News | 13 March 2024

ICATMAR presents its tools, services and resources available for the marine community


Over the next seven years, this cooperative body between the ICM-CSIC and the Generalitat will allocate 18.87 M€ to the deployment of tools for oceanographic data collection, among others.

Among ICATMAR's objectives is to improve the management of fishery resources / UN Ocean Decade.
Among ICATMAR's objectives is to improve the management of fishery resources / UN Ocean Decade.

The oceanographic institute of Catalonia (Catalan Research Institute for the Governance of the Sea - ICATMAR), a cooperative body between the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC) and the Generalitat of Catalonia, today presented the services that this research center makes available to the maritime community and the general public. The main lines of action of this Institute are, on the one hand, the knowledge of the biological state of the species of fishing interest, the quantification of the impact of recreational fishing and the socioeconomic monitoring of these sectors, and on the other hand, the collection and analysis of oceanographic data (marine currents, temperature, salinity) which will then be used, among others, to make predictions of the evolution of these variables.

"ICATMAR represents a historic milestone for the ICM-CSIC and is a magnificent example of institutional collaboration", said Valentí Sallarès, director of the ICM-CSIC, during the presentation of the Institute. 

"Thanks to the drive and perseverance of the Directorate General of Maritime Policy and Sustainable Fisheries of the Generalitat and a large group of research, technical and management staff of the ICM, and thanks to the support of the central organization of the CSIC, we now have a splendid framework for collaboration so that the search for excellence in fisheries and operational oceanography carried out at the institute is used for a more comprehensive and efficient governance of the marine environment and management of its resources, based on scientific evidence", added Sallarès.

ICATMAR's commitment to public service is reflected in the publication, through its website, of all the data and analyses carried out by the Institute. Thus, it is possible to consult the conclusions of the many reports on fishing in Catalonia carried out by the scientists of this organization, as well as the distribution of fishing catches through the fishery viewer. 

"From a biological monitoring on board of several vessels of the Catalan coast, this viewer allows to compare the composition of the fishing catches made in the different ports and areas of the Catalan coast," said Joan B. Company, head of the ICATMAR's Fisheries Advisory Service.

Finally, the ICATMAR website provides users with socio-economic studies of the professional and recreational fishing sector. In real time of the currents and oceanographic data collected, the characterization of the presence of marine debris in fishing grounds.

The radar network will be fully deployed by 2024

To gather all this information, the Government began two years ago, the installation of a network of seven high-frequency radars, which will be deployed by the end of 2024, which provides information on surface currents and covers the entire Catalan territory, from the Gulf of Leon to Calafell, from where the network will be complemented by the three existing radars of Puertos del Estado.

"The deployment of this network will provide Catalonia with a unique infrastructure for oceanographic research in Europe," highlighted Jordi Isern, head of the Operational Oceanographic Service of ICATMAR. According to Isern, the ICM-CSIC plays a central role in this network since, through ICATMAR, it is responsible for the distribution and quality of the data and the generation of value-added products for both society and research".

In addition to the radar network, during 2024 and 2025 the acquisition of fixed and drifting buoys is planned to complement the information from the radars by providing data on marine currents in the water column, very relevant information that can range from knowing the dispersion of larvae (ichthyoplankton) of commercial species, This will help to better manage fishing resources, maintain maritime infrastructures, monitor coastal dynamics, improve maritime safety by collaborating with the Maritime Authorities, and provide information for the development of recreational underwater activities, among others.

In total, over the next seven years, 18.87 million Euros will be allocated to ICATMAR. Of these, the contribution of the Department of Climate Action of 10.6 M€ in the period 2023-2029 through a direct grant to the Institute of Marine Sciences (CSIC), co-financed by 70% by the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (FEMPA) or the investment of 4.2 M€ in oceanographic infrastructure financed by the Climate Fund of the Generalitat de Catalunya to consolidate ICATMAR as the epicentre of oceanographic research in Catalonia.