News archive



Sep 28

EU Beach Cleanups


The #EUBeachCleanup campaign started on 11 September in Fiji and will end on 27 October in Singapore, a few days before the Our Ocean 2018 conference in Bali. Curious to find out if an event is organised in your country? Check #EUBeachCleanup on Twitter or Instagram, or send an e-mail to! On the occasion of World Cleanup Day (20 September), some 50 EU delegations and representations teamed up with NGOs, embassies, schools and volunteer networks to organise beach clean activities across the world. By cleaning beaches, riversides and even cities, the EU representations and delegations (its embassies in EU and non-EU countries, respectively) want to send a strong statement.

More about this event

The EC has published a report on the implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessing the measures put in place by EU Member States to achieve 'good environmental status' or GES by 2020. The report shows that EU Member States have made considerable efforts to address pressures on the marine environment, but that the measures are not yet sufficient to achieve good, healthy and productive seas by 2020. The GES concept is defined by measures conserving biodiversity and tackling pressures like overfishing, seabed damage, marine litter and contaminants.

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The Commission is calling for applications for the selection of members of the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF). Deadline for applications is 31 October 2018. The STECF assists the Commission when preparing legislative proposals, delegated acts or policy initiatives in the area of fisheries, aquaculture and related matters. Candidates are sought that work in areas relevant to:

  • marine and fisheries biology in relation to implementation of conservation policies
  • technical knowledge of fishing techniques and gear technology
  • scientific data collection in support of CFP
  • marine ecosystem management
  • evaluation and assessment of (multi-annual) management plans
  • socio-economic analysis of the fisheries sector and product chain
  • aquaculture

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Over 80 participants gathered in Vaasa, Finland to join the SmartSea seminar “Future of the Gulf of Bothnia”, including government and maritime business representatives and researchers. The objective of the SmartSea project is to provide science-based guidance and new innovations for the sustainable use of Finland's marine resources. SmartSea will create new potential for development and growth of the Gulf of Bothnia region by providing high quality data and efficient tools for MSP. The 2-days seminar was a great opportunity to present and discuss some of the SmartSea project results and combine it with relevant efforts that have been made across the Gulf of Bothnia and Baltic Sea regions as well. The event was recorded and streamed online for those who could not attend it. Soon the video material will be also available.

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WWF France, on behalf of the PHAROS4MPAs project, co-signed a charter of ecoresponsibility for maritime transport activity along with la Méridionale (French shipping company), French MPAs (Calanques National Park, Port-Cros National Park and the Natural Marine Park of Cap Corse and Agriate) and the French Agency for Biodiversity (AFB). This charter aims at mitigating the ferrys' impact on the marine wildlife when commuting between Marseille and Corsica - e.g. discards reduction, waste recovery, fuel consumption decrease, staff and passengers training on environmental issues. The PHAROS4MPAs project will use this this initial step towards more sustainable maritime transport activity as a positive case study for the global recommendations (to be issued in Spring 2019) on the necessary practical collaboration between Mediterranean MPAs and 8 maritime sectors, including maritime traffic.  

Read the charter here
More about the PHAROS4MPAs project

Copyright: La Méridionale

The Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission organised a workshop on 11 September 2018 at the premises of the University of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria (Spain). Around 40 participants representing islands from across Europe and Outermost Regions jointly discussed on the basis of expert presentations, panel discussions and two interactive sessions on the topic of ‘Specific challenges for implementing MSP for islands’ and ‘Blue Growth opportunities for islands’.

**A full workshop report in now available here**

More about the Workshop MSP for Islands (including speaker presentations and photos)

Preliminary workshop conclusions

A wide variety of speakers presented their perspectives on MSP from islands of different situations in Europe, including Shetland (Scotland), Malta, Iceland, Åland (Finland) and Greece. Panel and group sessions facilitated interaction between participants and gathered views on the challenges and opportunities in islands, and the role of MSP. Preliminary workshop conclusions include an acknowledgement that islands are highly diverse but united in their remoteness, which influences their economic, social, environmental and governance characteristics, in different ways. Ecologically, island ecosystems can be rich in biodiversity, but they are fragile, and ecosystem-based MSP is critical for balancing ecological integrity, economic development and social interests. It can focus data gathering activities and understanding of local ecological conditions, which is costly, particularly for islands with near shore deep-water areas, such as the Canary Islands and the Azores. Socially, island communities may engage well with MSP given their strong connection with the sea built up over long maritime histories, however, a mental shift is required, from one of ‘exploitation’ to one of ‘stewardship’. There can be limited human capital for MSP delivery locally, along with problems of partisanship, and any development must consider broader social challenges faced related to poverty, health, etc.

MSP for islands governance arrangements

Governance arrangements across islands vary widely, with implications of different levels of autonomy from distant national governments. Delivery of MSP by an island-based authority has many benefits, including better understanding of local issues and established trust with local stakeholders. Island-scale MSP can also be more adaptive, presenting an opportunity to learn from the testing of approaches, such as the alternative to zoning being implemented in Shetland, Scotland. However, an overarching government can develop primary legislation, provide enforcement capacity, finance economic development, etc., noted as critical for the French Overseas Territories. Integrated MSP that is clearly nested in broader governance structures can provide coherence, including opportunity to address differences between island priorities and those of associated national governments.

Islands often host small and specialised domestic economies, which are vulnerable to external market fluctuations and often reliant on external financing. However, attracting private investment is difficult since the scale of development is constrained by local demand, available space for development (offshore and onshore), human capacity for sector development and costs associated with transportation. By providing greater certainty regarding potential development, such as allocating areas for aquaculture, supportive policies and mitigating risk of conflict, MSP can encourage and direct public and private financing e.g. for financing of emergent Blue Growth sectors such as renewable energy and biotechnology.

Importance of MSP for islands

Overall, MSP is essential in implementing Blue Growth through managing conflict, promoting multi-use and balancing the context-specific socio-ecological needs of islands with economic opportunities. Locally developed MSP is particularly relevant in reflecting the ambitions, priorities and challenges of islands, and guiding investment into Blue Economy sector development. The ‘softer’ aspects of MSP were repeatedly highlighted as a valuable contribution, in providing an opportunity for dialogue among stakeholders, developing trust, collaboration and collective understanding of complex challenges. However, MSP is not ‘the solution’ since many challenges are non-spatial, beyond the remit of MSP and therefore integration with other decision-making processes needs to be clear.

While remoteness and insularity are defining features of islands which underpin their vulnerabilities and challenges, their role in ‘connectivity’ underlines their role in transboundary processes, including as ‘stop-overs’ for shipping and migratory species, as well as connecting societies through exchange of goods and people. This emphasises the need for MSP to take a broad and integrated view, and to maintain focus on the importance of islands in the ‘global’ blue economy.

More about the Workshop MSP for Islands (including report, speaker presentations and photos)

The VKC is planning to change its name to better reflect its objective to promote networking and information sharing on blue economy issues around the Mediterranean Sea Basin. Four new names have been proposed:

  • Mediterranean Blue Economy Stakeholder Platform; MedBESC
  • Mediterranean Blue Economy Community; MedBEC
  • Mediterranean Blue Economy Network; MedBEN
  • Mediterranean Blue Economy Hub; MedBEH

You can indicate your favourite until 21 September 2018 using the following link:

The report is a key part of the process of developing Ireland’s first marine spatial plan, which will be the equivalent of the National Planning Framework for the marine area. The report presents a brief introduction to MSP and its benefits, the purpose of the report as well as a list of public events and a chapter on public particiaption, communication and engagement. The new report also makes reference to Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, Ireland's first integrated national marine plan.

In addition, the report also sets MSP in a broader context, relating it to other EU and national policy and legal frameworks, links to terrestrial planning, licensing, climate change as well as BREXIT. The maritime activities that the report addresses include (but are not limited to) aquaculture, cultural heritage, defence, energy (renewable and traditional), fisheries, marine aggregates and one of the chapters is also dedicated to MSP and the marine environment. The report is 'the first formal dialogue and a major step towards the preparation of a marine spatial plan for Ireland. It will inform the next steps in the process, including the development of objectives and policies in the draft plan.'

There are 12 consultation questions in the report intended to spark engagement from a wide range of stakeholders. Written responses and comments can be sent in until 14 December 2018. In parallel, a series of regional public and stakeholder events will be organised in the month of October 2018. More information one these events can be found here.



Sep 11

The Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission assisted by the European MSP Platform have organised a one day workshop which took place on the 11th of September 2018 at the University of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, ES. The workshop provided participants with the opportunity to explore the development of MSP in the context of islands as well the challenges and opportunities that exist for sustainable blue growth. Participants learned about the experience of MSP in islands, including representation from islands of different status within the EU, from island nations such as Malta, to islands with some autonomy from mainland governments, such as Åland, Finland.

The objectives of the workshop included:

  • Identifying common challenges and opportunities in developing and implementing MSP and delivering Blue Growth in island contexts
  • Discussing the socio-economic and specific environmental pressures faced by island communities and the (potential) role of MSP and Blue Growth
  • Highlighting good practices with MSP that could be applied to islands contexts

The workshop targets MSP Authorities, Local Municipalities and Community Groups, Blue Growth Sector representatives and other interested parties. The workshop consisted of presentations from relevant experts, panel discussions and two ineractive workshop sessions.



Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Sep 04

VASAB is an intergovernmental multilateral co-operation of 11 countries of the Baltic Sea Region in spatial planning and development, guided by the Conference of Ministers responsible for spatial planning and development, steered by the Committee on Spatial Planning and Development of the Baltic Sea Region (CSPD/BSR) composed of representatives of respective ministries and regional authorities (Germany, Russia). They have now launched a new website, which is very easy to use and features a dedicated MSP section.

Visit the new website

The purpose of the interim evaluation is to assess performance of and fine-tune the implementation of the direct management component of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) for the current programming period 2014-2020. The online questionnaire takes about 10 minutes to complete and answers can be provided in all EU languages.

Go to survey



22 new sustainable blue projects have been pre-selected for funding by the European Commission under the EMFF, sharing €14.5 million. The grant agreements are currently being prepared for signature. These projects are the results of a selection made under a call for proposal launched to accelerate the deployment of a sustainable blue economy across the EU and the Mediterranean. They will work on the following topics: innovation (de-risking investment in demonstration projects), environment (fighting marine litter and restoring ecosystems), cooperation for a sustainable blue economy and better ocean governance in the Mediterranean sea basin. Demonstration projects are ontopics including innovative aquaculture feed, wave data from buoys, tidal wave turbines and wind turbine blade erosion, among others. Marine litter projects include topics such as litter from aquaculture and prevention of fishing gear. Five projects have also been approved on the topic of Blue Networks in the Mediterranean, and one project has been approved on the topic of restoring marine ecosystems in the Mediterranean.

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