Fundación AZTI - AZTI Fundazioa

Department Marine Research Division
Country Spain
Region Basque Country


AZTI ( is a private non-profit research foundation, created in

1981. The Marine Research Division (MRD) has a staff of 100 people. Topics covered include management of marine resources, socioeconomics, fishing technology for management and production, physical and biological oceanography and dynamics and marine environmental systems. Our department has been coordinator of European research projects and active participant in large numbers of EU-funded projects. It is playing a central role in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) in coastal and transitional waters. AZTI is currently working on more than 30 UE projects (in some of them as coordinator).

Partner Skills


The MRD develops national and regional monitoring projects for littoral and estuary waters quality. Since 1994 it leads a monitoring network for the water ecological status assessment along the Basque Coast. In collaboration with the port authorities of the Basque Country, it leads the characterization and management of dredge material from the Basque ports. We have actively worked for the implementation of the WFD developing indicators and methodologies to establish the chemical and ecological status of costal and transitional waters. We have identified pressures, impacts and the associated risk in estuaries, ports and coastal zone along the Cantabric coast. 
AZTI has worked on sediment dynamics since 1989 and have large experience in hydrodynamic and dispersion studies. It has developed its own 3-dimensional advection/diffusion model. Also, it well equipped with qualified personnel and ecotoxicological/chemical labs with standard techniques for analysis of sediments, waters and biota.
The MRD is coordinator/participant of national and European research projects of different nature:
  • WISER (EU project, 2009-12): Water bodies in Europe: integrative systems to assess ecological status and recovery.
  • MESMA (EU project, 2009-12): Monitoring and evaluation of spatially managed areas.
  • EUTROFIND (funded by Spanish Ministry of Education and Research, 2006-08): Development of eutrophy indicators, based upon plankton communities. 
  • SEDIPORT (Spanish Ministry of Education and Research, 2007-09): Integrative assessment of pollution in harbour sediments by chemical, biochemical and ecotoxicological tools.
  • Intercalibration of methodologies for the ecological status assessment, within the Water Framework Directive (funded by the Basque Government, Department of Environment, 2005-06). 
It participates in working groups of experts from ICES, OSPAR, UNESCO, PIANC and CIS. We represent the Spanish Ministry for the WFD implementation (ECOSTAT working group). We have published 37 papers (SCI) related with the WFD.
Participation in the Work Plan
AZTI will participate in the activity defined as "Indicators - Monitoring". We also can contribute in the activities related with: 
  • the classification system for the aquatic water bodies of harbour areas
  • environmental modelling
  • environmental risk assessment