Most of the Countries laying in South-East shores of the Mediterranean suffer from a lack of information collection, planning, decision making systems, that threaten sustainability and quality of marine resources made available to consumers.
CANA project “Establishing monitoring and sustainable development of the Lebanese sea” was conceived to fill this gap, expanding the knowledge of the coastal marine environment as a whole, its physical and biological parameters and processes. This organic and multidisciplinary effort, made possible by the Italian donation of the RV CANA-CNRS, aims at establishing solid and scientifically reliable bases for protection and sustainable exploitation of Lebanese coastal area and, due to its geographical location, at setting a warning system on the composition of biocenosis that may lead to modification of the diet also in the rest of the Mediterranean. This package of information can be mirrored to the whole Mediterranean through Feeding Knowledge.
National Council for Scientific Research-Lebanon - LebanonLead applicant
The National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS) is a public institution established in 1962 and assigned with the task of formulating national science and technology policy, initiating, guiding, supporting and conducting scientific research programmes and activities in Lebanon. It advises the Government on all science and technology issues. The CNRS conducts research through its specialised centres and supports research projects having an impact on the socio-economic development of the country. The CNRS is a public autonomous institution reporting directly to the President of the Council of Ministers. It is administered by a Board of Administration and a General Secretariat.
Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture - LebanonInitiative partner
The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for the improvement of policies and practical programs for the advancement of the sector; the development of legal frameworks and organizational law, the building of infrastructures to facilitate investment, production and marketing, to guarantee the engagement of the largest possible segment of the Lebanese people. The Ministry of Agriculture plays a key role in the development and the management of the natural resources (agricultural land, irrigation water, forests, fisheries and pastures) and rural development programs (the role of women and youth) to enable the agricultural sector to benefit from added value and competitive advantage given by the local production and geographical climate.
Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari - ItalyInitiative partner
CANA: a Mediterranean system to serve Communities and territory needs. Most of the countries laying in south-east shores of the Mediterranean suffer from lack of information collection, planning, decision making systems, that threaten sustainability and quality of marine resources made available to consumers. CANA project “Establishing monitoring and sustainable development of the Lebanese sea” was conceived to fill this gap, expanding the knowledge of the coastal marine environment as a whole, its physical and biological parameters and processes. This organic and multidisciplinary effort, made possible by the Italian Government’s donation of the Research Vessel (RV) CANA-CNRS, aims at establishing solid and scientifically reliable bases for protection and sustainable exploitation of Lebanese coastal area and, due to its geographical location, at setting a warning system on the composition of biocenosis that may lead to modification of the diet, also in the rest of the Mediterranean.
CANA provides technological and systemic innovation. The establishment of a fully equipped, technologically advanced and steadily operational research vessel fills at the same time:
•spatial gap, allowing Lebanese scientists to constantly survey Lebanese coastal waters,
•technological gap, giving the possibility to use innovative and complex equipment,
•temporal gap, proposing a model of inclusion of the stakeholders that brings the whole system of governance of the coastal areas several years forward.
This implies that, in order to properly equip the vessel, to provide regular maintenance and, most of all, to run the vessel and to implement the associated scientific tasks, the dedicated team created from scratch a new sector of intervention that benefits from scientists, experts and local SMEs’ joint efforts. Set of information made available by CANA is related to needs and solutions pertaining to coastal areas that through Feeding Knowledge can be mirrored to the whole Mediterranean.
In Lebanon, main economic and social activities are concentrated along the coast. Associated environmental risks are well established and can have a negative impact on marine ecosystem. Increasing coastal industrial activities are affecting people’s quality of life. Marine aquaculture is not developed. Fisheries, whose potentialities are reduced by political instability and war, are characterised as small-scale artisanal, ran by small wooden boats that operate in shallow waters. Rapid demographic change and urbanization has greatly increased demand for coastal resources; bad practices, heavy pollution and human pressure on the coastline combined to climate change effects brought to a rapid alteration of local biodiversity. In the absence of operational wastewater treatment plants, effluents from coastal agglomerations are directly discharged into the sea. Coupled with this, information on coastal marine ecosystem is poor and inconsistent and so are management and protection measures.
During its 5 years of implementation, CANA worked as a platform to attract international donors and partners (including Lebanese Public Sector) to underpin its field of intervention and providing its services to:
• fishermen, by assessing halieutic resources, their abundance, distribution and economic value; making available new fishing techniques;
• consumers of seafood products, by evaluating marine pollution as a result of organic pollutants, hydrocarbons and contamination by heavy metals;
• scientists and decision makers, increasing knowledge of Lebanese marine ecosystem.
Therefore, it has been possible to provide a comprehensive and exhaustive set of information on subjects relevant for food security: aquaculture and fisheries, sanitary inspections of public beaches, dispersion of contaminants along Levantine Basin and establishment of a well-managed, ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas in Lebanese waters.
Established needs/Responses activated/Direct beneficiaries:
1.Proper management of coastal zone, including resources for human consumption/donation of a scientific vessel, steady implementation of scientific activities/coastal communities, seafood consumers
2.Capacity building/dedicated trainings/CNRS, Governmental bodies
3.Secured advance of coastal scientific knowledge/research programmes and scientific collaborations/academic sector
4.Clear outputs in aquaculture and fisheries/management plans defined and Ministry of Agriculture supported/MoA, other concerned ministries
5.Increased awareness of operators, general public and youth/schools and universities involved in CANA activities. Fishermen involved in scientific activities and results dissemination/fishing communities, public
6.Accessibility of ports and fishing grounds/coastal bathymetric campaigns/fishermen
7.Tools for decentralised coastal management/information sharing with local authorities/local acting institutions
Lebanese CNRS, and its human resources, is leading the effort of managing a scientific vessel while assuring the implementation of relevant scientific activities. Many actors are directly and constantly involved supporting or directly benefitting from CANA services.
- 11 Institutions: CNRS, Italian Cooperation and Government, Lebanese Government, CIHEAM-IAM Bari, GFCM, Eastmed, Accobams, UNEP, Honor Frost Foundation, French Government, Italian CNR
- 35 Scientists
- 10 Lebanese governmental officers
- 150 Lebanese fishermen
- 12 Fishing Cooperatives
- 25 Italian fishermen
- 10 PhD students
The project has encountered constrains that represented continuous challenge for the CANA team. The lesson learnt in this field is that Lebanon is a country still not equipped to adequately support a relatively big and technologically complex vessel as CANA-CNRS. Shipyards are small and primitive, there is no market for spare parts and components for bigger vessels, few workshops are able to handle a routine maintenance of marine engine and no professionals are available on the market. The deep and prolonged refurbishment of the vessel was costly and time consuming nonetheless it has been undertaken to respond to the needs of safety of the workers (both the crew and the scientists) taken on board and to the requirements deriving from a sensitive collection of interdependent devices. Participatory involvement of experts and local SMEs along with good will and stubbornness of CANA team has led to the definition of original and appropriate solutions.
The mandate of CANA, and results achieved, is related to the delivery of information and scientific advices to policy and strategy makers, to the definition of action plans and good practices at all levels of governance of fisheries and aquaculture sectors including measures of conservation, protection of biodiversity, impact and origin of pollutants that directly affects the food security of consumers were taken by following the results of our study. Furthermore, reflecting CANA’s strong commitment in leading a new season of environmental awareness and to have a direct impact on the reduction of carbon emission, the R/V CANA-CNRS hosts high-efficiency solar panels. In terms of completion of products life-cycles, CANA guaranteed the extension of the lifespan of an Italian fishing vessel ready for demolition that was refurbished as a scientific vessel. The old trawler give birth to a new story.
The processes activated by CANA project aim at filling the gap with developed countries and at bridging policy makers and scientists to fully establish the necessary confidence and partnership. It is a matter of fact that marine research is increasingly becoming key to strengthening the capabilities of the countries for socio-economic progress while contributing to the wellbeing and sustainable development of human communities. As the sea is a shared resource, those processes cannot work only at local level needing a broader prospect. Linkages with international research institution are key for the strategy of CANA project. Exchanges of knowledge, methodologies and experiences are necessary to strengthen the bases of a long lasting and reliable activity of research in Lebanon. On this regard, several initiatives were initiated to widen the capabilities of intervention of CANA both at the local and regional levels.
CANA is a scientific tool designed to respond to the needs of communities and territories on a Mediterranean scale. Activities undertaken promoted research, improved awareness of civil society to the essential value of the environment and biodiversity, educated key-actors, gave sustainability to project actions. Major dissemination activities:
April 2009. Ceremony of inauguration of RV CANA-CNRS.
November 2010. Information day on CANA-CNRS vessel in the presence of public and private institutions.
February 2011. 2 days dedicated to aquaculture and bathymetry held at the CNRS HQ.
December 2012. Concerted Action for Lebanon on Fisheries and Aquaculture held at the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) HQs.
May 2013. CANA participated to Slow Fish event and animated the conference "Innovation and best practices in the fishery production chain in the Near East: the Lebanese case".
May/June 2014. Scientific cruises in the presence of Authorities and stakeholders