Monitoring of the aquatic environment is important for continuous assessment of the status of waters, which assessment informs management processes and enables adaptive management targeting the needs of aquatic ecosystems. Such monitoring should provide the data required to apply indicators:
(i) for assessment of status,
(ii) to measure the progress towards achievement of environmental objectives or targets,
(iii) to evaluate the effectiveness of management processes, and
(iv) to investigate causes for failure in achieving environmental objectives or targets.
Physical and biological elements, as well as pressures on these elements, should be covered by the monitoring processes in order to enable an integrated approach towards management of the aquatic environment. In this regard, ambient monitoring is supplemented by activities’ data, usually provided by Government and public entities, and by data submitted through citizen science initiatives. Monitoring processes should also be able to detect and assess emerging issues and may need to be adjusted to better respond to changing situations.
Water-related policy requires monitoring procedures to be in place for aquatic environments. It is thus important to use and optimise existing monitoring regimes to cater for the required assessment and management processes under various policies, ensuring a synergistic and cost-effective approach towards monitoring of the aquatic environment.
ERA has developed a national marine monitoring programme that considers the various policy requirements, and which is updated at regular intervals, building on the knowledge gained. The monitoring data collected is housed in a marine database together with relevant data collected by other Authorities. This data is used for the assessment and management of our waters.