Between 2013 and 2018, EMODnet conducted a series of six EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints (SBCP) across European regional sea-basins and bordering oceans, to assess the adequacy of the EMODnet data and data product offer to meet specific end-user challenges and applications, from the siting of offshore wind farms, to the monitoring of an oil spill. These exercises used a user-driven methodology that also provided important information of data gaps both in terms of data provision by EMODnet, and in terms of gaps in the existing ocean observation and monitoring data collection efforts at that snap-shot in time.
This article provides information of an EMODnet community consultation of the added value and benefits of the EMODnet SBCP approach, conducted in 2022-2023 and coordinated by the EMODnet Secretariat, with input from all EMODnet thematic and data ingestion Coordinators, and wider network and stakeholders. This was acheived through a series of targeted stakeholder dialogues and expert consultations in the form of tele-meetings, an online survey, and an online stakeholder workshop. Additionally, as part of the 2022-2023 consultation exercise, the EMODnet thematic Coordinators (Bathymetry, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics, Seabed Habitats and Human Activities) re-evaluated the status of (EMODnet) marine data adequacy based on a comparison between the 2018 EMODnet SBCP synthesis report and the current status in 2022.
A tele-meeting with the Sea-basin Checkpoint Coordinators took place on 22 October 2022, to gain their understanding on the added value of the SBCPs, suggestions for optimising the methodology and planning for a wider stakeholder workshop in early 2023. In November – December 2022 EMODnet launched a wider stakeholder consultation of Sea-basin Checkpoint partners, firstly in the form of an online survey (November – December 2022) and secondly bringing key actors together for an online workshop on 26 January 2023 to which SBCP Coordinators, partners and related expert groups, EMODnet Coordinators, partners, associated partners and representatives of the European Ocean Observing System, Research Infrastructures and wider experts were invited.
The aim of the survey and workshop was to gain insight into the strengths and benefits of the SBCP exercises while gathering recommendations in terms of methodology, geographical coverage, user and stakeholder involvement and SBCP legacy. Over 50 partners and coordinators of the SBCP participated in the online workshop in January 2023, which included a series of interactive discussions, gathering feedback from all participants using online whiteboards, which provided further input to the survey results. From both consultations it was clear that the Sea-basin Checkpoints were acknowledged as a powerful tool that provided a solid methodology to assess the status/adequacy of data on solving present challenges, the importance of metadata and the present data gaps. Stakeholders also recommended that going forward, the EMODnet SBCP methodology has a lot of potential for contributing key information on data adequacy that – together with other methodologies used by the ocean modelling community – could inform the future European Ocean Observing System (EOOS) on user-driven gaps and requirements, including as a more regular and systematic assessment to inform EOOS and the European marine knowledge value chain.
A summary report with an overview of the EMODnet SBCP activities and key highlights from the stakeholder consultation can be downloaded below.