Marine Newsletter #6 2012 – June

Highlights from the Marine Division at GRID-Arendal for June 2012

Featured Project

Capacity Development for Sustainable Management of the Marine environment in West-Africa
Coastal populations in the 22 member states of the Abidjan Convention (the Atlantic coast of Africa, from Mauritania to South Africa) are to a large extent dependent on the marine environment for food supply and socio-economic development. Unsustainable management practices are currently threathening the capacity of the marine environment to provide these ecosystem services, with overfishing, ecosystem degradation and pollution among the most important factors in the region. This is also partly caused by a lack of coordination between marine planning processes, resulting in conflicts between sectors and degradation of critical marine habitats. A new holistic approach to marine management, Ecosystem-based Management, is therefore required.

From 18 to 21 June the first "Abidjan Convention Sustainable Seas Pilot Workshop" took place in Grand-Bassam, Cote d'Ivoire. The workshop was organized by the Abidjan Convention Secretariat and GRID, with cooperation of the Institute of Marine Research (Norway), WWF and ODINAFRICA (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO). The meeting was attended by 17 government representatives from the region.

The purpose of the meeting was to identify needs and priorities in the region in 5 thematic areas: Ecosystem-based Management (EbM), Offshore oil and gas and EbM, Marine data and Information, Marine assessments and Communication and outreach, and to identify 'building blocks' for implementation of Ecosystem-based Management in the region in the implementation phase. 

For more information, please contact Morten Sørensen or Wouter Rommens.

Data and Products

Blue Carbon - First Level Exploration of Blue Carbon in the Arabian Peninsula
Healthy natural coastal ecosystems, such as mangrove forests, saltwater marshlands and seagrass meadows provide a vast array of important co-benefits to coastal communities around the world, including throughout the Arabian Peninsula. These benefits include ecosystem services such as a rich cultural heritage; the protection of shorelines from storms; erosion or sea-level rise; food from fisheries; maintenance of water quality; and landscape beauty for recreation and ecotourism. In a "Blue Carbon" context these ecosystems also store and sequester potentially vast amounts of carbon in sediments and biomass.

The publication can be accessed here.

For more information, please contact Steven Lutz.

Map of the Month

Green Economy in a Blue World – Minerals
The exploitation of deep sea minerals has been on the horizon ever since the economic crisis of the 1970, when first explorations of minerals and development of technologies commenced. Three major types of minerals can be found:

• manganese or polymetallic nodules, 'potato-shaped', mostly found in abyssal plains at 4000 to 6000 meters
• cobalt-rich crusts on seamounts, roughly 20 cm thick
• seafloor massive sulphides (sms) found at hydrothermal vents

The seafloor outside of countries' Exclusive Economic Zones and Extended Continental Shelves is considered Common Heritage of Mankind – its mineral resources are governed by the International Seabed Authority. Countries can apply for exploration-rights. No country has started exploitation in these areas beyond national jurisdiction yet. However, Nautilus, a private company, is about to exploit copper and gold in SMS at 1600 meters depth in the waters of Papua New Guinea.

Click on the image to view the full map.

For more information, please contact Christian Neumann.


Recent events
Seminars/meetings/conferences related to the marine environment where representatives from GRID-Arendal have participated:

  • 50th Estuarine & Coastal Sciences Association (ECSA) Conference: Today's science for tomorrow's management, Venice, Italy, 3-7 June – presenting the paper: "GeoHab Atlas of seafloor geomorphic features and benthic habitats – synthesis and lessons learned".
  • Visit to GRID-Arendal by a delegation from the Fisheries Management Section of the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, Arendal, Norway, 5 June – briefing the visitors about GRID-Arendal's marine activities.
  • 15th Council meeting of the University of the Arctic, Tromsø, Norway, 12-14 June – proposing the creation of a new thematic network on Communicating Arctic Research.
  • Abidjan Convention Sustainable Seas Workshop, Grand-Bassam, Cote d'Ivoire, 18-21 June – initiating a capacity development process in support of ecosystem-based management of the marine environment for governments in the region of the Abidjan Convention.
  • Green Economy in a Blue World webinar: Greening Growth in Coastal Cities, Washington, D.C., USA, 19 June – Session 2 in the webinar series organised by GRID-Arendal and the World Bank.
  • Side event at Rio+20: "Eye on Oceans and Blue Carbon", Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 21 June – participating in the expert panel.
  • Capturing Knowledge and Experience for a TEEB for Oceans, Guayaquil, Ecuador, 24-26 June – workshop organized by Comisión Permanente del Pacífico Sur (CPPS) – the Regional Seas body for the South East Pacific Region.
  • Regional UN Regular Process workshop for the North Atlantic, the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean and Black Sea, Brussels, Belgium, 27-29 June.
  • Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme (TWAP) GEF project meeting, hosted by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, Paris, France, 4 July.

Upcoming events

11-13 July
New York, USA: Dräger Foundation's Future Oceans Symposium: Sustainable Oceans - Reconciling Economic Use and Protection. The Symposium, under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, attracts high level representatives from government, academia and civil society. GRID-Arendal's TEEB for Oceans concept will be presented and discussed.
For more information, please contact Yannick Beaudoin.

26 August-7 September
Arendal, Norway: Second training workshop under the West Africa Training and Capacity Building Programme for the Establishment of the Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles. The workshop will focus on the integration of the new data that has been acquired under the acquisition programme, and on the drafting of the technical sections of the submission document and accompanying annexes.
For more information, please contact Joan Fabres.


Did you know that...

...the Convention for Co-operation in the Protection and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the West and Central African Region (the Abidjan Convention) entered into force in 1984?
Source: Abidjan Convention
...Sabhka is the Arabic term for a salt flat? These are flat and very saline areas of sand or silt lying just above the water table, with "algal mats" a few centimetres thick, beneath which are layers of minerals.
Source: Blue Carbon - First Level Exploration of Blue Carbon in the Arabian Peninsula
Our favorite website of the month

Abidjan Convention

Picture of the monthParticipants at the Abidjan Convention Sustainable Seas Pilot Workshop in Grand-Bassam, Cote d'Ivoire.
Photo: Wouter Rommens, GRID-Arendal.

Disclaimer: GRID-Arendal does not necessarily endorse the content of external websites, and provides them for information purposes only. If you would like your website to be featured here, please contact Rannveig Nilsen.

EarthWire Marine

EarthWire Marine is a free online news service provided by GRID-Arendal. You can get marine environment news e-mailed to you every day or sign up to an RSS feed. Registering is simple. We pledge to protect your privacy, and users can at any time unsubscribe from the service. To subscribe, visit the EarthWire Marine website.

For previous editions of this Marine Newsletter, please visit our Marine Division website.

The Marine Newsletter will take a summer break in July. Next edition will be out in the end of August. We wish everyone a nice summer!

Friday 13 Jul 2012