The EU-funded ODYSSEA Project was the subject of media coverage in both Morocco and Tunisia, in the context of separate events taking place on February 5 and 6, 2020 in both countries, marking World Wetlands Day.
The Association for Integrated Resource Management (AGIR), ODYSSEA’s Moroccan partner, held a workshop on February 5 in Hoceima, Morocco, to celebrate the arrival of its Sea-Explorer submarine glider, a key component in the establishment of ODYSSEA’s Moroccan observatory at Al Hoceima as a “powerful autonomous detection platform.”
The glider, designed to collect data on the water column with a wide coverage in terms of space and time, will be used for detailed marine research with the scientific and technical platform of ODYSSEA and its partners, and also “enable Morocco to provide unprecedented information and eventually develop useful services for local authorities, ports and other users of the sea, such as fishing and tourism, for the development of sectors of the blue economy,” said AGIR president Houssine Nibani.
AGIR’s Hoceima workshop also marked the signing of a collaboration agreement between AGIR and important bodies active in the field: the regional Directorate of Water and Forests, the Al Hoceima Faculty of Science and Technology, and Morocco’s National Fisheries Research Institute.
“This partnership aims to involve local, national and international stakeholders in strengthening the role of the Al Hoceima National Park Observatory: the OODYSSEA project as a scientific and technical platform for the conservation of ecological values,” Nibani commented. It was also “an opportunity to inform the public about the glider’s first mission in Africa, which will be launched at the Moroccan observatory in Al-Hoceima, via the ODDYSSEA project, managed by the Association AGIR which is part of this partnership,” he added.
The workshop attracted about 100 participants, including some 50 identified as key stakeholders, and was covered by local and national media.
ATELIER RÉGIONAL SUR L’OBSERVATOIRE DU PARC NATIONAL D’AL-HOCEIMA :AGIR , LE DEF ; ET LA FSTH ORGANISENT LA JOUR NÉE MONDIALE DES ZONES HUMIDES SOUS LE THÈME : OBSERVATOIRE D'AL-HOCEIMA PLATEFORME SCIENTIFIQUE ET TECHNIQUE DE CONSERVATION DES VALEURS ÉCOLOGIQUE ( 05 Février 2020 à La Faculté des Sciences et Techniques d’Al Hoceima )
Posted by Houssine Nibani on Saturday, 8 February 2020
Al Hoceima National Park’s wetland is home to habitats that constitute a rare biotope, marine cliffs more than 40 km long, the highest in the Mediterranean, reaching more than 500 m, which is home to a very rich flora and fauna marine considered the ultimate refuge of the original Mediterranean biodiversity. Al Hoceima’s Bokkoyas wetland was registered on 23 May 2019 as being among the twelve new sites belonging to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.
The next day, ODYSSEA’s Tunisian partner, the National Association for Sustainable Development and Wildlife Conservation (ANNDCVS), hosted a presentation of the ODYSSEA project in Ghar El-Melh, Bizerte, Tunisia, also in honour of World Wetlands Day. The ANNDCVS’ Dr. Hekma Achour Nouisser explained the ODYSSEA project and its platform to local media.
“ODYSSEA will improve access to existing data, in addition to increasing temporal and geographic coverage and data monitoring in the Mediterranean,” said Achour Nouisser. “Most important is that the coastal wetlands are in interaction with the Mediterranean, with the sea. It is important to bear that fact in mind, and be aware that any variation relating to the Sea can influence wetland ecosystems. When discussing strategies for wetland conservation, we have to take the Sea into account.”
ODYSSEA platform will provide both primary data and data services derived according to the requirements and expectations, from all Mediterranean countries through a single public portal for different user groups and stakeholders. The end-user requirements will lead to the creation of secondary data sets that the platform will provide as new, packaged services that are compatible with the users’ needs of specialized information, she added.