The last two decades have highlighted the importance of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea as an essential source of critical resources and ecosystem functions and services for the country of Israel and for the region. This critical ecosystem is impacted by rapid human-induced global climate changes and more local and regional pressures that include accelerated offshore energy exploration and development, rapid development of coastal and offshore construction, the construction and expansion of desalination plants, increasing pollution, declining fisheries and extensive species invasions, degradation of the coastal zone and an overall reduction in system services.

MERCI was established to address some of the large knowledge gaps in scientific understanding of the eastern Mediterranean Sea and Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and to provide the scientific and operational base required for the development of blue-economy in Israel.

MERCI provides a national platform that broadly facilitates marine-relevant scientific infrastructure and resources, coordinates and optimizes their utilization and makes them accessible to the scientific community.

MERCI addresses local environmental, economic, and broad maritime security (non-defense related) challenges and aims to provide a data-based foundation for decision makers and stakeholders utilizing or requiring information on the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The overarching aim of the MERCI initiative is to provide a national-level interdisciplinary scientific framework and common resource basis to address the challenges facing Israel in the sustainable development and management of the Mediterranean marine environment. Moreover, the consortium aims to form larger partnerships and networks locally and internationally so that we can promote the scientific leadership of Israel in Mediterranean Sea research.