Mediterranean Region

The European BLUEMED initiative

IFREMER participated in the work coordinated by the European Commission for formulating a new strategic research and innovation agenda for the Mediterranean Sea. This agenda was approved on 16 October 2015 in Venice by the six Mediterranean Member States.

Concomitantly with the launching of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation, signed by the EU, the USA and Canada, allowing the European Commission to dedicate certain calls for project proposals to marine and maritime research as part of Trans-Atlantic Cooperation, the European Commission and the Mediterranean Member States (Italy, Spain, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, Croatia, Slovenia, France and Portugal) developed a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) in 2015.

Its objective was to  meet the various challenges in marine and maritime research in the Mediterranean Sea to develop growth and promote the creation of new jobs.

The four main missions of the BLUEMED initiative are to

  1. Promote cooperation in research and innovation among all the Mediterranean countries by involving public and private stakeholders;
  2. Give priority to actions with high social impact;
  3. Ensure the efficient and effective use of resources and infrastructures by Member States
  4. Develop innovative solutions to create new “blue” jobs, improve social and ecological well-being, ensure (sustainable) economic growth.

The agenda identified three fields for research and innovation actions:

  1. Knowledge of ecosystems, marine dynamics and risks
  2. Identification of the key economic sectors and their needs in Research & Innovation
  3. Innovative technology

The Member States and all the R&I stakeholders must now define an implementation plan for this agenda and reinforce cooperation with South Mediterranean countries. IFREMER and the CNRS represent the French contribution to the Coordination and Support Action (CSA) for the implementation of SRIA Med (H2020 BG-13-2016 Support to the BLUEMED Initiative: Coordination of marine and maritime research and innovation activities in the Mediterranean).

Programmes with South Mediterranean countries

Morocco: Aquaculture Twinning

Conducted from March to October 2015 and financed by the EU, this French-Moroccan partnership aimed to enhance the capacities of the Moroccan National Agency for Development of Aquaculture (ANDA). This project drew on expertise from the French Ministry for Agriculture and Food, the Directorate for Marine Fisheries and Aquaculture, IFREMER, CIRAD, AgroCampus Ouest, the Brittany Region Shellfish Trade Association, ITAVI and FranceAgriMer. Recommendations were set out in an action plan and a strategic plan for Moroccan aquaculture.

Tunisia: new talks between IFREMER and the Tunisian Institute for Marine Science and Technology

Both institutes met in September 2015 to resume French-Tunisian collaboration. The objective is to renew the Collaboration Framework Agreement signed in 2009. This Framework Agreement aims to promote collaboration in the fields of fisheries, aquaculture, coastal area management and biotechnology.

Algeria: Development of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture

The fisheries and aquaculture sectors have high growth potential in Algeria. The government has thus given priority to the development of these sectors through the EU-Algeria Association Agreement as well as the Government Action Plan, the Master Plan for the Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture Activities (SDDAPA) for 2025 and the legislation regarding fisheries and aquaculture.

Scientific twinning

As part of a European twinning programme, Algeria and France joined forces to contribute to the development and sustainable management of fisheries and aquaculture in the country. The project aims to optimise the operating efficiency of the National Centre for Research and Development of Fisheries and Aquaculture (CNRDPA), created in 2008 as a tool for decision-makers.

To reach this goal, an analysis was undertaken to set up

  • a legal and institutional framework for the CNRDPA to consolidate its organisation, in particular with regard to its objectives for research and development and sustainable management of resources;
  • a plan detailing how to organise the CNRDPA services for effective, scientifically rigorous and transparent operations and for official recognition as the competent authority on national and international levels;
  • a proven scientific research strategy and method to establish a solid scientific foundation to carry out expert assessments, support the development of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, and to pursue and develop scientific collaborations with the RFMOs in the Mediterranean Sea.

From July 2012 to July 2014, the French Ministry for Agriculture and Food (MAAF), CIRAD, CNAM-Intechmer and the Environmental Bureau of Corsica sent some twenty staff members. Moreover, several Algerian researchers boarded the R/V Thalassa and others were hosted and trained in IFREMER laboratories.

These exchanges resulted in two practical, emblematic outcomes:

  • the development of a strategic plan for the CNRPDA for the 2014-2020 period,
  • the preparation of R/V Belkacem Grine for oceanographic cruises to assess dermersal and pelagic resources.