CoCoNET Press Release 13





Under CoCoNet project, a report on existing and in-progress technologies of Offshore Wind Farm (OWF) and their distribution among nations were examined.
Whereas the United States and China have taken serious steps to expand offshore wind farms, Europe leads this market segment today and is expected to do well into the next decade. Indeed, 2010 was a record year for offshore wind development in Europe, with 308 new wind turbines fully grid connected, totalling 883 MW, a 51% increase from 2009, and bringing cumulative capacity to 2,946 MW. During 2012, work was carried out on 18 offshore wind farms in European waters. Nine wind farms were completed and eight were fully grid connected. One wind farm was partially completed and grid connected, whereas in four further offshore wind farms work has begun but no turbines were connected yet.
However, additional studies are needed for the offshore projects in order to achieve more knowledge regarding the environmental impacts, the effects on radars and the collision risks. An early and active involvement of the public could also help to increase the social acceptance of the projects. Furthermore, the sector would take advantage from an international co-operation by collating data and building a one-desk-policy with sufficient and secure market support mechanisms.

Another progress during the second phase of CoCoNet is a report focused on the genetic connectivity in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. CoCoNet experts have intensively worked on this matter. As is known, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are mostly concerned with littoral and shallow circa-littoral species and habitats. MPA networks appear to provide more protection than a set of individual and unconnected protected areas because the connectivity stemming from propagule dispersal leads to the formation of metapopulations. However, designing an effective network of MPAs is a challenging task.
For that purpose, its planned for combine extant knowledge concerning genetic connectivity and biodiversity distribution (literature synthesis) with new coordinated investigations. This will allow us to assess the effectiveness of the present MPA networks, and then, to recommend courses of action relating to the use of MPA networks as a conservation tool in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. The objectives of this workshop were:
1. Discuss an overview of genetic connectivity in the Mediterranean and Black Sea based on presentations and analysis of population genetic data (published or yet unpublished) supplied by participants.
2. Conduct a consultation and consensus exercise on the definitions of connectivity, propagules, and dispersal.
3. Identify through analysis and discussion geographic areas and taxon groups for which genetic data is lacking, but which are fundamental for assessing connectivity in the study regions (further genetic studies).
4. Elaborate the work plan regarding genetic connectivity assessment at both local Pilot Projects and regional scales in both Seas, to be implemented during the project.
5. Discuss integration of genetic structure and dispersal with oceanographic models (e.g. current models).
6. Discuss the most appropriate protocols of data extraction and genetic database construction in the prospect of their further integration with GIS mapping, oceanography modeling, habitat mapping and environment change .

Globally just 0,6% of the world's oceans have been protected, compared to almost 13% of our planet's land area. That's why, marine protected areas is everyone's business both in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.
Several important events will take place in Europe. One of them is World Marine Protected Areas Congress which will be in Marseille and Corsica. After Australia in 2005 and the United States in 2009, The Agence des aires marines protégées (French MPA Agency), together with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is organizing the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress in Marseille and Corsica from Oct. 21 to 27, 2013.
In October 2005, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Parks Victoria initiated the very first International Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Conference in Geelong, Australia. It sought to define the various categories of MPAs and to review the state of marine ecosystems. Then in 2009, IMPAC2 was hosted in Washington, D.C., by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. It witnessed the rising relevance of public agencies in creating and managing MPAs.
Now the French MPA Agency has been commissioned by the French Ministry in charge of Ecology to organize the third IMPAC Congress, jointly with the IUCN. IMPAC3 represents a key milestone towards meeting the international objective of protecting 10 % of the planet's marine areas by 2020, as defined by the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress as an opportunity to:
Communicate on marine protected areas (MPAs); and exchange on planning and management;
Create and promote networking through global and regional actions;
Connect people using the Web and new technologies;
Integrate marine protected areas with the rising Blue Economy;
And develop cooperation and capacity building among MPAs.
IMPAC3 aims to deliver a new vision and new tools to achieve the goal of protecting 10 % of the world's oceans by 2020.
CoCoNet team will be there during the meeting.

Another important event, CIESM Congress, will be held in Marseille from 30 October 2013 to 1 November. Several important topics will be discussed during CIESM congress such as Marine Geosciences; Physics and Climate of the Ocean; Living Resources & Marine Ecosystems, Marine Biogeochemistry, Coastal Systems, Marine Geosciences. Marine Microbiology & Biotechnology. But MPAs: steps forward, incl. socio-economic returns (CoCoNet, etc.), from one-nation-only MPAs, to transnational networks. Ideas and case studies for a shared vision, Connectivity: current and new methodologies, tools and approaches how to identify conservation and management units? How to assess connectivity? How to assess processes of connectivity from patterns of distribution? These issues will be discussed during the congress.

Another important meeting will be in Constanza from 28 to 31 October 2013, celebrating the International Black Sea Day - 31 October, titled "Protection and Sustainable Management of the Black Sea". This symposium will be organized jointly by the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution (Black Sea Commission), Ministry of Environment and Climate Changes of Romania, National Institute for Marine Research and Development "Grigore Antipa" (NIMRD) Constanta, Romania.
The objectives are; to provide the opportunity to the scientific community to meet and to discuss their achievements in order to improve scientific basis for the implementation of the Black Sea Strategic Action Plan; to update the knowledge on the Black Sea ecosystems identifying the gaps in the scientific data/information; to revise the environment priorities and way forward to achieve good environmental status of the Black Sea; to discuss and assess the climate forcing mechanisms of physical, biological and biogeochemical processes at various time-spatial scales; to review the decision-support tools available in the Black Sea region and give recommendations for further developments and their use in the implementation of the BS Strategic Action Plan.
Some of the CoCoNet partners will be there to follow all debates for marine protected areas.

The 6th edition of the European Maritime Day Conference and Stakeholders Workshops will be held in Valletta on 21 - 22 May 2013. It will be organised by the European Commission (DG for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) in partnership with the Maltese Ministry for Infrastructure, Transport, and Communication, the Maltese Ministry for Tourism, Culture and Environment.The seas and oceans, and the opportunities they offer, will be at the heart of discussions. There will be high-level political debates as well as more practical exchanges between maritime stakeholders. Thoughts, ideas and new concepts will be devised during the Conference.


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