Public bodies in the EU together spend over €1 billion a year collecting data on the marine environment. Most of these are collected for a specific purpose – bathymetry for safe navigation, contaminants for safe bathing – but we are now moving towards a ‘collect for many purposes’ paradigm. The question is whether the right data are being collected.
The data adequacy reports aim to answer this question. The first data adequacy report for the Arctic reports that:
- the current catches in the FAO database for the Arctic (area 18) are too low to be credible
- it was not possible to generate an overall overview of fishing impact; only fragmented data has been found.
- lack of sea bottom temperature measurements make it to calculate the heat content of the Arctic basin
- there are sufficient data to estimate mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet
- A number of monitoring stations for river flow into the Arctic that have been operating for decades have now stopped
- many databases on alien species do not cover the Arctic and species databases of the Arctic do not cover those recognised as being alien
- records of phytoplankton distribution have significant gaps