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On the occasion of its final event on further advancing the implementation of the Regional Plan for the Management of Marine Litter in the Mediterranean, the IPA Adriatic funded DeFishGear project launched a network for a litter free Adriatic and Ionian coast and sea. The two-day meeting entitled ‘Joint commitment for a marine litter-free Mediterranean Sea’ was successfully organized jointly by UNEP/MAP’s MEDPOL Programme and the DeFishGear project in Tirana, from 19 to 20 July 2016, bringing together some 85 participants from 20 countries of the Euro-Mediterranean area.

Motivated by the successful cooperation accomplished within the project – the first sub-regional project dealing with the marine litter issue in the Adriatic-Ionian macroregion, establishing and piloting comprehensive, coordinated and harmonized marine litter monitoring throughout the region as well as marine litter related measures – the DeFishGear partners decided to further commit themselves to the fulfillment of a shared vision and form a Network for a Litter Free Adriatic and Ionian Coast and Sea.

This network ensures that the contacts and working relationships developed during the project will be maintained and further developed through follow up, collective and collaborative projects and initiatives. Furthermore, it is expected to substantially contribute to efficiently and effectively achieving lasting positive impacts and changes via continuity, coherence and cross-fertilization among and between projects and/or initiatives dealing consecutively or in parallel on the marine litter issue in the region.

The DeFishGear Network, facilitated by MIO-ECSDE, includes the following 16 institutions and organizations:

  • Agricultural University of Tirana, Laboratory of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Albania
  • Ca Foscari University of Venice, Italy
  • Euro-Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change, Lecce, Italy
  • Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (Institute of Oceanography and Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters), Anavyssos, Greece
  • Hydro-Engineering Institute of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Institute for Oceanography and Fisheries, Split, Croatia
  • Institute for Water of the Republic of Slovenia, Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Institute of Marine Biology, University of Montenegro, Kotor, Montenegro
  • Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, Rome, Italy
  • Mediterranean Consortium, Rome, Italy
  • Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development, Athens, Greece
  • National Institute of Chemistry, Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Public Institution RERA SD for Coordination and Development of Split Dalmatia County, Split, Croatia
  • Regional Agency for Environmental Protection in the Emilia-Romagna Region, Cesenatico, Italy
  • Regional Council of Lezha, Lezha, Albania
  • University of Nova Gorica, the Laboratory for Environmental Research, Nova Gorica, Slovenia

The Network invites all institutions, organizations and individuals who share the aforementioned convictions, vision and commitment to join and enhance the Network with their ideas, energy and determination.

For more info read the Declaration of Intent and contact Thomais Vlachogianni, MIO-ECSDE Programme Officer at vlachogianni(at)mio-ecsde.org

Jul 25, 2016

Some 85 participants from 20 Mediterranean countries and Belgium and Ireland, were brought together in Tirana, Albania, from 19 to 20 July 2016, to further advance the implementation of the Regional Plan for the Management of Marine Litter in the Mediterranean. The two-day meeting entitled ‘Joint commitment for a marine litter-free Mediterranean Sea’ was organized jointly by UNEP/MAP’s MEDPOL Programme and the IPA-Adriatic funded DeFishGear project.

In his opening remarks the Coordinator of UNEP/MAP Mr. Gaetano Leone stressed that ‘moving toward a litter free Mediterranean is a key priority for the region and one of the most important objectives of the UNEP/MAP Midterm Strategy 2016-2021’. He highlighted that the great attendance of the meeting “is a sign of continued commitment to foster our regional cooperation and work in a coordinated manner to achieve the marine litter reduction targets decided by COP 19, including a beach litter reduction of 20% by 2024”.

At the heart of the workshop were the latest trends and findings on marine litter in the Adriatic, Ionian and Mediterranean Seas with regards to amounts, sources, impacts, implications and solutions. Aiming to take the implementation of the Regional Plan for Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean a step ahead, the workshop offered a platform for participants to present and exchange their experiences and lessons learned from addressing land-based and sea-based sources of marine litter. To this end a series of marine litter related best practices were featured including: the establishment of derelict fishing gear management schemes in ports; fishing for litter activities; targeted recovery of ghosts nets;  piloting business scenaria within a circular economy context; applying the no-special fee and other related systems in ports; implementing plastic bag levies; establishing deposit/refund schemes for beverage packaging; setting up extended producer responsibility schemes; putting in practice the adopt-a-beach measure, etc.

The meeting was also the closing event of the DeFishGear project, which had the opportunity to share the collective experience gained from its 3-year long actions implemented on the science-policy-society interface for a litter free Adriatic and Ionian coast and sea. This has ranged from addressing the marine litter knowledge gaps to piloting concrete measures, ultimately facilitating effective decision making.

The added value of the DeFishGear project in providing a strategic input towards tackling marine litter was highlighted by Mr. Leone who said ‘With its focus on the coordination and harmonization of actions on the science-policy-society interface in addressing marine litter issues in the Adriatic-Ionian macroregion, this project is in many respects showing the way in the definition and implementation of responses for litter-free coasts and sea’.

The meeting was organized with the support of the Agricultural University of Tirana and MIO-ECSDE.

Jul 25, 2016

We are pleased to announce that the IPA-Adriatic funded DeFishGear project together with UNEP/MAP’s MEDPOL Programme are organizing a regional meeting on further advancing the implementation of the Regional Plan for the Management of Marine Litter in the Mediterranean. The meeting, entitled ‘Joint commitment for a marine litter-free Mediterranean Sea’ will take place in Tirana, Albania, from 19 to 20 July 2016.

At the heart of the workshop will be the latest trends and findings on marine litter in the Adriatic and the Mediterranean Seas with regards to amounts, sources, impacts, implications and solutions. Aiming to take the implementation of the Regional Plan for Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean a step ahead, the workshop will offer a platform for participants to present and exchange their experiences and lessons learned from addressing land-based and sea-based sources of marine litter. To this end a series of marine litter related best practices will be explored including: the establishment of derelict fishing gear management schemes in ports; fishing for litter activities; targeted recovery of ghosts nets; piloting business scenaria within a circular economy context; applying the no-special fee system in ports; implementing a plastic bag levy; establishing deposit/refund schemes for beverage packaging; setting up extended producer responsibility schemes; putting in practice the adopt-a-beach measure, etc.

The DeFishGear project will have the opportunity to share the collective experience gained from its 3-year long actions implemented on the science-policy-society interface for a litter-free Adriatic Sea. This has ranged from addressing the marine litter knowledge gaps to piloting concrete measuress, ultimately facilitating effective decision making.

Deadline for registration is: 30 June 2016.

Jul 15, 2016

Elsevier has launched an action to promote prevention of plastic ocean pollution at the occasion of the World Oceans Day 2016. They selected a number of innovative research studies within the theme “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet” which have an outstanding contribution to monitoring, modeling, mitigation measures, and the study of impact of plastics on marine wildlife and human communities.

The paper “Regional approach to modeling the transport of floating plastic debris in the Adriatic Sea prepared by S. Liubartseva, G. Coppini, R. Lecci and S. Creti from the Euro-Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change, Lecce, Italy and developed within the framework of the IPA Adriatic strategic project DeFishGear (Derelict Fishing Gear Management system in the Adriatic Region, str-0010) was among 18 publications selected from a 3-year (2014-2016) Elsevier publication list. The selection of the article is recognition of the excellent scientific work and the importance of the contribution to the urgently needed understanding of pollution in marine environments. All selected articles have free access through Science Direct until May 16, 2017.

The article addresses in particular the topic of modeling marine pollution on the example of the Adriatic Sea. Including a number of real and simulated factors it is able to predict the concentrations of marine litter in the Adriatic with high temporal and local accuracy. It is also useful to understand movement of debris in the sea and its deposition on beaches. The model can be used in monitoring of floating debris, planning clean-up actions, and in support of policy decisions.

The selection is a recognition to the importance of the DeFishGear project which is currently the largest project dealing with marine litter in the Adriatic and is designed to give the first assessment of the situation, carry out pilot project and offer strategic recommendation for dealing with the issue at the regional level. The selection also illustrates the importance of regional actions developed and implemented through the IPA Adriatic programme.

The abstract of the article:

For the first time, sea surface concentrations of plastics and their fluxes onto coastlines have been simulated in the Adriatic Sea over 2009–2015. Calculations combine terrestrial and maritime litter inputs with the Lagrangian model MEDSLIK-II forced by state-of-the-art products of operational oceanography: high-resolution ocean currents, waves and wind. The Markov chain model has been implemented to provide flexibility and computational efficiency in simulating any configuration of the plastic debris inputs.

With a relatively short particle half-life of 43.7 days, the Adriatic Sea has been defined as a highly dissipative basin where the shoreline is the main sink of floating debris, by initial assumption. The model results have shown that the coastline of the Po Delta receives a plastic flux of approximately 70 kg (km day)-1. The most polluted sea surface area (more than 10 g km-2 floating debris) is represented by an elongated band shifted to the Italian coastline. Complex source-receptor relationships among the basin's sub-regions are quantified in impact matrices.

Read the integral version of the paper awarded

World Oceans Day is a global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future. This year’s theme is “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet and is celebrated on June 8th 2016. The idea of a World Ocean Day was first proposed at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and the United Nations officially recognized June 8th as World Oceans Day in 2008.

Jun 06, 2016

Major initiatives aiming to tackle marine litter in the Mediterranean and how these initiatives are contributing to the implementation of the Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean was the focus of a Barcelona Convention COP19 side event organised by MIO-ECSDE jointly with UNEP/MAP.

Entitled “Tackling marine litter in the Mediterranean” it took place on the 1st day of the COP, which is taking place in Athens, Greece from 9-12 February 2016, and offered a sense of relief that important steps and actions on this serious challenge have been taken in the region. The event brought together some 40 participants who had the opportunity to be informed about capitalizing on the cutting edge outputs, best practices and lessons learned of these initiatives, as well as on how these can be expanded and replicated in order to serve the needs of other Mediterranean countries.

The event was opened by UNEP/MAP MEDPOL Programme Officer Tatjana Hema, who presented the key findings of the Marine Litter Assessment in the Mediterranean, a report updated in 2015. MIO-ECSDE Programme Officer, Thomais Vlachogianni, in her intervention stressed the key role of Civil Society in the implementation of the Regional Plan, including their contribution from awareness raising activities to filling in the knowledge gaps that stand in the way of effective decision making. She presented four major initiatives tackling marine litter in the region where MIO-ECSDE and several of its members and partners have a key role, namely the:

  • Regional Survey on abandoned, lost or discarded fishing & ghost nets in the Mediterranean sea;
  • FP7 project “MARine LItter in Europe’s Seas: Social AwarenesS and CO-Responsibility (MARLISCO)” funded by the European Union;
  • IPA Adriatic project Derelict Fishing Gear Management System in the Adriatic Region (DeFishGear) co-funded by the European Union;
  • The Plastic Busters initiative for a Mediterranean litter-free, heading for UfM labelling next week. 

A new flick on the collective achievement of the Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean was also launched, soon to be available on various media channels.

Feb 10, 2016
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