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Engaging IT and fishery specialists for better Marine Living Resource conservation

iMarine (www.i-marine.eu) establishes an open data infrastructure to provide the necessary support for concrete implementation of the Ecosystem Approach to Fishery, to help define corrective actions, alleviate pressure from endangered ecosystems, assist policy makers to foster a sustainable exploitation of marine ecosystems and safeguard our oceans.

“The iMarine data infrastructure will foster “innovation” by providing an open platform and a variety of services that are designed to become an integral part of the organized procedures of a wide community of practitioners addressing the challenges of fishery management and the conservation of our marine resources”.
Donatella Castelli, ISTI-CNR & iMarine Project Director

The road to iMarine iMarine’s origins are in the D4Science project, which developed capacities for data interoperability among different research infrastructures. The project delivered an open-source technology capable of operating data e-Infrastructures in a federated virtual environment. The next obstacle was to share data among different partners, and this is the engine behind iMarine. “The idea was to give stronger capacity to drive the directions of data infrastructures development to an identified Community of Practice” – explains Marc Taconet, FAO & iMarine Board Chair– “we chose the marine science field community, to support both the Ecosystem Approach to Fishery management and the conservation of marine resources”.

One board, one goal Two sub-communities are behind the iMarine Community of Practice: on one hand people working in biodiversity and on the other hand the community of people dealing with fishery, such as oceans’ observatories. They have one common final goal: the sustainable exploitation of our living resources and the preservation of future generations. For this purpose an iMarine Board has been set-up, composed of representatives of international fishery organisations, as an interface between the community of practice supporting the Ecosystem Approach, and the technology developers, i.e. IT specialists well aware of users’ requirements.

Managing the fish in our seas Almost 50% of fishery resources in our oceans are approaching the limits of sustainability. Another 28% are either overfished or hovering near depletion because of man-made and natural disasters. Good fishery management covering social, nutrition and economic facets becomes imperative to ensure our ocean’s supply is sustainable now and in the future.
The need today is to plan, develop, and manage fisheries in a manner that addresses the multiple needs and desires of societies applying an integrated approach to fisheries within ecologically meaningful boundaries. The “old” concept of emblematic or vulnerable species protection needs to be extended to cover the maintenance of ecosystem biodiversity and the sustainable use of its goods and services through and “Ecosystem Approach”.
By empowering a Community of Practice of scientists, practitioners, managers and fishery boards, iMarine launches an initiative to establish and operate an e-infrastructure supporting the principles of the Ecosystem Approach to fisheries management and conservation of marine living.

An Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries The implementation of the Ecosystem Approach relies on a set of knowledge and data sources much broader than that used in conventional and fishery management and conservation. The monitoring and assessment of target, emblematic or vulnerable species needs to be broadened to cover species assemblages, communities, habitats, and ecosystems, and to cover fisheries’ impacts on all goods and services offered by those ecosystems. These knowledge sources are maintained in a large number of repositories, archives, and databases. They have different histories and respond to different policies, practices, and standards. They are represented in a large variety of formats.

iMarine sets sail The iMarine project was officially launched on 16 November 2011 in Pisa, where the iMarine board met for the first time. “That was the first time that we brought together such a rich set of high level experts with different expertise. The discussion was very rich and continued in a fruitful brainstorming that we are going to organise in collaborative remote discussions from now on. Clear directions have already been identified in terms of interoperability standards. We are very hopeful that this board will help reach our goals”. Marc Taconet, FAO & iMarine Board Chair

For more information - info@i-marine.eu
Navigate the iMarine channel @ www.i-marine.eu
The iMarine Consortium is composed of ERCIM (Coordinator), CNR-ISTI (Scientific Coordinator), CERN, CRIA, E-IIS, FAO, FIN, FORTH, IRD, NKUA, Terradue, Trust-IT and UNESCO with community practitioners ICES, EC (Eurostat / DG MARE), GENESI-DEC, MAAP/DPMA, NEAFC, PESI/EU, SP2000, VLIZ/EMODNET.

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