Needs analysis

Against the above background, there is a need for training in: the understanding of the marine environment and the consequences of climate change; the sustainable management of marine resources and the coastal zone; the protection of marine and coastal ecosystems, against pollution and other human threats; and the conservation of biodiversity and ocean natural heritage. Companies, consultancies, agencies, and research institutions are committed to the compliance of international recommendations and conventions, together with European Directives and regulations. Both public and private sectors require high quality graduates, who can make a difference in the management of the marine environment and the marine resources. The growth of a number of marine industries over recent decades, such offshore renewables and aquaculture, points to greater levels of exploitation and hence demand for trained staff who understand the marine environment. At European scale we lack general data, but needs and career prospects in the US are a valuable reference. Here, employment for postgraduates in the area of marine environment and resources (including careers such as consultants, monitoring technicians, biologists, resource managers and geologists) will increase by over 20% between 2006 and 2012, with 4000 new positions being created every year (see Career prospects).

Although the socio-economic relevance of the aforementioned issues may often remain underrated by society, it is demonstrated clearly, once and again. Oils spill response (Exxon, Erika, Prestige, Deep Sea Horizon) requires the interdisciplinary input of multidisciplinary staff, including oceanographers, marine biologists, chemists, geologists, and environmental and resource managers. Declining fish catches have already cost more than 100000 jobs in the last few years, among the world's 15 to 21 million fishermen. Climate change effects, such as surface seawater warming, sea-level raising and ocean acidification and eutrophication, are a matter of increasing concern for governments, scientists and society. All these are exemplary problems; none can be solved separately.