2021: A milestone year for EMODnet

At the onset of each New Year, we take a moment to reflect on the past, consider our main achievements and look forward to what the coming year will bring for our evolving network of partners and users.

2020 was an extraordinary year for EMODnet – not only because of the global health crisis which has affected us all – but mostly because it marked EMODnet’s first decade and the end of its third phase of development (2017-2020). We can be very proud of our collective achievements, leading to the successful delivery of the Marine Knowledge 2020 vision objectives producing a high-resolution multi-parametric map of European seas.

Read our full New Year's Letter

EMODnet PArtnership for China and Europe

EU-China partnership sets the pace for international marine data sharing

 Mr. XIANG Wenxi, Deputy DG of NMDIS and Mr. Jan‐Bart CALEWAERT, Head of the  EMODnet Secretariat signing the MoU

EU-China collaborations on marine data and knowledge sharing took a new step forward with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) and the National Marine Data and Information Service (NMDIS) of China.

The agreement  consolidates the operational, technical and scientific collaboration which is already well underway, by providing a clear framework to advance the joint efforts through the EMOD-PACE and CEMDNET projects on three specific areas of collaboration: (i) the sharing of available in-situ, earth observation and modelled marine data, (ii) the exchange of knowledge and best practices related to marine data and information product R&D and associated technology, and (iii) the development and implementation of common work plans between NMDIS and EMODnet in relation to ocean reanalysis, seabed habitat mapping, ecological vulnerability and coastal zone adaptation.

Read the full press release

Noteworthy additions of EMODnet data sets and products 

EMODnet Bathymetry released an upgraded version of the EMODnet Digital Terrain Model* (DTM) which has become a reference for government, science and industry. This new EMODnet Bathymetry product benefits from significant developments and expert inputs in 2020 and is used in many different applications, ranging from marine science over sustainable ocean governance to blue economy activities. Amongst those new features, the 2020 DTM includes new data gathering, reprocessed data, thorough selection of the best data source and use of innovative bathymetric sensors (such as Satellite Derived Bathymetry). It allows users to visualise bathymetric features with greater detail, in addition to providing a powerful 3D visualisation functionality covering all European seas, into the Arctic and Barents Sea, and greater accuracy along European coastlines, thanks to the integration of both in situ and satellite datasets.

More information and access to the 2020 DTM data product can be viewed here*

EMODnet Bathymetry DTM 2020 along the coasts of Greece (with new survey tracks highlighted)

EMODnet Human Activities released a new dataset on spirulina production*, which is the result of a collaboration between the Joint Research Centre (JRC), EMODnet Human Activities and EMODnet Data Ingestion. Moreover, updates on the algae production facilities maps have led to almost a doubling of the number of algae companies in the database including now more than 200 macro and microalgae companies in 17 countries. The updated version also includes new data categories such as the species produced by each company which adds interesting information to the global understanding of the sector in Europe.

In the context of this release, EMODnet Human Activities interviewed Rita Araújo, Scientific and Technical Projects Assistant at the JRC of the European Commission, who coordinated this effort.

Interested in reading the full interview? Read more here.

 EMODnet Human Activities map on spirulina production sites in Europe

EMODnet Geology updated their seabed substrate data products. Within these maps, diverse national seabed substrate data classifications are integrated, harmonised and collated using the Folk classification system of 5, 7 and 16 classes. The maps illustrate seabed properties at different scales covering all European sea areas. A layer at a scale of 1:25 000 has been added to the multiscale data product and the seabed substrate layers at a scale of 1:50 000 and 1: 100 000 have also been updated. The data products also include seabed substrate data at the scale of 1:250 000 and 1: 1 000 000 published in previous phases of the project. The harmonised maps of the seabed substrate are freely available for visualisation and download on the EMODnet Geology portal*.

EMODnet Geology seabed substrate map

*Please note that EMODnet is in the process of providing a central access point to its data and data products through the Central Portal in the coming months. More information will be available soon via

EMODnet: Providing Open Data, supporting Business


Europe's blue economy can benefit from EMODnet’s free and open data and products to reduce costs, promote opportunities for innovation and reduce the risks of working on the coast or at sea. This short film, released on BlueInvest Day 2021, presents examples on how EMODnet data is used to support maritime businesses. If you are a maritime business and need access to marine data, watch the film now! 

Interview with Alan Edwards:
“It’s vital to recognise that EMODnet is a public good.” 

EMODnet is honoured to present this interview with Alan Edwards on EMODnet’s contributions over the last decade. Alan Edwards, formerly European Commission's Directorate General for Research and Innovation, explains why EMODnet is vital to support policies that allow us to “sustainably use Europe’s marine resources whilst conserving them for future generations.”  Sit back and enjoy Alans’ anecdotes and experiences about EMODnet.

EMODnet Chemistry Use Cases in the picture

Marine Litter in the EU: from quantitative baselines to a first quantitative threshold with EMODnet Chemistry
The pan-European Marine Litter database (MLDB), developed and maintained by EMODnet Chemistry, was used to compute the EU Marine Litter quantitative baseline [doi:10.2760/16903, pdf, 6MB] and the monitoring data over the period 2015-2016.

In 2020, a subset of data from the database has been used to compute a first marine litter quantitative threshold value for beach litter in the European Union. The method considers both environmental protection and socio-economic issues. Intermediate targets will be set by the MSFD Technical Group and Regional Sea Conventions to make a manageable pathway for country-subregions towards reaching the threshold value for macro litter on coastlines as a part of the Good Environmental Status for marine litter.

EMODnet Chemistry will continue to collect, standardize and validate the official monitoring data in cooperation with the Joint Research Center and the MSFD Technical Group on Marine Litter.

Read the full use cases

Eager to know more about what EMODnet Chemistry has achieved in 2020? Have a look at their highlights of the year.

EMODnet as a key partner to the Copernicus Marine Service:
CMEMS General Assembly 2021

On 26-28 January, EMODnet joined the Copernicus Marine Service online General Assembly 2021. In a session on CMEMS partnerships, the EMODnet Secretariat joined CMEMS and other Copernicus services in a round-table discussion to highlight the many examples of cooperation and collaboration between EMODnet and CMEMS at operational and coordination levels. These range from data partnerships particularly in the physics and chemistry thematics, to joint thematic workshops and hackathons. Future opportunities for interoperability and cooperation extend to all marine environmental parameters and human activities. In situ data were recognized as essential for validation of satellite data, input to models and to create more holistic, comprehensive maps and predictions, particularly in the coastal area where high resolution is so crucial, and where EMODnet and CMEMS can further collaborate.

The European leadership of EMODnet for in situ marine data standards and services over the past decade and into the future was also highlighted by the Iain Shepherd of the European Commission DG MARE at a round-table discussion on 28 January.


Reminder: Call for input by 19 February to Public Consultation on Ocean Observing – sharing responsibility

On 27 November 2020, the EC launched a public consultation towards a common EU approach to ocean observation, to gather opinions on the effectiveness, efficiency and fitness for purpose of ocean observation by the EU and its member states. Please share widely to your research, policy, industry networks, and have your say by 19 February 2021!

A related study on ocean technologies also remains open with inputs welcomed as soon as possible before 19 February.

Prepared and published by the EMODnet Secretariat
EMODnet Website
The European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) is financed by the European Union under Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

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