The two H2020 projects SUMMER and MEESO where funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme in 2019. Both projects aim at studying mesopelagic challenges. The projects had a joint kick-off meeting in Bilbao during the autumn of 2019. MEESO will work with quantifying the spatio-temporal distributions of biomass, production and ecosystem role of mesopelagic resources and assess options to sustainably manage and govern their exploitation.

MEESO is another EU-H2020 project funded to study the mesopelagic challenges. The overall goal of MEESO is to quantify the spatio-temporal distributions of biomass, production and ecosystem role of mesopelagic resources and to assess options to sustainably manage and govern their exploitation.

To reach this goal, MEESO will create new knowledge and data on the mesopelagic community, its biodiversity, drivers of its biomass, its role in carbon sequestration, its role in the oceanic ecosystem and its interactions with the epipelagic community which includes several important commercial fish stocks.

Besides applying state of the art experimental and quantitative methods, MEESO will develop and implement new acoustic and trawling technologies necessary for the knowledge and data generation in relation to this largely unknown and remote part of marine ecosystems.

MEESO includes a significant amount of in-kind financing for technology development and scientific surveys. MEESO will apply the new knowledge and data to determine the potential of the mesopelagic biomass to be sustainably exploited for products included in the human food chain.

For the first time combining leading experts in science, engineering, fisheries and governance, MEESO will develop commercial fishing and processing technologies and mapping of contaminant and nutrient contents to explore the basis for a viable fishery and creation of jobs. Mesopelagic organisms represent one of the largest unexploited resource left in the world’s oceans, with a recent biomass estimate at 10 billion metric tons. The new tools and technologies, as well as assessment and management roadmaps, developed in MEESO will establish the trade-offs between exploitation, sustainability and viability of the resource, and identify options for its governance.

MEESO is lead by the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and have 19 European partners, among them SINTEF Ocean which has the responsibility to develop harvesting technology for commercial operations.

Partners:

  1. Havforskningsinstituttet, Norway (coordinator)
  2. Marine Institute, Ireland
  3. SINTEF Ocean AS, Norway
  4. Fundacion Azti – Azti Fundazioa, Spain
  5. Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, Iceland IS
  6. Wageningen University, Netherlands
  7. Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, Denmark
  8. University of Strathclude, United Kingdom
  9. International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, Denmark
  10. Liegruppen Fiskeri AS, Norway
  11. World Maritime University, Sweden
  12. Collecte Localisation Satellites SA, France
  13. IMAR – Instituto Do Mar, Portugal
  14. NOFIMA AS, Norway
  15. United Kingdom Research and Innovation, United Kingdom
  16. Teagasc – Agriculture and Food Development Authority, Ireland
  17. Pelagia AS, Norway
  18. Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Ireland
  19. EUfishmeal, Denmark