Over 5 countries, a single purpose: Accurate scientific data on the distribution/abundance of BS cetacean populations and on the by catch pressure

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The greatest issue concerning the cetacean populations is closer to being solved through an effective and complex project, entitled ”Support MSFD implementation in the Black Sea through establishing a regional monitoring system of cetaceans (D1) and noise monitoring (D11) for achieving GES”- CeNoBS. The kick off meeting of the project took place in Bruxelles, last week and gathered partners and specialists from over 5 countries. The project is Co-funded by European Union thought European Commission Directorate-General Environment grant.

Specialists from Bulgaria, Monaco, Romania, Ukraine and Turkey gathered in Bruxelles last week for the kick off meeting on CeNoBS project- ”Support MSFD implementation in the Black Sea through establishing a regional monitoring system of cetaceans (D1) and noise monitoring (D11) for achieving Good Environmental Status- GES”. The kick off meeting established the grounds for the project, the objectives, specific activities and means of effective communication between the partners of the project. In addition, it was a great opportunity for the partners to exchange information on the local or national issues on cetacean distribution.

During the meeting, several presentations emphasized the importance of the project, together with the importance of having a good and effective collaboration.

For the next 24 months, all partners will collaborate to create studies on the matter and will participate at specific workshops and activities, in order to achieve the project`s objectives.

Some of the most important project activities are:

· Noise monitoring The pilot actions for noise monitoring will allow to test methodologies applied in other marine areas and to define proposals and recommendations for D11 noise monitoring in the Black Sea.

· Bycatch monitoring Pilot activities on cetaceans by-catch monitoring will be implemented. Data will be collected though port questionnaires and onboard observers. Postmortem examination of cetacean carcasses stranded ashore will be conducted as an independent estimation of bycatch rate with special focus of the IUU fishing.

· Aerial surveys- aimed at collecting visual sightings of Black Sea cetaceans. The aerial survey will be conducted in both territorial waters and exclusive economical zones of Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Ukraine in the Black Sea.

The final project meeting will take place at Bruxelles. There will be several events in the frame of which the CeNoBS project will be promoted, like EMD (European Maritime Day), ACCOBAMS Meeting of the Parties side event, Black Sea Commission meeting etc.

The CONTEXT

The lack of background data on the distribution/abundance of BS cetacean populations and on the by catch pressure, and the lack of national expertise to implement effective noise monitoring is a great issue that regards all of the European coastline countries.

Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) represents the pillar of European Union, which aim is “Good Environmental Status” (GES) in European marine waters by 2020.  The Black Sea is one of the most vulnerable regional seas and Romania and Bulgaria are the European Member States responsible for implementation of MSFD, in close collaboration with the other non EU countries.

The PROJECT

Support MSFD implementation in the Black Sea through establishing a regional monitoring system of cetaceans (D1) and noise monitoring (D11) for achieving GES”- CeNoBS is a 24 months project , co-funded by by European Union thought European Commission Directorate-General Environment grant. CeNoBS is  a multipartners project coordinated by Mare Nostrum NGO/Romania, and aims to improve second cycle of MSFD implementation for 2 essential descriptors:

Descriptor 1 – marine mammals/cetaceans and Descriptor 11- noise in the Black Sea, by achieving greater consistency and coherence in determining, assessing and achieving good environmental status (GES).

The proposed activities will fill the lack of background data on the distribution/abundance of BS cetacean populations and on bycatch pressure and the lack of national expertise to implement effective noise monitoring.  The main objectives are to assess D1 cetacean related criteria and establishment of thresholds values, to assess and support the development of D11 monitoring in the Black Sea and to enhance coordination among the Black Sea region through the dissemination of the project activities, results and outcomes.

The PARTNERS

For this effort,  partners from 2 EU member states (Romania and Bulgaria) and Third Countries: Ukraine, Monaco and Turkey. Both competent authorities from the EU MS are partners of the project, Romanian Ministry of Waters and Forests and Bulgarian Black Sea Basin Directorate together with the responsible of the scientific implementation of the MSFD, Institute of Oceanology – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences IO-BAS and National Institute for Marine Research and Development “Grigore Antipa” - NIMRD. Green Balkans NGO (Bulgaria) and Mare Nostrum NGO (Romania) support these institutes in the implementation of D1 cetaceans monitoring activities. And partners from third countries involved in the project activities are Ukrainian Scientific Centre of the Ecology of Sea (UkrSECS), Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV), Karadeniz Technical University (KTU) and Permanent Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS).

”Support MSFD implementation in the Black Sea through establishing a regional monitoring system of cetaceans (D1) and noise monitoring (D11) for achieving GES”- CeNoBs is co-funded by the European Union thought European Commission Directorate-General Environment grant. Project value: 548.285 euro