News

Marine Newsletter #4 – February 2010

Highlights from the Marine Programme at GRID-Arendal for February 2010:

1. Featured Projects

UNEP Shelf Programme: Pacific Ocean and West Africa
The UNEP Shelf Programme has been involved in a workshop organised in collaboration with Geoscience Australia and the Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), in Sydney, Australia, from 8-19 February. The aim of the session was to provide technical support to 9 Pacific Island States working to complete their full submissions delineating the outer limits of their continental shelf.

The Shelf Programme is also currently working on desktop studies and collecting historical data offshore 6 West African states, in order to assist them in the delineation of their possible extended continental shelf.

2. Events

Recent events
Seminars/meetings/conferences where representatives from the Marine Programme have participated:

  • First Expert Group Meeting of the Large Marine Ecosystems Water System, and First Expert Group Meeting of the Open Oceans Water System, under the Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme (TWAP), Paris, France, 3-5 February - participating as an institutional partner and contributing to the discussions of both groups.
  • Meeting with officials from the Japanese Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, Tokyo, Japan, 03-05 February – discussing the Global Assessment of Methane Gas Hydrates project.
  • Meeting with the data group of the Japanese Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Tokyo, Japan, 03-05 February – to determine if more recent Japanese data would be available for continental shelf issues in the South Pacific.
  • Visit to the marine insurance company Gard, Arendal, Norway, 10 February – discussing possible collaboration in the area of green shipping.
  • Visit to GRID-Arendal by Øystein Djupedal, Aust-Agder County Governor, and Jan Atle Knutsen, Environment Manager of the county, 12 February – discussing marine activities in the region.
  • 37th Session of the Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) meeting, Bangkok, Thailand, 14-19 February – presenting a Prototype Clearing House Mechanism for the Regular Process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, as well as assisting UNEP with the hosting and reporting of this year’s meeting.
  • Visit to GRID-Arendal by Richard Kenchington, Consultant from the Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Unit, Division of Environmental Policy Implementation of UNEP, 16-17 February - discussing the Marine Programme's contribution to UNEP's Programme of Work.
  • Free public screening of the movie "The End of The Line” organised in cooperation between GRID-Arendal and Alf Ring Kleiven from Institute of Marine Research (IMR) at the cinema in Arendal, Norway, 17 February. This is the first major documentary film revealing the impact of overfishing on our oceans. A short discussion followed the screening. 
  • Meeting with Ambassador Hans Wilhelm Longva, Norway's Ambassador for Continental Shelf issues, Arendal, Norway, 18 February – discussing progress and future activities related to the Norwegian Continental Shelf Initiative in North West Africa.
  • Meeting with representatives from the Norwegian Ministry of Oil and Energy to discuss possible Norwegian support for the Global Outlook on Methane Gas Hydrates project.
  • Meeting with Australian Government officials at Geoscience Australia, Canberra, Australia, 24 February – briefing them on the development of marine mining policy. GRID-Arendal has been approached because it is developing an assessment on marine mining with the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) that will be used to develop policy for Pacific Island states.

Upcoming events

04-05 March
Arendal, Norway: GRID-Arendal hosts the first meeting of the steering committee on the Global Outlook on Methane Gas Hydrates. About 20 representatives from 7 countries will take part in this meeting.

3. Other

Did you know that…
… the giant squid, Architeuthis dux, of the family Architeuthidae, are possibly the largest known cephalopod, the largest known mollusk and, likely, the largest invertebrate ever known to exist (except for possibly the colossal squid, Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni which may have a mantle length nearly twice the size of the giant squid!)?
… harp seals, Pagophilus groenlandicus, get their common name from the harp-shaped pattern on the dorsal side and flanks of adult seals, and that the Latin name translates to "ice-loving seal of Greenland”?

Our favorite website of the month

MarineBio: http://marinebio.org/

Friday 26 Feb 2010