• 31 Aug, 2021
Take shelter! New boat shelter and environmental protec...

The Kraimorie district in Burgas, Bulgaria, is a community of only 851 souls, known for its long tradition in fishing and fish farming. At the same time, Kraimorie also projects some wider global trends. Worldwide, like in Kraimorie, small coastal communities are struggling to preserve their identity through upholding and developing their centuries’ old livelihoods and tradecraft. Meanwhile, climate change is also making its mark in Kraimorie, as the coastline on which it depends, is suffering from landslip and erosions, caused by progressively more severe storms and flooding. In recent years, thanks to support from the European Union, both these existential issues have been addressed.

At the heart of the solution is a covered boat shelter, constructed with supported from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The shelter is the first of its kind in Bulgaria and has been built in a pioneering way. The immediate purpose of the shelter is to improve the safety and working conditions for the local small-scale coastal fishing operations, but it has been constructed in such a way as to protect the coastline from erosion.

The shelter has capacity for 54 boats: 10 berths for vessels of 9–12 m, 16 berths for vessels of 6–9 m, and 28 berths for vessels up to 6 m. It includes northern and southern enclosed malls and an area with service facilities and a checkpoint. Research was conducted to identify the best location. Ideally situated between the fishing communities of Kraimorie, Chengene Skele and Pobed, allows for serving the largest possible number of users (between 50-60 fishers are using it at the moment).

The EU-funded facility helps to preserve local fishing traditions and will allow further growth of artisanal fishing. The municipality of Burgas also hopes that the structural improvement will make the area more attractive for maritime tourism and stimulate economic growth. Five new jobs were created for maintenance and guarding of the structure, alone.

But the purpose of the shelter was not only economic: the facility, apart from providing coastal protection from marine erosion and landslips, was built without changing the natural depth of the water (between one and three meters), so as to avoid the damage that dredging could cause to marine creatures and plants living on the sea bed.

The successful shelter project is in line with the objectives of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region: Creating prosperity and supporting fishing communities in the coastal regions by creating new jobs and improving working and safety conditions for the fishers; and environmental protection, restoration and maintenance of water quality and risk management of climate change.

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  • 31 Aug, 2021
Sustainable sea planning for the future: EU supports ma...

If you look at the sea, it appears to be an expanse without borders or limits, where everybody could roam boundlessly. But then, if you think about all the activities taking place there (fishing, transport, fish farming, tourism etc.), you realise that they each occupy a bit of that expanse, and that there are plenty of activities taking place at the same time, with the risk of some disrupting the others. For those activities to coexist there is a process, called maritime spatial planning (MSP), which analyses and plans the distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic and social objectives. Its goal is to develop spatial plans, which define the effective use of marine areas for different maritime activities and sustainable use of marine and coastal resources. At the same time, MSP creates a framework for coordinated, transparent and sustainable decision making on the basis of reliable data and cooperation across borders.

Now, focus on the Black Sea. That sea is the EU’s eastern gate, a junction between Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East, an important transport and energy hub, a crossroad of different cultures, a region with significant political, social and economic fragmentation. The Black Sea is among the most endangered ones in Europe, with a “closed” and unique ecosystem under threat by the continental pressures and conflicting coastal and maritime activities.

While there have been some international, European, regional and local initiatives, since the beginning of the 1990s  (including the Convention on the protection of the Black Sea against pollution in 1992, the World Bank and Global Environment Facility (GEF)/United Nations Development Programme Black Sea Integrated Coastal Zone Management Programme in 1994-1997 and the EU recommendations for a common integrated approach through a number of communications and strategies), the region still suffers from lack of synergy and sufficient coordination.

This is where the MARSPLAN-BS II project comes into play. Building on a previous project, which ended in early 2018, MARSPLAN-BS II will last into 2021 to further develop maritime spatial plans and a common cross-border strategy between Romania and Bulgaria for the Mangalia-Shabla area. This area presents a high level of complexity in terms of important maritime ports and shipyards, touristic resorts, biodiversity and wetland protected areas and mineral resources (gas extraction).

The main aim is to support coherent maritime spatial planning (MSP) focusing on social, economic and environmental objectives and establishing a stable framework by Bulgarian and Romanian authorities. The project is analysing the current and future uses and conditions of the cross border area and developing draft MSPs for both countries. The process involves consultation of all relevant stakeholders, authorities and the wider public, involving also non-EU countries in the Black Sea (eg. Ukraine, Turkey and Georgia). The resulting plan will be approved, implemented and monitored.

EU support has significantly facilitated the creation of a MSP. This helps protecting the environment of the Bulgarian/Romanian cross-border area of the Black Sea, as well as ensuring a sustainable use of the sea, in turn boosting the sustainable growth of marine and coastal economies.

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  • 25 Aug, 2021

On behalf of the World Bank, the Joint Venture lead by Ambiente spa has launched an open consultation via online survey on the state of pollution in the Black Sea in the context of the Blueing The Black Sea Programme’ A Regional Initiative To Tackle Marine Pollution In The Black Sea.

The consultation will collect feedback and inputs from a broad set of stakeholders in Black Sea littoral states and Republic of Moldova, concerning the current state of pollution, national policies, action to be taken for pollution prevention, pollution hotspots, in order to have a bigger picture of local needs and priorities.

In particular, the stakeholders interested in the consultation are:

  • National and local decision makers
  • NGOs and civil society organizations
  • Environmental experts and academia
  • Legal and policy experts
  • Business and enterprises

Stakeholders are encouraged to participate in this consultation by filling the questionnaire at the following link and spread the word to other environmental experts and stakeholders.


The questionnaire is free, user-friendly and can be answered immediately; any response will be valuable to support the World Bank in identifying appropriate national and regional strategies, to which the Bank's future investment projects will be linked.

Consultation workshop with key decision makers in four Black Sea littoral states including the Republic of Moldova have already been conducted in the context of the study, to present preliminary results of the National Background Pollution Papers and collect essential feedback for the finalization of the works carried out by the World Bank analytical teams.

The World Bank aims to establish an up-to-date diagnostic of the state of play and issues at stake regarding marine pollution in the Black Sea. The findings will be included into four countries (Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Turkey) and one regional pollution diagnostic paper.

For further information: bbsea@ambientesc.it

The BBSEA Regional Initiative is aimed at “Tackling Marine Pollution in the Black Sea” and is funded by the GlobalEnvironmentFacility (GEF) and supported by the WorldBank.

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  • 24 Aug, 2021
Euronews OCEAN Season 3 Episode 8 - Blue opportunities ...

This episode of OCEAN takes us to the Black Sea Search for available translations of the preceding link in the EU’s southeastern corner, where an invasive snail has generated a multi-million euro business, but also guided riparian countries towards unprecedented scientific cooperation to ensure sustainability of stock. In Bulgaria, we join rapa whelk fishers as they catch this invasive species by diving and trawling, and meet scientists studying rapa stocks within the groundbreaking EU research project BlackSea4Fish. The story will continue in Romania, where the EU-supported Aquaculture Demonstration Centre in Constanta helps local investors start sustainable sea farming businesses. We’ll visit the demonstration center to meet a local fisherman that decided to diversify his income by investing into the first operational mussel farm in Romania. Finally, OCEAN visits a one-of-a-kind mussel farm and restaurant in Bulgaria, which benefited from EU support to develop blue farming on the Black Sea.

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  • 23 Jun, 2021
European Research and Innovation Days

This year's European Research and Innovation Days Draft Programme is out! Choose your favorite sessions and join us virtually on 23 and 24 June.

Scroll through the Draft Programme to discover over 60 live sessions, ranging from high-level plenaries to immersive panel discussions and workshops. Session topics include Horizon Europe, the new European Research and Innovation Programme, our recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic, the European Research Area, European Innovation Ecosystems and much more.

Create your own programme and join your favorite sessions to discuss about research and innovation with other participants from across Europe and beyond. Attend some of the specialised workshops to discuss, interact, build new networks and work together to find solutions for our global challenges.

Do you have questions? Check the Q&A area on the EU Research and Innovation Days website, where you can find answers to the questions you may have about the upcoming event.

Stay tuned for updates on the start of registration and other exciting news by following us on Twitter via @EUScienceInnov and #RiDaysEU

The European Research and Innovation Days Organization Team

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  • 18 Jun, 2021
Black Sea CONNECT Innovation workshop

The Romanian National Institute of Marine Geology and Geoecology - GeoEcoMar - developed a Questionnaire to collect information about the players that are active in the Black Sea in Blue Growth, Blue Economy, with a potential to innovation for an upcoming Innovation Workshop of Black Sea CONNECT.

Feel free to take the survey and do not hesitate to share among your networks!

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  • 10 Jun, 2021
Make Europe Blue campaign

Dear Ocean lover,

The ocean needs action!
No matter where you live, what you do or the scale of your pledge, we can all act together for a healthy ocean in Europe and beyond.

This is why the European Commission and the #EU4Ocean Coalition have just launched the Make Europe Blue campaign!  

The Make Europe Blue campaign calls on each of us: citizens, businesses, organisations, authorities, celebrities, etc. to commit to an action that can benefit the ocean. 
Every action – even the smallest one - brings change to our ocean.


Unleash your imagination, get creative and together – across borders, age groups, and cultures - we can take care of our shared ocean. We can make a difference, one pledge at a time.

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  • 02 Jun, 2021
DIGICIRC - Blue Economy open call

Who are we looking for?

DigiCirc is looking for European SMEs/Start-ups that can use digital tools and apply cutting-edge solutions in the circular economy by addressing specific challenges in the domain of Blue Economy.


How does it work?

With the second open call, DigiCirc will select a minimum of 15 consortia, composed of at least 2 SMEs/Startups, that will develop innovative solutions focused on digital technologies by addressing the Blue Economy challenges presented below. SMEs will be given the opportunity to use the DigiCirc Matchmaking Platform to look for other SMEs in case they need a partner to build a consortium.

The selected consortia will get a direct funding of up to €20.000 and the opportunity to integrate a highly intensive and innovative 12 weeks-long innovation support programme, divided in two phases, where they will be able to develop their business plans and adapt their solutions for the targeted area (Phase 1); and demonstrate their solutions in relevant environment as well as shape their commercial strategy (Phase 2).

At the end of the accelerator programme, the 5 best ranked consortia will be selected to receive further funding of €100.000. They will have up to 6 months to develop their prototype and make tests in an operational environment in view of a commercial launch.


What’s in it for SMEs?

● Up to €60k equity free funding per SME/StartUp
● Access to 4 Digital Tools
● One-on-One Business Coaching support
Thematic Mentoring support provided by industry experts


What are the minimum requirements to apply?

● Being a consortium of at least 2 SMEs or Startups (visit the Matchmaking Platform)
● Being based in one of the EU Members States or an H2020 Associated Country
● Addressing one of the Blue Economy challenges (see below)


What is the duration of the programme?

DigiCirc Blue Economy Accelerator Programme (Phase 1 & 2) will run from December 2021 to March 2022.
Demoday will be held in March 2022. The 5 consortia selected at the Demoday will then have up to 6 months, from April to September 2022, to deliver final outputs.


Applicants must submit their proposals for one of the following challenges:

#1 Challenge: Develop solutions, products and services based on digital technologies to increase sustainability, circularity and competitiveness in the aquaculture and fisheries sectors by facing specific needs and challenges of these sectors.

#2 Challenge: Create solutions, products, services and apps to empower circularity and sustainability for coastal tourism using digitalization and digital technologies by facing specific needs or by making citizens and tourists conscious about their impact in the ecosystem to improve their habits.

#3 Challenge: Develop solutions, products, tools and services to increase efficiency, sustainability and circularity in ports activities applying digitalization and digital technologies.

#4 Challenge: Develop solutions based on digital technologies to optimize Ocean Renewable Energies operations, increasing their circularity and sustainability.

#5 Challenge: Create solutions based on digital technologies to address sustainability challenges in Maritime Transport in matters of fuel consumption and pollution, route simulation, among others.

#6 Challenge: Solutions, products and services based on digital technologies to make shipbuilding and repair more sustainable and circular.

#7 Challenge: Solutions, products and services based on digital technologies and related to the circular economy for climate change mitigation and marine ecosystems protection.


Make sure to read carefully the open call documentation kit (includes the programme guidelines) before applying:

Blue Economy Documentation Kit

Word Templates

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  • 27 May, 2021
UNFCCC - Oceans and Coastal Zones - Climate Action Path...

The UN High Level Champions are urging industries to take action to contribute to reversing blue carbon ecosystems loss by 2030 and publicly report on their progress.

To spur this ambition on, the UN High Level Champions this week released a cornerstone document for ocean-climate action that plots a pathway of milestones for ocean stakeholders to abide by in order to deliver a 1.5°C resilient world by 2050.

The Climate Action Pathway for Oceans & Coastal Zones argues that key drivers must include: “wide-ranging political and societal recognition of the vital role the ocean plays in both climate regulation, adaptation and mitigation”; “a sustainable and equitable well-managed ocean”; and “increased public and private investments”.

In addition, the report recommends the urgent implementation of “change levers” that encompass: nature-based solutions; aquatic food production; zero-emission shipping; and ocean renewable energy.

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  • 26 May, 2021
Council Conclusions on a sustainable blue economy

The Council approved today conclusions on a sustainable blue economy, which is based on four pillars: healthy oceans, knowledge, prosperity and social equity. The conclusions underline the need for an efficient ocean governance built on a sustainable blue economy.

The Council highlights the sustainable use of oceans and seas, which plays an important role in the European Green Deal agenda. Member States support sound governance based on knowledge, awareness and insight of oceans and seas, as well as fair and equitable socioeconomic conditions, in line with the EU’s Strategic Agenda. In this context, Next Generation EU and the new Multiannual Financial Framework, including the Recovery and Resilience Facility, already take into account the further need to develop blue economy sectors.

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  • 20 May, 2021
2021 EU Blue Economy report

The European Commission has published the fourth edition of “The EU Blue Economy Report”, providing an overview of the performance of the EU-27 economic sectors related to oceans and the coastal environment. 

In its fourth edition, the yearly EU Blue Economy Report continues to analyse the scope and size of the Blue Economy in the European Union. It aims at providing support to policymakers and stakeholders in the quest for a sustainable development of the oceans, coastal resources and, most notably, to the development and implementation of polices and initiatives under the European Green Deal and in particular with the insight of the Sustainable Blue Economy communication. Through its economic evidence, the Report takes stock of the Blue Economy, using the latest avail-able data acting hence as a supporting tool for evidenced-based policy making. It also serves as a source of inspiration to all con-cerned stakeholders.

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