Mesopelagic organisms occur at a depth ranging from 200-1000M. They represent one of the largest, unexploited resources left in the world's oceans, with a recent biomass estimate at 10 billion metric tons.
The overall goal of MEESO is to quantify the spatio-temporal distributions of biomass, production and ecosystem role of mesopelagic resources and to assess options to sustainably manage and govern their exploitation. To reach this goal, MEESO will create new knowledge and data on the mesopelagic community, its biodiversity, drivers of its biomass, its role in carbon sequestration, its role in the oceanic ecosystem and its interactions with the epipelagic community which includes several important commercial fish stocks. Besides applying state of the art experimental and quantitative methods, MEESO will develop and implement new acoustic and trawling technologies necessary for the knowledge and data generation in relation to this largely unknown and remote part of marine ecosystems.. MEESO will apply the new knowledge and data to determine the potential of the mesopelagic biomass to be sustainably exploited for products included in the human food chain. For the first time combining leading experts in science, engineering, fisheries and governance, MEESO will develop commercial fishing and processing technologies and mapping of contaminant and nutrient contents to explore the basis for a viable fishery and creation of jobs. The new tools and technologies, as well as assessment and management roadmaps, developed in MEESO will establish the trade-offs between exploitation, sustainability and viability of the resource, and identify options for its governance.
The MEESO project falls under Horizon 2020 Blue Growth BG3 call.