In France and Réunion
France has provided several research vessels for data collection in the WIO region, among them the Institut Francais de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER) The vessels are highly sophisticated and collect a multitude of data as they work in countries within the WIO.
Through the Ifremer institute, France has several state-of-art vessels operating across 3 oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific and the Indian Ocean. Some of the vessels exploring the Indian ocean include RV Antea; RV Marion Dufresne; and RV Pourqoui Pas?
The main objective of the 2016 Oceanographic cruise by RV Haliotis was to identify and to quantify coastal submarine morphological changes related to sediment transport during cyclones at La Réunion Island. The final objective was to obtain a better understanding of the initiation of turbidity currents and of the incision of submarine canyons.
The oceanographic cruise by RV Antea to the La Pérouse seamount in 2016, located 90 nautical miles to the Northwest of Réunion Island, aimed to study the physical and biological environment associated with this seamount, in order to assess the possible impact on productivity within a zone which is generally qualified as oligotrophic and is set at the centre of the South Equatorial Current. The main objectives were to: 1) produce an accurate bathymetric survey of the seamount; 2) characterize the physical processes leading to enrichment of the first trophic levels near a seamount; 3) assess the spatial-temporal density and faunal diversity of micronekton making up the fodder fauna for higher predators; 4) take a rapid inventory of demersal fish diversity on the slopes of the seamount; 5) analyze the food web levels of a seamount ecosystem, principally in the pelagic realm.
The Pérouse seamount cruise is related to the project on “seamount ecosystems in the South-West Indian Ocean”, which aimed to improve scientific knowledge to better understand the potential links between local and regional fishing resources of the Indian South West Ocean, improve governance, and develop integrated management tools for ABNJ, in order to better conserve biodiversity associated with seamount and hydrothermal vent ecosystems.
In the wider EU
The European Union, to which France belongs, has driven the integration of different national and local systems into a coherent whole by creating the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODNET) through a network of organisations supported by the EU’s integrated maritime policy. EMODNET is a prototype website through which engineers and scientists can see what data are available for a given sea basin and download both original observations and derived data products such as digital terrain models, sediment distributions and marine habitats. Organizations belonging to EMODNET work together to observe the sea, process the data according to international standards and make that information freely available as interoperable data layers and data products.
The EMODNET is part of the wider “Marine Knowledge 2020” agenda adopted by the European Commission in September 20101 and welcomed by the Council in December 2011. Marine knowledge 2020 brings together marine data from different sources with the aim of helping industry, public authorities and researchers find the data and make more effective use of them to develop new products and services; and improving our understanding of how the seas behave. The basic principle underlying the architecture of “Marine Knowledge 2020” is that marine data should be collected once and used many times.
The European Atlas of the Seas is an easy, interactive way for anyone interested to learn more about Europe’s seas and coasts, their environment, related human activities and European policies. It is easy to use for anyone interested in the maritime world and our common maritime heritage. It was developed to raise awareness of Europe’s oceans and seas, in the context of the EU’s integrated maritime policy.
The Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE) for the surveillance of the EU maritime domain is an EU initiative which aims to make the Member States surveillance systems interoperable to give all concerned authorities from different sectors access to the classified and unclassified information they need to conduct missions at sea.
The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) is an initiative of the European Union and the European Space Agency (ESA) being developed to provide, on a sustained basis, reliable and timely services related to environmental and security issues in support of users and public policy makers’ needs. Its primary objective is to provide information services which give access to accurate data and information in the field of the environment and security, tailored to the needs of users. Capacity to conduct observations in Africa are being developed on marine and coastal areas: fisheries, integrated coastal zone management, transport and so on are being developed under this initiative.
MyOcean today is a marine monitoring service that provides information on the state of physical ocean (e.g. sea surface temperature, currents, salinity, sea level, ice monitoring, bio-/geochemistry) and marine ecosystems for the global ocean and the European regional areas as observations and forecasts. The application areas of the services include maritime safety, the marine environment and coastal regions, marine resources as well as seasonal ocean forecasting and climate monitoring.
The EU Data Collection Framework for Fisheries provides a wide range of fisheries data needed for scientific advice in the management of the fishery resource. This is an important part of supporting the delivery of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The data collected is used in the assessment of the state of exploited marine resources, marine ecosystem and the socio-economic performance of fisheries, aquaculture and processing sectors. The Marine Institute and Board Iascaigh Mhara are responsible for the coordination and collection of scientific and economic data under the EU Data Collection Framework (DCF).