HARMONY project Steering Committee hosted by the University of Malta
Alan Deidun - November 2018
The HARMONY project, funded under the framework of Interreg V-A Italia-Malta Operational Programme (2014-2020), held its first Steering Committee meeting in Malta last week, with the University of Malta being the organiser of this meeting. The Steering Committee was officially opened by Prof. Godfrey Baldacchino, Pro-Rector of the University of Malta, and by Prof. Gianluca Sara from the University of Palermo, lead partner of the project. The main scope of the Steering Committee was to discuss the upcoming project activities and budgetary obligations, as well as to present results of the first tranche of field monitoring conducted within Maltese waters for Posidonia oceanica meadows, Pinna nobilis individuals and other coastal habitats.
The 30-month-long project, which formally kicked off in March 2018, brings together a total of seven partners, four from Sicily (University of Palermo, ISPRA, CNRS-IAMC and the Regional Fishing Directorate) and three from Malta (University of Malta, ERA and the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture), under the aegis of the University of Palermo. The main objective of the project is to identify common stressors operating on a number of priority marine habitats within selected Marine Protected Areas in Malta and Sicily, and to streamline and to harmonise as much possible ongoing monitoring efforts conducted in Sicily and in Malta in related to Descriptor 2 and Descriptor 5 of the MSFD. Within the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), Descriptor 2 refers to Non-Indigenous Species (NIS) whilst Descriptor 5 refers to Seafloor Integrity.
The University of Malta is represented in the project by Prof. Alan Deidun and by Dr. Adam Gauci, both from the Department of Geosciences, which has been awarded a total of four projects within the same Priority Axis as the HARMONY project. The University of Malta heads Workpackage 2 within the HARMONY project and will thus be responsible for designing the managing the project website, besides contributing to field sampling and analyses efforts being conducted over the next few months. Further information about the HARMONY project can be gleaned through the project website (www.harmony-italiamalta.eu) and social media page “Harmony-ItaliaMalta”.