ESONET stands for European Seas Observatory NETwork, networking institutions, persons, tools and know-how on deep-sea observatories. It aims to promote the implementation and the management of a network of long-term multidisciplinary ocean observatories in deep waters around Europe. It wishes to define an organization – with the necessary critical mass – capable of gathering the resources of the participating institutes.

The ultimate goal is to define durable solutions through a joint programme of activities. ESONET is a Network of Excellence supported by the European Commission under the 6th Framework Program. It has a sustained activity through a permanent research infrastructure called EMSO (European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and water column Observatory) and its user group ESONET Vi (the vision). According to the European Commission definition of Network of Excellence, ESONET will overcome research fragmentation in Europe. 

Indeed, unifying European initiatives of observatories implementation in Europe, it involves 14 European countries, more than 50 institutions and SMEs, ~300 scientists, engineers and technicians. An ESONET observatory is a deep sea station linking marine sensors to the shore by acoustic or cable connection in real or near-real time. These observatories enable data acquisition on oceanological and climatological phenomena at relatively high frequency.