Marine Litter impacts on biodiversity report released

This article was published by Biodiversity Protection Community on the 30 January 2020. It is available here.

More than 100 species in all common ecological groups have been identified in scientific literature as impacted by marine litter, and the numbers will go up in the Mediterranean region and globally with increasing scientific research initiatives.

The “Mediterranean biodiversity and marine litter: an interaction knowledge base” report is a study published by ETC-UMA and MedCities in collaboration with the network of renowned institutions active in the Mediterranean Biodiversity protection community.

This report builds on a meta-analysis over the MedBioLitter database developed and maintained by ETC-UMA. You can see here a highlight of main findings in the report. Furthermore, the third update to the MedBioLitter database is now online.

What’s in a Catalogue of Tools for biodiversity protection?

This article was published by Biodiversity Protection Community in October 2019.

Now available in several languages

In the framework of the Project PANACeA, the Mediterranean Biodiversity Protection Community built the present Catalogue of tools for biodiversity protection in marine protected areas, covering different needs and requirements for using ecosystem-based approaches in managing and protecting biodiversity.

This Catalogue targets marine protected area managers and includes a handful of the tools for ecosystem-based management in the Mediterranean developed by the Biodiversity Protection Community projects up to 2019. The report is available in EN, AR and FR.

Portuguese stakeholders contribute to feed in the cooperation process in the western Mediterranean

Fórum Oceano, the Portuguese National Hub, promoted the WestMED Initiative National Event, on the 27 February, in Lisbon. The event, entitled “Journey for Interregional Cooperation between Atlantic and the Western Mediterranean”, counted on with the collaboration of DGPM and the Atlantic National Hub, gathering more than 35 Portuguese stakeholders.

The Journey aimed at promoting the presentation of Atlantic and Mediterranean Initiatives’ s programmes and ongoing projects and exploring potential synergies. The event comprised a plenary session and a set of parallel workshops organised according to the thematic areas: Green Shipping, Tourism, Aquaculture and Innovation Platform.

The parallel workshops had the objective of identifying the interests of the regional stakeholders with regards to themes, projects and partnerships that foster the cooperation process in the Western Mediterranean. The event was also of relevance to align perspectives and strategies between the Portuguese representatives.

Besides debating on the project proposals of each priority area, the Portuguese stakeholders identified news ideas, contributing to feeding in the discussion on themes that can be developed under WestMED Initiative.

KICs tackling water scarcity in Southern Europe: A call for experts will be launched soon

In 2020 the KICs will be establishing a group of experts on water scarcity in Southern Europe, delivering focused entrepreneur challenge labs for start-ups and organising the EIT Water Academy for water scarcity challenge education. The KICs will also be running EIT workshops with public bodies and other stakeholders across different regions and communication activities to reach out to citizens and interested stakeholders, engaging in external events and with the media to raise awareness about water scarcity for citizens.

More info here


The Plastic Busters MPAs project: consolidating the fight against marine litter in coastal and pelagic Mediterranean MPAs

This article was published first here by MEDPAN on the 19 February.



Author: Ignasi Mateo, SCP/RAC

Are you concerned with marine litter pollution in your MPA? Plastic Busters MPAs is here to support you!

Plastic Busters MPAs[  is a 48-month-long project funded by Interreg Mediterranean aiming to support and work with MPA managers to maintain biodiversity and preserve natural ecosystems in the Mediterranean region. How?  By implementing actions that address the whole management cycle of marine litter, from monitoring and assessment to prevention and mitigation.

Plastic Busters MPAs brings together 15 implementing partners and 17 associated partners from 8 countries, namely Albania, Cyprus, Croatia, France, Italy, Greece, Slovenia and Spain. The management bodies of the Pelagos Sanctuary, the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, the National Marine Park of Zakynthos and the Cabrera Archipelago National Maritime-Terrestrial Park, are among the key partners of the project.

Plastic Busters MPAs kicked-off in 2018 with a studying phase that focused on elaborating and harmonizing marine litter methods and on shortlisting best practice marine litter measures. The monitoring methods were applied successfully applied during the project’s testing expeditions carried out at the MPAs of Cabrera, Pelagos Sanctuary, Tuscan Archipelago and Zakynthos in 2019.

Meanwhile the project kick-started the preparatory phase for solution-related actions against marine litter. Working for and from the perspective of an MPA manager, Plastic Busters MPAs shortlisted a set of 10 ‘no- regret’ measures’ to be piloted in the 4 partner MPAs of the project as well as in 6 selected partner MPAs of the ACT4LITTER project. The selected measures include best practices for tourism and recreation; solid waste management practices; replacement of single-use plastics; banning specific items and activities; awareness raising campaigns; port reception facilities; upcycling and/or recycling; extended producer responsibility schemes; fishing for litter and derelict fishing gear management schemes.

The outcomes and lessons learned of the project will serve as a basis for up-scaling and replicating the project’s marine litter activities in other Mediterranean MPAs. Please keep an eye on the Plastic Busters MPAs calendar for our upcoming trainings and capitalization events and follow us on Facebook or Twitter for all the latest project updates. Feel free to register on our newsletter too![

The Algeria National Hub joins the WestMED stand at Euromaritime

On 5 February 2020, the Algeria National Hub of the WestMED Initiative has participated to the side event organized by the French National Hub at the Euromaritime 2020 in Marseille in collaboration with “les Énergies de la Mer”. This event was dedicated to the presentation of activities of different stakeholders at the national level (France, Italy and Algeria) and also regional players such as Plan Bleu. The Algeria National Hub has presented through “Blue economy, MSP challenges and strategy for Algeria” how the international projects and programmes such as WestMed Initiative can accelerate the Blue Economy process by identifying and boosting relevant partnerships.

Les membres du mécanisme d’assistance – Crédit EDM © Elise Martinez

This event was a relevant opportunity for the Algeria National Hub to exchange with the other partners and new opportunity of collaboration have been identified, in particular:

1) Through the France National Hub with training (UBO HOMERe project labelled by the UfM, and employment support (La Touline). These two partners may support the national process of developing blue skills in Algeria and also be part in next submissions on project dedicated to capacity building on Blue economy.

2) Through the Italy National Hub on Clean maritime transport (CIELI – University of Genoa) with the Interreg project France-Italy TDI RETE-LNG. This could be an example and basis for further discussions in Algeria about Small LNG.

Portugal National Hub gets regional stakeholders onboard

Fórum Oceano, the Portuguese National Hub, organised, in collaboration with the Regional Coordination and Development Commissions of Alentejo and Algarve, a series of meetings to bring together the regional stakeholders.

These sessions happened on the 11th of February in Évora (Alentejo) during the morning, and in Faro (Algarve) during the afternoon, counting on with the presence of more than 20 representatives from companies, research centres, educational institutions, associations and public administration.

The objective was to raise awareness on the WestMED’ s progress and implementation, to discuss ongoing proposals and new project ideas, to hear the stakeholders’ expectations, to invite other stakeholders to be part of the Initiative and to identify partnership opportunities.

The meetings were of relevance to set the basis of the National Event, that will take place on the 27th of February, in Lisbon (IPMA Headquarters). The event, promoted in collaboration with DGPM, National Authority, aims to endeavour the discussion and the knowledge exchange to improve the Portuguese participation on the WestMED Initiative, particularly, on the WestMED Hackathons, in Barcelona.

L’initiative OuestMED se déplace à Euromaritime 2020

L’équipe du hub national France a organisé un événement national le 05 février lors du salon Euromaritime à Marseille, en collaboration avec les Énergies de la Mer.

Outre l’événement national, le hub national a assuré une présence du 04 au 06 février  sur le  salon avec un stand dédié. Cela fut l’occasion d’échanger sur l’initiative et le rôle du mécanisme d’assistance dont le réseau des hubs nationaux avec de nombreux visiteurs du salon, dont M. Robin, Secrétaire général de la Mer, le vice-amiral d’escadre Isnard, préfet maritime de la Méditerranée, M. Vittel, vice-président de la région Sud lors de l’ouverture du salon.

Visite des autorités nationales et régionales du stand lors de l’ouverture – Crédit EDM©Elise Martinez

Cet événement national a permis

  • Au hub national de présenter
    1. son action et l’offre de soutien via le mécanisme d’assistance notamment dans l’identification, le montage de projets issus des  évènements organisés  par le mécanisme en tirant profit des opportunités de financement notamment européennes.
    2. Les nouvelles opportunités de financement ouvertes en 2020 pouvant soutenir l’initiative
  • A un panel de différentes institutions et de porteurs de projet, leur action en matière de coopération sur les thématiques de l’économie bleue que ce soit sur la planification des espaces maritimes (Plan Bleu), les aires marines protégées (WWF France), financement de l’innovation (Projets H2020 Neptune et Galatea),  la formation (UBO projet HOMERe labellisé par l’UpM, l’accompagnement à l’emploi (La Touline) ou le transport maritime propre (CIELI – Université de Gênes) avec le projet Interreg France Italie TDI RETE-GNL.

Cet événement fut également l’occasion avec la participation interactive des hubs italien (Léonardo Manzari) et algérien (Samir Grimes) du mécanisme d’assistance de souligner la coopération entre les Etats engagés de l’initiative OuestMED afin de répondre à ses enjeux et priorités avec des réponses régionales ou nationales.

Les membres du mécanisme d’assistance – Crédit EDM © Elise Martinez

Ci après les liens pour accéder aux différentes présentations

First Annual Assembly of the Blue Growth Community

This article was first published on Interreg Blue Growth website.

The Blue Growth Community organized its First Annual Assembly with a significant participation of the new associated projects and many interested regions in Blue Economy

The last 4th and 5th February 2020, the Blue Growth Community, represented by the core members of the MED Blue Growth projects, the Blue Growth associated partners, as well as other relevant stakeholders, gathered in Montpellier (France).

The new horizontal Blue Growth project (2019-2022), which succeeded the 1st phase horizontal project InnoBlueGrowth (2017-2019), organized its first annual assembly in Montpellier, in order for the Blue Growth Community to meet with its new members and at the same time, to go further in the cooperation with the Blue Growth projects and strengthen the links with political and institutional key stakeholders, such as the Mediterranean Regions.

The Blue Growth project proposes concrete activities to enhance the capitalization nature of this second phase of MED projects, with the aim to deepen the dissemination and transferability of modular projects results dealing with Blue Growth issues including maritime surveillance, yachting, renewable energies, aquaculture, fisheries, maritime and coastal tourism, among others. The project intends to achieve two key goals: first, to have a better transfer of modular projects technical results into policy making and second, to benefit the development of the Blue Economy and entrepreneurship, mainly for SMEs.

Following this line, the 1st Annual Assembly of the Blue Growth Community was also the occasion for sharing specialized knowledge on Blue Economy issues, exchanging reflections and good practices to address common challenges and keep working together for the implementation of a sustainable Blue Economy in the Mediterranean.

This ‘two days’ event gathered a significant representation not only of the Blue Growth partners and associated partners but also of the MED Blue Growth projects and some regions from different Mediterranean countries (Albania, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Portugal and Spain).

During the 1st day, attending participants and Community members participated very actively in the discussions that followed the 5 specialized panels on sustainability, synergies and cooperation, harmonization and strengthening of the use of coastal and maritime planning, funds and financial instruments and education and awareness raising in the Blue Economy. All debates and discussions tried to give answers and reflect on the seven key policy recommendations included in the “Policy Paper” that resulted from the 3 years’ work of the former InnoBlueGrowth project.

Some of the most interesting answers and reflections coming from these different panels are the following:

  • First, the consciousness among different MED regions of the need of a long-term strategy for a sustainable Blue Economy as an important policy measure for regional development (e.g. the Bio Economy approach of Friuli Venezia Giulia Region in Italy; the preparation of a strategy for sustainable tourism in Albania; the development of a coastline strategy in Occitanie Region through different littoral plans in France).
  • Second, the good practices presented by some Clusters revealed good initiatives at the time of sum up synergies with their partners (e.g. the Online seminars and Blue Awards of the Maritime Cluster of Andalusia; the push for innovation of the Italian National Tech Cluster; the 1st accelerator for diversity in Blue Economy of the Cluster of the Maritime Balearic Islands), but there is still plenty of room for cooperation among MED Clusters.
  • Third, the need for a stronger harmonization of legislation, rules and procedures and above all, the urgent need of knowledge and data sharing among MED regions for a better maritime and coastal planning. In this sense, the MED OSMoSIS Strategic project pointed out the challenge for more interoperability among regions.
  • Fourth, the participatory approach implemented by MAESTRALE project -with the active participation of students who became “Ambassadors” of the project in all towns visited and the usage of “comics” to explain the project for younger audiences- revealed to be a very successful good practice for raising awareness about the Blue Economy among people.

The themes tackled by the speakers captured the interest of all Community members and participating stakeholders. The lively debates deepened the participants’ feeling of being part of the Blue Growth Community.

Precisely, this feeling of Community increased during the second day with the presentation of the Advisory Board. It was the occasion, in the first place, for introducing the Blue Growth Community to the new MED Blue Growth projects and attending regions, as well as for putting into practice an interactive and participatory exercise with all participants where the role and goals of the new Advisory Board were discussed. This exercise will continue through the Advisory Board’s “working groups” that will draw the methodology for the mainstreaming of Blue Growth projects’ results in the Mediterranean region.

The Blue Growth Project counts with a 1,470.588 € funding (of which €1,2M of EU co-funding) in the framework of the transnational cooperation programme Interreg Med.


The original article is available at

More information on the Blue Growth Community at


Portugal National Hub plans meetings with regional stakeholders

Fórum Oceano, the Portuguese National Hub, is organising, in collaboration with the Regional Coordination and Development Commissions of Lisbon, Alentejo and Algarve, a series of meetings to bring together the regional stakeholders.

These sessions will happen during February and aim to raise awareness on the WestMED’ s progress and implementation, to discuss ongoing proposals and new project ideas, to hear the stakeholders’ expectations, to invite other stakeholders to be part of the Initiative and to identify partnership opportunities.

The meetings will of relevance to set the basis of the National Event, that will take place on the 27th of February, in Lisbon (IPMA Headquarters). The event, promoted in collaboration with DGPM, National Authority, aims to endeavour the discussion and the knowledge exchange to improve the Portuguese participation on the WestMED Initiative.

Both Roadshows and National Event are important initiatives to organise the participation of Portuguese representatives in the WestMED Hackathons and the “2020 UfM Regional Stakeholder Conference”.