At the end of 1970 the Belgian Government, under the influence of the European Economic Community, took the initiative of starting a national "Environment/Water" research programme, of which "Project Sea" was part of.
“Project Sea" was the first major programme in marine science in Belgium and had a budget of 4,4 MEURO. Its purpose was to "assemble a reliable scientific basis and develop modelling techniques to permit both qualitative and quantitative simulation of the impact of natural phenomena or anthropic effects".
The programme had a very marked interdisciplinary character. Physicists, chemists, biologists, and geologists all cooperated in a study of the marine ecosystem. From 1971 to 1976, about 200 researchers from 40 different university laboratories and scientific institutes worked together on the programme. For 5 years, samples were collected within a network of 25 marine stations, at a frequency of 4 to 6 campaigns a year. The results were collated in a range of mathematical models developed over the period.
At the end of the programme, in 1976 a unit
was installed to manage the mathematical model of the North
Sea and Scheldt estuary under the aegis of the Ministry of
Public Health and the Environment, (the Management Unit
of the Mathematical Model
of the North Sea – MUMM).
The unit’s mission was to exploit in policy decision making the scientific results achieved by "Project Sea". MUMM is now the sixth department of the Belgian Royal Institute of Natural Sciences - RBINS.