Establishing Monitoring and Sustainable Development of the Lebanese Sea
Scientific cruise on board of R/V CANA-CNRS with eminent guests on June 19
Monday, 23 June 2014
The staff and crew of the CANA project welcomed on board of R/V CANA-CNRS representatives of the... Read more...
CANA activities presented to the Engineers of CDR
Tuesday, 03 June 2014
The National Council for Scientific Research – Lebanon (CNRS-L) was delighted to receive an... Read more...
CANA 5th Anniversary: CNRS-Italian Embassy joint press release
Friday, 30 May 2014
  Embassy of Italy in beirut Office of Italian Cooperation for development BEIRUT, 26... Read more...
CANA 5th Anniversary: the Event Reported by Lebanese Televisions [in Arabic]
Thursday, 29 May 2014
شاهد جميع الحلقات باخرة قانا للبحوث العلمية ابحرت...
CANA 5th Aniversary: the Event Reported by The Daily Star
Tuesday, 27 May 2014
(You can download here the full press review of the event) "Cana" ship collects scientific data off... Read more...
CANA 5th Anniversary: CNRS-Italian Embassy joint press release

Amba BeirutCNRS


Embassy of Italy in beirut

Office of Italian Cooperation for development

BEIRUT, 26 May 2014. Organized by the National Council for Scientific Research-Lebanon (CNRS-L); the Ambassador of Italy, H.E. Mr. Giuseppe Morabito, and the Secretary General of the National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS), Prof. Mouïn Hamzé, chaired a high-level visit to remark the 5th Anniversary of the project “Establishing monitoring and Sustainable Development of the Lebanese Sea (CANA-CNRS Project)”, an initiative funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Italian Development Cooperation for a total amount of 2,300,000.00 Euros.

The event took place at the Beirut Naval Base, in the presence of esteemed Ministers of Environment, H.E. Mohammad Machnouk, Industry, H.E. Hussein Hajj Hassan, Public Works, H.E. Ghazi Zeaiter, and Water and Energy, H.E. Arthur Nazarian, and representative of the Minister of Agriculture, H.E. Akram Chehayeb and the President of the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR), Nabil El Jisr; and with the kind participation of high ranking public officials in environment, transportation and The Petroleum Administration; and in the presence of the Steering Committee of the Project.

The main objective of the visit has been to reveal the activities and facilities of the CANA-CNRS Research Vessel (R/V) - a former trawler donated by the Italian Government, and renovated under the direction of CIHEAM/IAM Bari - and converted into a scientific vessel, carrying out marine and environmental research in the Lebanese sea since 2009. The ultimate aim of the CANA-CNRS project is, indeed, to generate an unprecedented set of data on the status of the marine and coastal resources and enable Lebanese decision makers to adopt consequent choices at the policy level.

In this regard, thanks to the vessel’s sophisticated equipment, several campaigns were carried out in the last five years resulting in a comprehensive knowledge of geophysics, bathymetry (sea floor mapping) and biology of the coastal zone. This remarkable set of information is currently available in a set of publications for marine geologists, oceanographers, biologists, as well as for professionals of other disciplines, such as public health, demonstrating the multi-disciplinary dimensions of the project. The studies show, among other findings, the alarming levels of pollution in certain areas of Lebanese seaside caused by anthropogenic stresses, such as as chemical industries, treated and untreated sewage water and urban unplanned development.


The Italian Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Giuseppe Morabito noted in his speech that “enhancing knowledge on the topics tackled by the project is definitively an important step achieved, nevertheless, the information collected is a cause for alarm that should persuade all of us to adopt more responsible form of marine and coastal exploitation: a challenge that Lebanon, Italy and all Mediterranean countries should undertake together”.

The Secretary General of the CNRS, Prof. Mouin Hamzé; highlighted in his welcome statement the importance of the CANA R/V in strengthening scientific knowledge about one of the most important resources of the country: the 220 km of the Lebanese coast. “CANA is working with a limited but highly qualified team, and is a unique tool for Marine Research in the East Mediterranean Basin, placed in the service of the Lebanese Public Sector. The Research – strategic, original and at the disposal of all stakeholders - in the fields of coastal sea floor mapping, pollution and fish stock are a great asset and basis for informed decisions at the policy level.”


Following the welcome words a presentation was made by the Director of the CNRS National Centre for Marine Research (Gaby Khalaf), the Director of the National Centre for Geophysical Research (Alexandre Sursock) and the CANA Scientific Expert (Stefano Lelli); who highlighted the main research activities of the Vessel and various equipment (Rosette, Multi Beam, CTD, and ROV). The presentation focused on three main activities/scientific areas: Bathymetry (Sea Floor Mapping), Pollution and Fish Stock.

Bathymetry Campaigns:

The first Bathymetric Campaign of the CANA-CNRS Research Vessel was conducted in November-December, 2013 with the goal of mapping the coastal seafloor around Beirut and it continued in early 2014 mapping further the area north towards Jounyeh. The remarkable set of information, presented in the first Bathymetry Map Publication, is of fundamental importance and may serve in the modeling of marine geo-hazards, mainly tsunami wave heights on our shores.


The CANA-CNRS R/V continues to regularly monitor coastal pollution levels, associated to human activities along the Lebanese coast. The CANA Research Team regularly gathers measurements of chemical, bacteriological, organic (hydrocarbon) and metallic contaminants along the coast, resulting in regular studies and pollution-risk maps on the status of the Lebanese Marine Environment.

Fish Stock:

The CANA-CNRS R/V and Research Team in a collaboration set up with the CIHEAM-PESCA LIBANO Project “Technical Assistance to the Ministry of Agriculture in the field of fishery development,”  - funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was implemented in partnership by CIHEAM-IAM Bari (leading partner), Istituto Agronomico per l'Oltremare (IAO), the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture and the CNRS - mapped marine fisheries resources performing two national fishing surveys aiming at collecting quantitative abundance and biological data on the main fish and shellfish stocks occurring along the Lebanese coasts. In the study, 120 species of fishes (including sharks and other cartilaginous fishes), cephalopods and crustaceans were collected, 16 of which are intruders in the Mediterranean (Lessepsian species) particularly abundant in shallower waters.