The project was in direct response to the requirements of the Oslo and Paris Commission (OSPARCOM) for a fully integrated quality assurance programme for the chemical determinants measured in marine monitoring programmes.
All the laboratories which participated in the QUASIMEME project contribute data to marine monitoring programmes. The project had three essential objectives: (1) a quality assurance management programme to develop the use of quality manuals in each laboratory, (2) a quality control proficiency testing scheme to be developed into a continuous assessment, and (3) a communication programme through meetings, newsletters etc.
The QUASIMEME project has been terminated in May 1996. It developed into a broad based Marine Chemistry Network in Europe which is now extending worldwide. The project provided a comprehensive knowledge of the quality of chemical measurements in the marine environment. The establishment of this international quality system for marine institutes has been fully acknowledged by the Oslo and Paris Commission, the Barcelona Convention and the Helsinki Commission. This scheme is now developing into a permanent quality system under laboratory's suscription in which more than 150 laboratories have already suscribed.
The programme has established the existing quality of measurement of the key marine laboratories which present data to these marine monitoring programmes through an initial questionnaire and intensive interlaboratory studies for chlorobiphenyls, trace metals and nutrients. Each laboratory was assessed and given a score according to ISO guidelines. Satisfactory laboratories began a long-term proficieny testing programme, while laboratories with analytical problems started a learning programme to aid improvement of performance. In addition, a quality management programme enabled to improve the laboratory documentation and quality manuals, methods of reporting and validation of information.