MIO-ECSDE Programme Officer Thomais Vlachogianni was one of the invited speakers at the 2-day meeting of the Ecosystem Approach Correspondence Group on Marine Litter Monitoring (CORMON) held in Madrid from 28 February to 1 March 2017. She presented the accumulated MIO-ECSDE experience on marine litter monitoring including the DeFishGear methodology and best practices on monitoring marine litter on beaches, inclusive of sampling locations and study areas, applied protocol, main results at sub-regional and country level. Some of the lessons learned she highlighted were:

  • The use of the ‘Master List of Categories of Litter Items’ has proven instrumental in terms of detecting the sources of litter and has been rather easy to use.
  • The application of the DeFishGear beach litter monitoring protocol was not demanding when it comes to resources (financial, human resources).
  • The sources attribution method used within the DeFishGear project provided a good overall basis for detecting the major marine litter sources and feed into the management process.
  • In order to obtain a better understanding of the marine litter sources, it is of crucial importance to setup long-term marine litter monitoring programs that will ensure the detection of marine litter seasonal variations and respective trends.

The Marine Litter CORMON meeting brought together some 50 participants from nineteen Mediterranean Contracting Parties, European and national institutions, regional projects and NGOs to discuss the practical implementation of the three indicators adopted within the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme of the Mediterranean Sea and Coast and Related Assessment Criteria (IMAP – Decision IG.22/7). Furthermore, the meeting sought to: provide the Contracting Parties with a training on marine litter monitoring; share information on the revision of their national monitoring programmes in relation to marine litter; review and discuss the metadata templates and monitoring protocols and the steps forward towards the development of a Marine Litter Reporting system.