Towards COast to COast NETworks of marine protected areas (from the shore to the high and deep sea), coupled with sea-based wind energy potential (CoCoNET)
The Project will identify groups of putatively interconnected MPAs in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas, shifting from local (single MPA) to regional (Networks of MPAs) and basin (network of networks) scales. The identification of physical and biological connections with clear the proceses that govern patterns of biodiversity distribution. This will enhance policies of effective environmental management, also to ascertain if the existing MPAs are sufficient for ecological networking and to suggest how to design further protection schemes based on effective exchanges between protected areas. The coastal focus will be widened to off shore and deep sea habitats, comprising them in MPAs Networks. These activities will also individuate areas where Offshore Wind Farms migth become established, avoiding too sensitive habitats but acting as stepping stones through MPAs. Socioeconomic studies will integrate to knowledge-based environmental management aiming at both environmental protection(MPAs) and clean energy production(OFW). Current legistations are crucial to provide guidelines to find legal solutions to problems on the use of maritime space. Two pilot project (one in the Mediterranean Sea and one in the Black Sea) will test in the field the assumptions of theoretical appproaches. The Project covers a high number of Countries and involves researchers covering a vast array of subjects, developing a timely holistic approach and integrating the Mediterranean and Black Seas scientific communities through intense collective activities and a strong communication line with stakeholders and the public at large.
The project will produce the guidelines to design, manage and monitor network of MPAs, and an enriched wind atlas for both the Mediterranean and the Black Seas, creating a permanent network of excellent researchers (e.g. with summer schools) that will work together also in the future, making their expertise available to their countries and to the European Union.
WP Leaders meeting organized in Rome, 19th of April.
Several issues related to Coconet Project has been discussed among WP leaders.