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February 2015
SMS is a EU project which will deliver a novel automated networked system that will enable real-time in-situ monitoring of marine water chemical and ecological status in coastal areas by the detection of a series of contaminants.
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Interview of Prof. Palleschi, coordinator of the EU project "SMS"

The project will try to help protect the marine environment while helping industry to make the best use of it (Blue Growth Strategy). How do you balance the (perhaps) conflicting demands of these sectors on the project?

Three SMEs involved in the project are making devices (Microbia, France), instruments and prototypes (Systea, Italy and Acromed, Sweden) to improve the existing instrumentation to monitor emerging marine pollutants in all oceans, including the coastal areas. So in my opinion there is not a conflicting demand because both research groups and SMEs involved in the project are working to solve the same problems. As marine pollution increases, thanks to the use of novel biosensing technologies, SMEs are helping the “sensorists" to make their devices working in complex matrices, and in real time.

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Making informed choices for our Oceans: quality seawater monitoring system to achieve Blue growth

Seas and oceans provide an essential part of our wealth and well-being and are a source of food, energy and resources.  However, the impact of human activities on the marine environment is strongly increasing and research and innovation are crucial to support a thriving and sustainable maritime economy.

Monitoring seawater: crucial to protect our environment
To protect and use sustainably marine resources better, seawater pollution monitoring is necessary so as to make the right management choices (protected areas definition, choice of transport routes, aquaculture, tourism, fisheries development etc.) Indeed, as stated by the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, “Member States shall take the necessary measures to achieve or maintain good environmental status in the marine environment by the year 2020 at the latest.” In this context, SMS a European Union co-funded project, which fosters a multidisciplinary scientific approach and involves business partners—is developing a tool that will enable real time in situ detection of a series of pollutants as well as toxic algae and their toxins. The wireless transmission of these data in real time will allow the development of a system that can alert authorities when a critical level of pollution or toxins is reached.

Read the full press release here

FACTSHEET on the EU and its Maritime Policy

During the last decades, the European Union (EU) witnessed the development of maritime activities such as:
  • Maritime trade expansion,
  • Use of underwater resources (oil, minerals),
  • Use of fishery resources to meet the food challenge,
  • Development of renewable energy systems offshore production,
  • Establishment of intercontinental submarine cables,
  • Economic development of coastal areas and their infrastructures.
In this context, the EU Integrated Maritime Policy seeks to provide a more coherent approach to maritime issues, with increased coordination between maritime policies in the following areas:

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Plastic is made to last. And it does. In our oceans

With more than one million bags used every minute, the impact of plastic waste on the marine environment is vast. Over the last ten years, more plastic has been produced than during the entire 20th century. Floating in every ocean of the world and rooted in the seabed, especially in coastal areas, plastic debris are invading our seas.

Plastic decays very slowly in the oceans, breaking into ever smaller fragments, also known as microplastic. In addition to have the ability to suffocate sea animals, once degraded into small pieces plastic waste produces micro particles which are ingested by marine life. A study made by the Wageningen University demonstrates that 94% of investigated stomachs of Dutch Fulmars contained one or more plastic particles and about 52% contained more than the critical level of 0.1 gram plastic.

Plastic waste is dangerous

Professor Richard Thompson from the Marine Biology and Ecology centre of Plymouth University underlined in an article that several chemicals that can be found within plastic material are then found in the marine environment as well. These materials were introduced in the plastic at the time of manufacture in order to achieve specific qualities (flexibility, flame retardants or anti-microbials).

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our partners' work

G. Volpe, L. Cozzi, D. Migliorelli, L. Croci, G. Palleschi



2015 ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting, 22-27 February 2015, Granada, Spain

Sailing towards 2020, 2-3 March 2015, Brussels, Belgium

Oceans'15 MTS/IEEE Conference and Exhibit, 18-21 May2015, Genova, Italy

EU Maritime days, 19-20 May 2015, Pireus, Greece

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