Is the Mediterranean Sea monitoring system adequate? If not, for which characteristics (essential marine variables)?In order to answer this question, the availability and the appropriateness scores have been organized by characteristics across all the challenges and products in the tables below.

Synthesis for availability indicators: characteristic categories that are inadequate in order of inadequacy

Synthesis for appropriateness indicators: characteristic categories that are inadequate in order of inadequacy

The conclusion of the Mediterranean Checkpoint assessment derives from the comparison between the inadequate characteristics for availability and appropriateness indicators. Gaps in the Mediterranean Sea monitoring system are identified by the common inadequate characteristics in the two territories.

The monitoring system gaps at the basin scale in view of the 7 prescribed Challenges are related to:

  1. the sediment mass balance monitoring data. The requested Targeted Product (spatial data layers of sediment mass balance at the coast for the past 10, 50 and 100 years, Challenge 4) could not be realized because data are only available in the literature and none INSPIRE catalogue and database exists containing the data collected within the framework of EU funded projects.
  2. the fishery management data, such as fish catch and by-catch. Their availability is totally inadequate (visibility, EU INSPIRE catalogue, data policy visibility, readiness, data delivery and data policy) and they fail to cover the Targeted Products requirements (tables of mass and number of landings of fish by species and year, mass and number of discards and bycatch of fish, mammals, reptiles and seabirds by species and year, Challenge 5)
 due to both horizontal and temporal coverage and temporal validity. The gap in the spatial coverage is mainly due to the absence of data from non-EU countries, while for the temporal coverage the reason is the lack of data before 2002. Data are not updated frequently and they are usually made available after 1 to 2 years from the monitoring. The major points are the scarcity of the data collected in the past 2 years of search and the lack of standardization in the data collection process.
  3. the habitat extent input data sets, such as Posidonia Oceanica, Coralligenous, Maerl and seabed sensible habitats. Their availability is totally inadequate in terms of data policy and responsiveness. They fail to meet the scope of the Targeted Products in Challenge 1 (suitability of sites for wind farm development), Challenge 2 (representativeness and coherency of existing European network of marine protected areas), Challenge 3 (assessment of oil spill impact on sensitive coastal habitats) and Challenge 5 (bottom habitat disturbance by bottom trawling, change in level of disturbance over past ten years, the extent of fisheries impact on the sea floor) mainly due to their inadequate vertical and horizontal coverage, temporal and horizontal resolution.
  4. the wave height, period, direction and spectral parameters input data sets. Their availability is totally inadequate because of negative scores for visibility, INSPIRE Catalogue, Data Policy, Pricing and responsiveness. They do not fully meet the scope of the Targeted Products of Challenge 1 (suitability of sites for wind farm development) and Challenge 3 (real time prediction of the likely oil leak trajectory) in terms of temporal coverage, horizontal and temporal resolution.
  5. the maritime traffic (platform movement) input data sets are totally inadequate because of negative availability scores for visibility, INSPIRE Catalogue, responsiveness. A main gap depends on the difficulty of obtaining data from the competent authorities, which means they have to be purchased from private providers. Another important gap is related to the unavailability of a few required characteristics due to confidentiality concerns related to the European laws on privacy, which makes access to raw data extremely difficult in most cases. In terms of appropriateness, they fail to meet the scope of Targeted Products (bottom habitat disturbance by bottom trawling, change in level of disturbance over past ten years, the extent of fisheries impact on the sea floor, Challenge 5) in terms of horizontal and temporal coverage, temporal validity. In fact, the VMS system was implemented in the EU Mediterranean countries in different years, while the fishing fleets of most Mediterranean countries have only recently adopted the AIS system and it is still to be implemented by most North-African vessels. Limited geographical coverage is also related to the limited range of VHF signals and management of the system by the vessel crew.