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Aligning marine-environment monitoring systems

An EU-funded project established a comprehensive database of existing knowledge and practices related to the monitoring of the White Sea ecosystem. Activities resulted in aligning the system for integration with that of the European system.
Aligning marine-environment monitoring systems
Despite a wealth of data having been collected in recent decades on the state and dynamics of the White Sea ecosystem, various factors have rendered these data unreliable and not wholly representative. The project 'The current state of the Russian marine ecosystem monitoring for the White Sea and its relevance to the EU Directive on Water Policy and UN Agenda 21' (Ecomon) worked to establish a metadata base to solve this problem.

Project partners assessed the Russian marine environment monitoring system and defined the goals to be pursued so as to fully accommodate EU research standards, aims and result formats. Existing directives, principles and practices were scrutinised and the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) system was used to produce a guideline for monitoring the latter two.

Ecomon organised a series of seminars and workshops in Russia with the aim of meeting set targets, and providing training for experts and a forum for meetings with European partners. A monograph on the White Sea ecosystem status (monitoring and projected changes) was produced, and project results were disseminated through the website. Existing databases, each of which was target specific and supported by relevant administration bodies, were also made available in electronic form

Various practices and regulatory documents, including the Helsinki Convention, and EU and HELCOM strategies for monitoring and assessment of the Baltic Sea, were analysed and their contents applied to the White Sea case. This enabled an analytic comparison of the basic principles and logistic schemes of the marine monitoring systems to be elaborated and recommendations to be formulated for overcoming any issues that arose.

On conclusion of the project, researchers deemed it feasible for the Russian marine monitoring system to be integrated, and thus all components were made available for manageable transfer into the relevant European system. Ecomon efforts thus also have the potential to inform the development and further implementation of contemporary marine monitoring practices.

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