News Digest n.4 / 2022
Thanks to the EU’s Interreg PEPSEA (Protecting the Enclosed Parts of the Sea in Adriatic from pollution) project, Italy and Croatia are working closely together to protect the marine ecosystems in the Adriatic Sea. The project's main goal is to develop solutions for pollution events in this area through emergency interventions and recovery measures to prevent natural and man-made disasters and to reduce the impact when these occur. Within this project, 5 pilot sites have been identified: Sali Bay, port of Sibenik and port of Split on the Croatian side; Caleri lagoon, Canarin lagoon and Po delta on the Italian side. The activities on these pilot sites resulted in the installation of specific technologies (sensors, camera, drones and geo-information systems) aimed at pollution detection and early warning system, closure, cleaning and safe disposal of pollutants, contextual remediation and sea quality monitoring. The main results of the project were collected in a project publication available here.
The European Commission has published a report on the implementation of the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive, which sets the obligation for the 22 coastal Member States to establish maritime spatial plans by 31 March 2021. The report recalls the objectives of the Directive and describes the support that the Commission has provided to MS in implementing the latter, through the European Maritime Spatial Planning Platform, a dedicated Member States’ expert group, and support to cross-border cooperation on MSP in all European sea basins through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and other EU funds.
In May 2022, the Commission adopted a renewed Strategy for the EU’s outermost regions, aiming to unlock their potential through appropriate investment and reforms. The Strategy aims at supporting the green and digital transitions and building on these regions’ unique assets, such as young population in many regions, extensive maritime zones, unique biodiversity and research potential. The Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People, Valdis Dombrovskis, stated the outermost regions are “very important for the EU, with their young populations, unique biodiversity and rich renewable energy sources”, underlining that the Strategy will “create new opportunities with dedicated funding and tailored support for each of these valuable EU regions to help them build on their unique assets”.
On 2 May 2022, the Commission adopted a Partnership Agreement with Austria, laying down the country’s €1.3 billion cohesion policy investment strategy for 2021-2027. The funds will support Austria in promoting economic, social and territorial cohesion, with a focus on key EU priorities such as the green and digital transition. Among these funds, the EMFAF (European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund) aims to enhance sustainability via innovative and modern aquaculture installations and innovative and resource-efficient aquaculture businesses.
Norway and the EU reached a political understanding in relation to the fisheries in the Northeast Arctic, in ICES subareas 1 and 2. The area concerned includes the waters around the archipelago of Svalbard and the international waters of the Barents Sea. The understanding ensures sustainable fishing in the Northeast Arctic, while also providing certainty for EU fleets fishing in that area.
Despite fishers’ best intentions, fishing can negatively affect the marine environment. One of the greatest threats to seabirds is that they accidentally get caught in fishing nets. This episode of DG MARE and Euronews magazine’s series OCEAN shows how Portuguese fishers and researchers are looking for ways to modernise the sector to prevent accidental bycatch of marine birds through the EU-funded MedAves Pesca and NETTAG projects.
The GFCM published a study on the aquaculture market in the Black Sea with the support of the European Union. The report outlines how the Black Sea region has seen over recent years a boom in aquaculture and the trade of seafood, and how military aggression may hamper this growth in Ukraine and threatens to disrupt seafood trade and supply chains in the region.