The main target of the project is to facilitate the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD, 2008/56/EC) according to the Article 11 concerning the continuous monitoring and the evaluation of the environmental status in the marine areas under the jurisdiction of the Hellenic Republic. According to the requirements of the MSFD (Marine Strategy Framework Directive) implementation in EU waters, Member States (MS) have to complete an initial assessment of their marine waters and to determine their environmental policy. An indicative list of characteristics including physical, chemical and biological features are given in the Directive for the initial assessment of the environmental status.

A major initiative towards real-time monitoring in the Eastern Mediterranean and especially in the Greek Seas is the POSEIDON system (www.poseidon.hcmr.gr) that has been contributing to European operational oceanography activities for more than 15 years. POSEIDON’s monitoring network consists of coastal and open sea Eulerian observatories that monitor a variety of atmospheric and water physical and biochemical parameters. The recording of a number of parameters in specific places for a long period provides a view for their seasonal and inter-annual variability, which is the main added value such a system can contribute to the MFSD implementation. Furthermore, real-time transmission is advancing forecasting capabilities and leads to the provision of solid grounds for the implementation of MSFD.

Under the above framework the project plans to undertake capacity building activities and specific implementations in selected sites, focusing on the planning and implementation of new sensors deployments on existing open sea multi-parametric moorings and coastal stations that are located within selected key sea zones. It also plans to incorporate systems such as underwater acoustics that will provide information for fisheries purposes on both fish stock assessment and fisheries indicators, serving the purposes of the MSFD and the ecosystem approach to fisheries such as fish recruitment, predator–prey interactions and zooplankton abundance estimates