Innovation in the Framework of the Atlantic Deep Ocean

28 October 2019

Faial island in the Azores archipelago was the perfect setting for the iFADO workshop. The Azores are about 1,360 km west of continental Portugal in the North-East Atlantic area, which has a narrow continental shelf and extensive deep areas. This makes implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) very challenging, particularly for periodic monitoring programs in offshore waters.

The INTERREG Atlantic Area project iFADO (Innovation in the Framework of the Atlantic Deep Ocean) is working to meet the challenge. It is creating marine services at regional and sub-regional scale using the EU Atlantic Waters as a case study. By filling current technical gaps, iFADO is using the MSFD implementation to demonstrate the application of innovative products. The project combines traditional in situ monitoring with cost-effective, state-of-the-art technologies: remote sensing, numerical modelling and emerging observation platforms such us gliders and oceanic buoys. iFADO is developing tailor-made and innovative products to meet the challenge of monitoring the European Atlantic area.

The 5th iFADO meeting took place in a reconverted sperm whale processing factory, hosted by the Fundo Regional para a Ciência e Tecnologia (Azores/Portugal), FRCT. It combined with a workshop involving OSPAR and other international actors, which focused on new technologies for MSFD monitoring and its role in integrating regional and international missions.

During the coffee-break many of us helped the staff of Faial’s Nature Park (Parques Naturais dos Açores) to release rescued juvenile shearwaters. They get disorientated by the light pollution, so the park service gathers them during the night to release them close to shore during the day.

In the afternoon several of us were lucky enough to go out to sea to observe a Slocum glider being released. Later in the week a wave glider was also deployed and together they will conduct simultaneous monitoring the Atlantic waters in the Macaronesia region.