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Call for European ocean health 'network'

Brussels -- Scientists and policy makers in Europe say they want an integrated network of marine observatories to monitor the health of the area's seas and oceans.

The aim is reliable, long-term data to underpin science and policy decision regarding the use of seas for fisheries, aquaculture, energy and shipping, as well as tourism and recreation, a European Science Foundation release said Thursday.

"We should not take for granted the wealth and well-being provided by the seas and oceans" Lars Horn of the Research Council of Norway and chair of the Marine Board said. "This call needs to be heard by national and European decision makers and budget holders.

"Stable, long-term marine observations are essential so that we can interact with our marine environment in a sustainable way," he said.

Participants in a Marine Board-ESF Forum in Brussels met to discuss the role of observatories in providing marine knowledge, the technical challenges, the funding schemes and innovative governing structures needed, the ESF said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI)

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