ESDP minutes 07 - 2012/02/03

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Seventh Meeting – 03 Feb 2012, MUMM Headquarters – Gulledelle, 100 B-1200, Brussels

1. Welcome and Present
JP Féral (France), M Sayer (UK), P Fischer (Germany), A Norro (Belgium), P Kekäläinen (Finland)
G Caramanna (Italy/UK) – part of the meeting (Skype)
F Brümmer (University of Stuttgart, DE) – observer for morning session
R Lindblom (Sweden) – apologies
[Post meeting note : Kate Larkin joined the Marine Board Secretariat on 6 February 2012 replacing Aurélien Carbonnière as the main Marine Board contact for ESDP]

2. Minutes of last meeting and updates on actions
PIRKKO : To continue examining how a literature database can be managed/hosted
Not discussed at the meeting

PIRKKO : To continue examining how a literature database can be managed/hosted

MARTIN : To keep ESDP informed of progress on joint ESDP/AAUS meeting ; to apply for ESF funding if applicable
Still as per the minutes (see below). Martin to pursue EU funding for this meeting

MARTIN : To keep ESDP informed of progress on joint ESDP/AAUS meeting ; to apply for ESF funding if applicable

AURÉLIEN : to complete a database on vessels supporting SD
To check with new secretariat
[Post meeting note : Philipp Fischer is coordinating this action with support by the Marine Board Secretariat]

AURÉLIEN : to complete a database on vessels supporting SD
To check with new secretariat

ALAIN/PHILIPP : To complete and circulate guidelines on SD from research vessels
Completed but still has to be published on the ESDP website – see Agenda

AURÉLIEN : to complete information on how to develop a national committee for SD
To check with new secretariat
[Post meeting note : Marine Board Secretariat will facilitate this action]

AURÉLIEN : to complete information on how to develop a national committee for SD
To check with new secretariat

ALL : to complete the on line form on SD training by end of June

PHILIPP : to draft a new COST proposal with the emphasis shifted to work examining impacts in complex u/w environments. Draft to be circulated for comment.
Delayed to consider possible new priorities – see below

ALL : check National Committee weblinks on ESDP website
Possible total revision of website planned pending acceptance by MB of four new years of ESDP (see below)

ALL : check National Committee weblinks on ESDP website

ALL : to publicise the ISOSD3 as widely as possible
ISOSD3 was completed in 2011 – proceedings to be published as a Special Issue of “Underwater Technology” in July 2012.

AURÉLIEN : to compile national information on medical requirements
Aurélien completed this before he left ESF/MB

MARTIN : to write to Cyprus explaining the requirements for SD training
Martin had written but received no reply – he would follow up.

MARTIN : to write again to Cyprus explaining the requirements for SD training

AURÉLIEN : to draft the ESDP SER for circulation in July with deadline for comments back in Aug/Sept
Aurélien completed this before he left ESF/MB – it was sent and discussed (see below)

ALAIN : to investigate a dive at NEMO33 the day before our next formal meeting
Done – very nice. Should do again and get more committee members attending.

3. National updates and international interactions
National updates :
France – AESD and ESD are included in the new scientific diving regulations (passed in January 2011). These new regulations also allow for other nationalities as long as their qualifications are equivalent to AESD/ESD. The 2011 law did not have accompanying text as to how apply the regulations.
Publication of explanatory text is written but there is no scheduled date for publication. [refer to ESDP self-evaluation report to Marine Board for full information]

Belgium - There is now a government in place in Belgium and so the text for legislation to change the diving regulations to include ESD/AESD can now be submitted.

Germany – New regulations were introduced in 2011 ; ESD/AESD qualifications are written in the regulations – recreational certificates are not accepted. [refer to ESDP self-evaluation report to Marine Board for full information]

Franz Brümmer (University of Stuttgart, DE ; President of the German CMAS) was invited by the chair of the ESDP to present an initiative of the German Universities Stuttgart and Tübingen to develop a system for regulating Scientific Diving in Germany that could be based on national sports diving regulations.

There was some discussion between the present ESDP representative for Germany and the ESDP chair as to the validity of the original invitation. The ESDP chair considered that it was important that the ESDP were aware of SD initiatives in all EU countries and especially where there was the possibility of uniting a number of groups into a single representative entity. The present ESDP representative for Germany, Philipp Fischer, gave an overview of the current German system based on national regulation GUV-R-2112 (German or English version) for scientific diving. Franz Brümmer presented the GAUSS initiative. Philipp Fischer thought that the GAUSS initiative should apply to become an accredited education centre for scientific diving in Germany. Once GAUSS obtained that status then Philipp Fischer officially stated that he as the chair of the national committee will support the GAUSS initiative of aiming to bring all of German scientific diving under one umbrella. It would be for the respective memberships to decide if the KFT joined the GAUSS initiative or vice versa.

The meeting as a whole agreed that the definitive aim must be to have a single and legally verified representative body for scientific diving in Germany.

Finland – No significant changes. ESD and AESD are recognised diving qualifications in Finland law although at the moment no specific qualifications are required for SD.

UK – No significant changes. ESD and AESD are recognised
diving qualifications in UK law. Some universities have introduced new SD training courses that are based on the ESD standards. Students will obtain the ESD certificate if they complete the course (i.e. not necessarily obtained through SD experience alone).

Italy – ongoing discussions with the Coastguard agency regarding the differences between scientific and commercial diving. There were distinct differences in required certification depending on where the diving takes place (e.g. inside/outside harbours). Appears to be some pressure from professional diving schools.

Lithuania – no report

4. Debriefing of ESF-MB review meeting 24/01/2012
Alain met with a 5-person review group of the Marine Board in Brussels on 24/01/2012. They appeared to be content with the progress made by the ESDP.

The request from ESDP was for another 4 years with MB panel status in order to maintain visibility and promote wider representation from more EU member states.

The review group were very resolute that ESDP has to broaden its membership and attract members from many other member states. It was accepted that a bigger membership was most likely being restricted by funding issues (e.g. compare attendance of the COST workshop with ESDP meetings). Stated that there may be a possibility of MB providing travel expenses for new members.
[Post meeting note : The Marine Board cannot provide any funds to support travel expenses for panels such as the ESDP]

The reviewers expressed support for re-submitting the COST proposal (see discussion below).

Another comment was that the review group considered that the objectives of the ESDP were too wide. It was explained to them that scientific diving was simply the research tool that provided the practical platform for a range of multi-disciplinary science. Some regarded the multi-disciplinary nature of our work to be a strength.

Some MB not aware that our main objective is to promote scientific diving as a generic research tool – not specific sciences.

Generally the feedback was very positive and it appears as if the MB wishes to retain scientific diving as a Panel for at least another 4 years. The formal result of the review is expected by the end of February.

5. COST Proposal
MB recommendation / advice is likely to be that we should re-submit the COST proposal. There was some discussion within the group as to how this could be done. So far there had been two unsuccessful proposals. The second proposal was revised to address the criticism of the first proposal but still did not receive good feedback. It was, therefore, suggested that we should re-examine the whole basis of the proposal.

The group reviewed a number of recent successful COST projects and considered that the focus of a revised proposal should be shifted more to address the application of standard methodologies in order to produce relatively low-cost research networks.

It was suggested that we need to collect the relative expertise of potential collaborators and to examine potential target subjects. On area that many people are presently working on is artificial structures. There was a need to find out what types of artificial substrates are presently being worked on and/or do the group have access to a similar form of artificial structure – for example, wrecks ?

The outcome was the following ACTION – at the next meeting, members should bring examples (5-10min presentations) of SD methods they are currently using to measure communities / colonisation / biofouling of artificial substrates plus what types of artificial substrates groups have available to them.

The members shall send brief statements of their research actions in the field to Philipp Fischer who coordinates the COST action.
Furthermore :
ESDP members to give brief presentations at next ESDP on SD methodologies currently used to measure communities / colonisation / biofouling plus
what types of artificial substrates groups have available to them.

6. Consultation document N°3
Guidelines for Scientific Diving from large Research Vessels has been completed (appended). There was a request from the MB to remove information on rebreathers. This has been done.
Consultation document N°3 was approved by the Marine Board delegates at the Autumn plenary meeting 2011, in Madrid, on the basis of a preface and disclaimer being added (completed December 2011).

Consultation document N°2 exists in draft form but may not have been formally accepted by the MB. Question for the new MB secretariat.
[Post meeting note : Consultation document N°2 was approved by the Marine Board delegates at the Marine Board Spring plenary meeting 2011 in Tallin.]

7. Future consultation documents
Training document exists in draft form – to be completed. This was considered the next consultation document to come from the group. No leader was identified at the meeting.

8. ESDP strategy for the coming year(s)
Membership – the membership of the ESDP must be widened to comply with the objectives of the Marine Board ; possibility of obtaining MB funding to support new members.
[Post meeting note : The Marine Board cannot provide any funds to support travel expenses for ESDP members. See also meeting agenda item 4.]

Discussion as to what is the benefit of joining ESDP ? Some discussion on certification and regulations. Re-emphasised that the main objectives of ESDP are to promote scientific diving as a safe, cost-effective, high quality research tool. There are plenty of opportunities for pan-European networks and to promote mobility of expertise within the EU. The advantages of networking were highlighted by recent Marie Curie (ESDTN), ASSEMBLE, COST, ESDP/AAUS initiatives. It was considered possible that a higher profile for scientific diving may help in securing future funding.

It was suggested that potential observers or new members should be targeted and presented with an overview of the benefits that come from being on the ESDP. One potential method for attracting a higher attendance is possibly to mix committee meetings with mini-scientific workshops (for example, 2-day meeting – split between committee work and science workshop). A possible first subject matter for an initial workshop could be developing method standardisation – for example, destructive sampling on hard/complex substrates ; if these resulted in published papers (technical reviews, for example) then there would be direct benefit to attendees.

The COST SD workshop participants should be emailed telling them where and when the meeting - plus perhaps workshop.

Joint ESDP/AAUS meeting is planned to be held in 21-28 October 2013 in Curaçao (Dutch Antilles). This will be ISOSD4 jointly with the AAUS scientific meeting. A Memorandum of Understanding now exists between the two organisations (attached). The NIOZ programme acropora ( is based in Curacao. ESF funding has been examined for supporting early career scientists and invited speakers ; will seek clarification as to whether our bid is applicable to the ESF call.

Election : J-P F finishes four years at the end of 2012. The future chair should be discussed at the next meeting. The MB rotate chairs at four-yearly intervals – election would be in October 2012. ACTION : members to make suggestions as to how/what election to take place [refer to the ESDC constitution]

Funding : Considered that funding will become a big problem – possible tie in of ESDP meetings with future COST proposal.

ALL : Comments required on the election process for new ESDP chair

9. Database
Is online, but not easy to use. Probably requires stream-lining a bit.

10. Publication material and website
Jouni can revise the website. Perhaps needs a new website and input from a professional. Can we use/develop the Marine Board pages – discuss with the new MB secretariat ?
Post meeting note – the New Marine Board website was launched in February 2012 with a dedicated page for ESDP ( )

11. Miscellaneous
Giorgio – asked about reciprocal relationships with Japan scientific diving. Need to check if these are the current standards :
Federation Japonaise des Activites Subaquatiques.

    • 1* - 1 Star Diver.
    • 2* - 2 Star Diver.
    • 3* - 3 Star Diver.

Giorgio to maintain communication with Japanese SD

A new flyer for ESDP (include the added value benefits) once the new 4-year period is finalised [agenda for next meeting]

ASSEMBLE WORKSHOP : Advancing the use of scientific diving as a valid and cost-effective pan-European research tool - Sayer (SAMS) & Leveque (CNRS ROSCOFF)
SAMS, Scotland, September 2012 (tbc) ; Funding : €20, 000

Aims :

  • a. To assimilate the current scientific value of research supported by diving across the ASSEMBLE network and present that in a format, or range of formats, which will aid self-promotion of diving as a valid and important research platform across Europe. This objective will also examine briefly best methods of promoting and/or quantifying the science value – e.g. through dedicated workshops, review papers etc.
  • b. To examine the current scientific diving capability within ASSEMBLE in a manner that looks for the possibility of developing “existing” synergies (i.e. finding out if there are groups already undertaking the same types of research and seeking to standardise methodologies in order to broaden existing studies) or initiating new joint programmes. This aim will also collate the total capacity within the ASSEMBLE partnership in terms of facilities, manpower, technologies and examine if the current delivery of diving-related ASSEMBLE projects could be better served. This part of the workshop will also examine the numerous science disciplines that are supported through this common research platform.
  • c. To conduct a practical scientific diving session which would form the basis for subsequent workshop sessions on standardised techniques, emerging technologies, commonality of competency standards, potential for advanced training/professional development programmes, and the ease of mobility for scientific divers considering the range of regulations in place.
  • d. To examine how the current ASSEMBLE partnership can be best positioned to become better integrated with existing and planned EU and worldwide initiatives. In particular, this objective will see if there are new initiatives that an ASSEMBLE or an ASSEMBLE+ partnership can be working toward while making better use of the existing infrastructure and capabilities and/or if any ASSEMBLE initiative on scientific diving be integrated into a wider partnership ?
  • e. Examine and recommend appropriate safety and insurance provision for all divers, local and visiting scientist divers. This should also take account of any locally specific regulations at each ASSEMBLE site.

ASSEMBLE : Association of European Marine Biological Laboratories (
The infrastructure sites :
• Tjärnö (The Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg)
• Kristineberg (The Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg)
• Dunstaffnage (Scottish Association for Marine Sciences)
• Roscoff (CNRS and the University Pierre and Marie Curie (UPMC))
• Banyuls (“Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls” (OOB) / “Laboratoire ARAGO”)
• Naples (The Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn (SZN))
• Faro (The Algarve Marine Sciences Centre (CCMAR))
• Eilat (The Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences (IUI))
• Las Cruces (Estación Costera de Investigaciones Marinas, Chile)

12. Date / place of next meeting
Tentative : 04 July 2012 – COST Office, Avenue Louise

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Minutes 07

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ESDP doc 2 SD delivery of science
ESDP doc 2 SD delivery of science
ESDP doc 3 SD from large vessels
ESDP doc 3 SD from large vessels


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