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The Support Team

The Assistance Mechanism for the Atlantic Action Plan is operating through five National Hubs which are based in France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.

National Hubs are coordinated by a Brussels-based central management team which also runs this website dedicated to foster cooperation with the stakeholders.

If you wish to contact our central team in Brussels (KANTOR QWENTES SA, Rue du Marteau 81, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium), please send us an email at:

National Hub France

Michel Schlaifer

Michel Schlaifer is the coordinator of the National Hub of France.

Michel has a dual university background in forestry and natural resources management as well as geographer - spatial planning and development.  He has particularly developed experiences in land – littoral-sea interfaces. He has worked for more than 35 years in the dynamics of sustainable development and has been involved for more than 15 years in the multiple dimensions of climate change: high-level dialogue, support for international negotiations, vulnerabilities analysis, mitigation and adaptation measures, climate finance.

Pietro D'Elia,

Pietro D'Elia is the assistant coordinator of the National Hub of France.

Pietro is a veterinarian with a specialization in aquaculture and the safety of fish products. He has ten years of experience in managing European projects in the sanitary and phytosanitary fields. Between 2010 and 2014, he managed a project funded by the European Commission DG SANTE on the pathologies of aquaculture animals, organizing trainings and study visits in England, Spain and Italy. As part of a contract with the EC DG TRADE, he regularly organizes study visits of delegations from third countries in the EU to present the organization of official controls on animal production and products of animal origin.

Maureen Bourhis

Maureen Bourhis is the expert of the National Hub of France

Maureen has been working for 10 years in the communication and organization of events / workshops in France and abroad, particularly in the context of European projects. She is in charge of the Twitter account of the platform France.

Contact the National Hub of France:

National Hub Ireland

Elizabeth O’Reilly

Dr. Anne Marie O’Hagan

Dr. Anne Marie O’Hagan is the coordinator of the National Hub of Ireland.

Anne Marie has over 15 years of experience in coastal and marine research and is currently a Senior Research Fellow in the MaREI Centre, University College Cork (Ireland). Anne Marie qualified in environmental science before undertaking a Ph.D. on the legal framework for coastal management in Ireland. She subsequently completed a degree in law whilst working full-time on UN Law of the Sea projects in the National University of Ireland, Galway. In 2009, Anne Marie took up a position under the prestigious Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)-funded, Charles Parsons Energy Research Award, a government initiative designed to build capacity in key research areas in University College Cork. Her work then focused on legal aspects of ocean energy, planning and management systems for deployment of offshore energy devices and environmental effects of ocean energy. Since 2014, Anne Marie has been involved in a number of multidisciplinary projects including those focused on aquaculture, maritime spatial planning, environmental assessment and risk-based consenting for offshore energy.

Joanne Laffey

Dr. Martin Le Tissier

Dr. Martin Le Tissier is the expert of the National Hub of Ireland.

Dr. Le Tissier’s interests focus on interdisciplinary and integrated responses to the challenges of coastal management and climate change adaptation, he has a particular interest in producing education and outreach materials to support his work.  Dr. Le Tissier has 25 years’ consultancy, research and field experience in coastal management, marine spatial planning, adaptation to climate change, training and capacity-building and coral reef systems (including assessment and monitoring of natural and anthropogenic disturbances, reef restoration). His work has a strong focus on education and professional training with institutional development. He has practical experience to develop capacity building and institutional strategic responses to adaptation to climate change, coastal development and management, as well as developing and implementing participatory approaches to developing coastal resources and livelihoods. Martin is author of over 50 peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters/ editor and consultancy reports.

Contact the National Hub of Ireland:

National Unit Portugal

Dr. Maria Fátima Lopes Alves

Dr. Maria Fátima Lopes Alves is the coordinator of the National Hub of Portugal.

Maria Fátima holds a PhD in Sciences Applied to the Environment (University of Aveiro; Portugal). She is professor in the Department of Environment and Planning in the University of Aveiro and researcher at the Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM). Leader of the COPING TEAM (Coastal and Ocean Planning and Governance Team) at University of Aveiro/CESAM. With more than 25 years of professional experience, her main fields of expertise are Integrated Coastal and Marine Planning and Management, Maritime policy, Spatial Planning of Protected Areas, Blue economy, Strategic Planning, AIA/ SEA. She is participating/has participated in several national and international research projects, including with the EU, involving networking and cooperation on ICZM, MSP and Environment and Socioeconomic Assessment.  She has also vast experience in the coordination of multidisciplinary teams, for example as a member of the coordination team of the Portuguese Maritime Spatial Planning and Coastal Zone Management Plans in the Portuguese mainland and of Azores islands.

Dr. Cristina Pita

Dr. Cristina Pita is the expert of the National Hub of Portugal.

Cristina holds a PhD in Social and Environmental Sustainability and is an assistant researcher at the Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM), University of Aveiro (Portugal).  Cristina is co-leader of the CESAM thematic line Marine Ecosystems & Resources, and the Coastal and Ocean Planning and Governance team.  Cristina has a thorough and proven knowledge on sustainable use of marine resources, fisheries management and socioeconomics, coastal governance, coastal community development, marine protected areas, recreational fisheries, and coastal ecotourism. Her expertise relates to socio-economic and cultural research.  She also has deep experience in Maritime Policy and Blue Economy work at the European level, including on EU programmes requiring networking and cooperation.

Dr. Márcia Marques

Dr. Márcia Marques is a team member for the National Hub of Portugal.

Márcia Marques hold an MSc in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation and is a researcher at the Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM), University of Aveiro (Portugal), within the Coastal and Ocean Planning and Governance team.  Márcia has proven knowledge on ocean governance, marine protected areas, area based management tools and marine spatial planning. She also has deep experience in the facilitation of networking and cooperation in the context of EU programmes, as well as experience in the organisation of workshops, scientific events, and working groups.

Contact the National Hub of Portugal:

National Unit Spain

Federico Cardona-Pons

Daniel Rey

Daniel Rey is the coordinator of the National Hub Spain

Daniel graduated as a geologist at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in 1985 and obtained a PhD at The University of Birmingham in (UK) in 1992. He coordinates the Marine and Environmental Geology research group, where he started the Paleomagnetism Laboratory in 1995 and promoted the Environmental Magnetism studies in Spain and the systematic use of high resolution scanners in marine sediments to develop not-nutrient-based paleoclimate proxies. He is involved in pre- and postgraduate teaching, University management and I+D research activities.  He is a Full Professor at the University of Vigo since 2008. In 2018 he was appointed Director of the Marine Research Centre of the University of Vigo and Director of the International Campus of Excellence, Campus do Mar.

Christina Quelle

Cristina Quelle is the expert of the National Hub of Spain.

Cristina holds a Degree in Marine Sciences (2004, University of Vigo), a MsC in Coastal and Ports Engineering and a MsC in Sciences and Technologies for Coastal Management (2011 and 2005, University of Cantabria). She has wide experience in marine projects management and organization of events and working groups at regional, national and international scale with the participation of public and private institutions. She has also worked as Researcher at the Marine Pollution Department in the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) and as Project Manager of environmental and coastal engineering studies at a private engineering consultancy, both in Vigo (Spain). Between 2012-2018, she was in charge of the Technology Transfer Area of the International Campus of Excellence, Campus do Mar. Since January 2018, she is the RDI Coordinator of the Marine Research Center of the University of Vigo (CIM, University of Vigo).

Marta Pascual

Uxía Vázquez

Uxía Vázquez is a team member of the National Hub of Spain.

She holds a Degree in Marine Sciences (2001, University of Vigo) and several postgraduate degrees related to environmental management. Between 2003 and 2012, she was involved in the management, execution and dissemination of regional, national and European projects in the field of blue biotechnology, aquaculture and marine environmental protection (Fundación Biodiversidad and Centro Tecnológico del Mar-Fundación CETMAR).  In 2013, she started working at the University of Vigo for the implementation of a 7FP project. Since 2015 she is working as an Innovation Manager at the university, where she promotes and supports the participation of scientific researchers in European projects funded by different programmes (specially H2020, INTERREG, LIFE and EMFF) in collaboration with public and private actors.

Contact the National Hub of Spain:

National Hub UK

Ben Drakeford

Dr. Benjamin Drakeford

Dr. Benjamin Drakeford is the coordinator of the National Hub of the United Kingdom.

He holds a PhD and an MSc in Marine Resource Economics.  He is currently a Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth. His experience lies in the broad field of marine resource economics and management, including fishing, aquaculture, and offshore energy. He has recently undertaken research projects throughout the EU, Asia and the USA receiving funding from the EU Commission, UK Research Councils, Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) among others. He is also a member of the newly formed Blue Governance Research Group at the University of Portsmouth. The main focus of this Research Group is to develop projects that utilise global expertise in blue economy development.

Ben Drakeford

Pierre Failler

Pierre Failler is the expert of the National Hub of the United Kingdom.

He is a Professor in Economics at the University of Portsmouth. He is and has been the Designer and Co-ordinator of International Research and Development programs (EU-DG Research, EU-DG MARE, FAO, UNEP, etc.) in Fishery, Ocean and Coastal zone policy and governance, International and regional fish trade marine, coastal biodiversity and ecosystem services, climate change, poverty and food security (Africa, Europe, Pacific and Caribbean) (28 project coordination to date and partner in 10 others). He is the author or co-author of about 350 journal articles, book chapters, research reports, consultancy reports, media reports, conference and workshop papers, conference proceedings, etc. (see recent publication list below) and the organiser of a series of conferences on fisheries (trade, IUU and MCS, etc.) and ocean and coastal zone management. He is also scientific evaluator for many research councils in Europe, North and South America.

Contact the National Hub of UK: