Crossborder cooperation

One of the aims of crossborder cooperation in Europe is the joint management of natural risks, especially if it crosses national borders (2006/702/EC). This is definitely also the case for the threat posed by microplastics in the 2 Seas France Manche Channel area. A European cooperation concerning monitoring, research and management measures is urgently needed.

The knowledge gaps related to microplastics, i.e. the development of standard protocols for monitoring; investigation of dispersion and distribution; research on impact, chemical and microbial load of microplastics, modelling... require expertise in various scientific fields.

MICRO is a crossborder cooperation to prevent environmental, technological and human risks attributed to microplastics. The project will contribute to establish common strategies for environmental risk assessment by modeling the potential impacts on the environment, and by proposing follow-up tools and mitigation measures.

The Interreg IVa-2 seas program (Priority 4) is a unique opportunity to improve and standardize the monitoring efforts of the different partners across the 2 Seas region/France Manche Channel area and counter the problem in a broader perspective. This crossborder cooperation will stimulate the sharing of expertise on sampling and analyzing microplastics. All partners are leading institutes in the environmental monitoring of marine environment in relation to anthropogenic activities in their respective countries. They already collaborate in different European projects; they are involved in ICES expert groups and deliver data to OSPAR. The partners can rely on a vast amount of information and expertise for their own countries and regions. All partners have complementary skills which strengthens the MICRO project. As such, several multidisciplinary aspects can be covered, like environmental monitoring, biomarker analysis, stomach analysis, mathematical modeling, microbiology and a socio-economic approach. The involved partners agreed to share their specific competences and available data to pursue a common goal, i.e. to assess the environmental impact of microplastics to minimize its impact in the 2 Seas Region. Good practices will be exchanged between the different partners, that each have their specific expertise. New procedures and analytical methods will be developed and implemented in integrated sampling surveys, data exploration, experiments, mathematical models, reports and international publications. By exchanging and sharing knowledge, technology, staff, funds and infrastructure, this cooperation between partners will significantly increase the cost-efficiency and performance of the proposed research actions, as compared to separate national approaches.

The outreach of the MICRO project will contribute to the sustainable development of the 2 Seas Region, especially regarding fisheries/mariculture and tourism. Furthermore, the fact that forces are being joined at the research level will facilitate and promote the joint implementation of possible future management measures.

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ILVO  Ifremer  Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)  Cefas  Deltares, Enabling Delta Life  Provincie West-Vlaanderen, door mensen gedreven  Ministerie  Interreg IV A, 'Investing in your future' Crossborder cooperation programme 2007-2013 Part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund)