This topic is part of the call : "Regional flagships projects supporting sustainable blue economy in EU sea basins (EMFAF-2023-PIA-FLAGSHIP)" part of the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) Programme.
As a concrete example of ecosystem restoration, this topic aims at reorienting fishers from extraction to ocean regeneration activities. It will support fishers and other interested stakeholders, to assess the interest and feasibility to set up new regenerative ocean farms or restore coastal marine ecosystems, including by testing these approaches, if possible in connection with marine protected areas.
This topic is specifically addressing the EU Member states in the Baltic Sea Region to support the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR), and in particular the actions set under the policy area Bioeconomy.
The proposals are expected to gather all relevant players that may facilitate and support the reorientation process towards regenerative ocean farming. These players include, but are not limited to, fishers, coastal communities, local authorities and policy makers, marine planners, industries and SMEs, innovators, research centres, and NGOs.
In line with the above mentioned Strategic Guidelines for a More Sustainable and Competitive EU Aquaculture, the main themes to be addressed are:
- Knowledge creation and sharing, and promotion of innovative approaches for regenerative ocean farming, including technical, economic, environmental and social aspects linked to the reorientation process;
- Identification of skills and training needs;
- Access to space and water, and in particular in connection with marine protected areas;
- Permitting and authorisation processes for the installation of new regenerative ocean farms;
- Demonstration activities for setting and operating regenerative ocean farming.
The proposals should focus on the job maintenance and job creation for local communities, on reskilling needs and development of future business opportunities that will both create added value while regenerating marine ecosystems.
Cross-border cooperation is considered an essential element to learn from each other, and speed up spreading of new sustainable practices in the blue bio-economy and aquaculture in the Baltic Sea region. It will also help address potential challenges like availability of proper expertise, seeds, pest and diseases control etc.
The selected projects should link up with ongoing EU initiatives and projects funded under EU programmes, e.g. EMFF/EMFAF, LIFE, Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe, INTERREG.
In particular synergies are expected to be created with the EU4Algae Forum, and the projects resulting from the Horizon Europe call for proposals HORIZON-MISS-2022-OCEAN-01-10: Towards local community-driven business models: regenerative ocean farming.
If projects collect in-situ marine observation data, beneficiaries must make them openly available through the European Marine Observation and Data network (EMODnet), based on FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) principles.
Activities that can be funded
Selected projects should carry out to the maximum extent possible the indicative (not exhaustive) activities listed below:
- Collect quantitative and qualitative data, guidelines, good practice on past and ongoing experiences of regenerative ocean farming in the Baltic Sea Region and in other EU countries to provide evidence of their social, economic, and environmental benefits;
- Develop practical guidelines, training and dissemination materials (including videos and IT tools) to support new seaweed and shellfish farmers, and other interested stakeholders, in the reorientation towards setting and operating regenerative ocean farming;
- Demonstrate and test-base innovative methods for regenerative ocean farming, of either local seaweed species or seaweed in combination with shellfish to prove viability of future business cases while generating positive environmental impacts;
- Set-up local/regional networks by engaging with local communities, in particular with fishers (to examine their willingness and experience) and local authorities, to share knowledge and co-create ad-hoc technical solutions and business models to support a fast deployment of regenerative ocean farming;
- Identify enabling and/or preventing legislative frameworks by discussing with local authorities and maritime spatial planners how to facilitate and remove barriers (e.g. licensing of farms, access to space) to the setting up and operation of regenerative ocean farming without affecting other aspects of ecosystems conservation/restoration;
- Assess the potential of expanding marine protected areas by exploring the full regenerative potential of innovative regenerative ocean farming by testing their viability in connection with marine protected areas;
- Raise awareness campaigns and increase social acceptance among local communities by sharing experience and evidence of the likely positive impacts of regenerative ocean farming.
Applicants will describe in their proposal the concrete and measurable results within the duration of the project and their expected impact, including indicators for the monitoring and measurement of progress.
Projects are expected to achieve the following impacts to the maximum extent possible in line with the proposed activities:
- Elaboration of good practice for permitting procedures for local authorities and policy makers, including recommendations for EU legislation;
- Proven technical feasibility of regenerative ocean farming, in particular in connection with marine protected areas;
Measure and quantify economic and environmental benefits of regenerative farming, including:
- market potential and job opportunities;
- the capacity of reversing degradation of ocean ecosystems and restoring their ecological functionality;
- Increased awareness among coastal communities of the opportunities offered by regenerative ocean farming, including social acceptance.
The above list of impacts is non-exhaustive and applicants can include others if appropriate for their proposal.
SWD(2021) 24 final 15.2.2021
In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:
- be legal entities (public or private bodies)
- be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
- EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs);
- non-EU countries that are part of the sea basin strategies and/or regional cooperation frameworks targeted in this call for proposals:
- For Topic 2: Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia and Turkey;
- For Topic 3 and Topic 4: Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Turkey, Albania,
North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Beneficiaries and affiliated entities must register in the Participant Register — before submitting the proposal — and will have to be validated by the Central Validation Service (REA Validation). For the validation, they will be requested to upload documents showing legal status and origin.
Other entities may participate in other consortium roles, such as associated partners, subcontractors, third parties giving in-kind contributions, etc (see section 13).
Exceptional funding — Entities from countries mentioned in the work programme (if any) are only exceptionally eligible, if the granting authority considers their participation essential for the implementation of the action.
Natural persons — Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of selfemployed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).
International organisations — International organisations are eligible. The rules on eligible countries do not apply to them.
Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons.
EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.
Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’.
Please note that if the action will be implemented by the members, they should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible).
EU restrictive measures — Special rules apply for certain entities (e.g. entities subject to EU restrictive measures under Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU)34 and entities covered by Commission Guidelines No 2013/C 205/0535). Such entities are not eligible to participate in any capacity, including as beneficiaries, affiliated entities, associated partners, subcontractors or recipients of financial support to third parties (if any). For more information, see Rules for Legal Entity Validation, LEAR Appointment and Financial Capacity Assessment.
Projects should normally range between 12 and 36 months (extensions are possible, if duly justified and through an amendment).
The available call budget is EUR 7 600 000. This budget might be increased by maximum 20%.
Project budgets (maximum grant amount) are expected to range between EUR 400 000 and EUR 1 000 000 per project, but this does not preclude the submission/selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Hence, project budgets (maximum grant amount) per topic are expected to range between:
- EUR 400 000 and EUR 1 000 000 per project - Topic 1: Diversification of fisheries activities in the Atlantic area
- EUR 400 000 and EUR 600 000 per project - Topic 2: Harnessing preparedness and response to marine pollution in the Black Sea
- EUR 400 000 and EUR 1 000 000 per project - Topic 3: Sustainable transport and ports in the Mediterranean
- EUR 400 000 and EUR 1 000 000 per project - Topic 4: Maritime clusters as an innovative enabler for a Sustainable Blue Economy in the Mediterranean
- EUR 400 000 and EUR 1 000 000 per project - Topic 5: Sustainable maritime and coastal tourism in the Outermost Regions
- EUR 400 000 and EUR 600 000 per project - Topic 6: Regenerative ocean farming in the Baltic Sea Region
For more Information, please consult the funding details on the European Commission portal: Portal