A very successful learning-by-doing set of pilot marine litter surveys was implemented in the field, by the Moroccan Authorities and key stakeholders, with the support of the EU funded ‘Water and Environment Support (WES) in the ENI Southern Neighbourhood region’ project, on 20-21 October 2022 in the M’diq bay, on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco.

The surveyors applied the ‘best’ available techniques and methodologies for monitoring floating litter and litter on the seabed. This entailed a team aboard a vessel as well as experienced divers. The surveyors followed the methodological steps for monitoring marine litter on the sea surface with visual observation by a small-sized vessel and the methodological steps for monitoring marine litter on the seafloor with visual census with scuba/snorkelling.

The aim is to generate fit-for-purpose, reliable and comparable data in line with the requirements of the European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive (Descriptor 10) and the Barcelona Convention Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme (Ecological Objective 10).

The next set of WES surveys is planned for the Spring of 2023.

In combination with other on-going initiatives in Morocco under various projects, the WES supported surveys will enhance the implementation of obligations and measures related to the updated Regional Marine Litter Management Plan in the Mediterranean and the objectives of the UfM 2030GreenerMedAgenda. The valuable results from the beach litter monitoring surveys that were conducted during the SWIM-H2020 SM project (2016-2019) will also be considered.

Ultimately, the goal of the WES support in monitoring floating litter and litter on the seabed is to formulate management measures to address identified sources and types of marine litter and propose a plan of priority measures for the reduction of marine litter.

A similar WES activity is underway in Algeria.