) has a strong tie with CoCoNet. It shares the idea of establishing networks of Marine Protected Areas (MPA's) in the whole Mediterranean Sea. In that scope, some of CoCoNet partners participated MedPAN Forum 2012 held in Antalya, Turkey, 25-28 November 2012. Antalya Declaration was made towards a comprehensive, ecologically representative, effectively connected and efficiently managed network of Mediterranean MPA's by 2020.
CoCoNet will continue evolving at full speed, with many activities in the second year, 2013, including two pilot projects.
For more information, please visit CoCoNet website www.coconet-fp7.eu.