Mohamed Lemine presenting the outcomes of the roundtables during the WestMED 2023 National event in Mauritania

4th national WestMED event for the Promotion of the Blue Economy in Mauritania

As part of the WestMED Initiative, Mauritania’s national hub, in close coordination with the Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Economy, organized the 4th national WestMED event at the Nouakchott Hotel on Tuesday, October 31, 2023. This important meeting was chaired by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Economy and in the presence of the Secretary General of the Ministry of the Environment.

The event was co-organized this year with the REBOOT MED project, whose national partner is the Diawling National Park (PND).

In addition to Mauritania’s national hub and the national coordinator of the WestMed Initiative in Mauritania, the event was attended by the representative of the WestMed Initiative’s Assistance Mechanism, Mr. Matteo Bocci, representatives of the main national institutions concerned, representatives of the private sector, socio-professional organizations and civil society, representatives of the main scientific research institutions at national level, and representatives of the main technical and financial partners. A total of 55 people participated.

The event attracted extensive media coverage, with the presence of all the official national press (Agence Mauritanienne d’Information, Télévision Nationale Al Mauritaniya, Radio de Mauritanie), private television channels and Internet press platforms. The event was featured as one of the main news items on official and private channels in French, Arabic and national languages broadcast on the evening of 31/10/2023.

In his opening address to the workshop, Mr. Sidi Ali Sidi Boubacar, Secretary General of the Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Economy, began by thanking the participants and recalling the context and objectives of the WestMED initiative for the promotion of the blue economy. He pointed out that the efforts undertaken by the national coordination, with the support of the national hub, have enabled Mauritania to participate actively in all regional projects aimed at promoting the blue economy in the Mediterranean area, particularly in the fields of fishing, aquaculture, sustainable tourism and renewable energies. These sectors are considered priorities for Mauritania’s co-presidency of the WestMED initiative for 2023.

Mr. Sidi Ali Sidi Boubacar also mentioned that the organization of this event takes place in a particular context, marked by the growing challenges currently facing our marine and coastal zone (exploitation of hydrocarbons: gas and oil, intensification of fishing activities and maritime transport, urbanization, etc.), which requires new, more integrated management approaches to guarantee the sustainability of our resources and the effective preservation of our environment. Consequently, the promotion of a blue economy has become one of the priorities of the national strategy for the fisheries and maritime economy sector.

Following the official opening session, Mr. Mohamed Lemine Abdel Hamid (national hub) presented the program for the event.

The floor was then given to Mr. Matteo Bocci (Ecorys expert), who presented an overview of the WestMED initiative and the main projects underway. He placed particular emphasis on the CallMeBlue project, which aims to promote maritime clusters in the Mediterranean area, and which is due to start up next month, and in which Mauritania is involved through the Mauritanian Maritime Cluster (CMM).

After this presentation, the floor was given to Mr. Hamadi Baba Hamadi, President of the Mauritanian Maritime Cluster (CMM), who presented the progress made in setting up the Mauritanian maritime cluster and the roadmap for its operationalization.

Mr. Tommaso Scavone, Coordinator of the REBOOT MED project, then gave a detailed presentation of the project.

Following these presentations, participants were divided into three thematic groups for round-table group discussions to share their views and to identify ideas related to the following topics:

Group 1: Fisheries and aquaculture, moderated by Dr. Mohamed Lemine Abdel Hamid

Group 2: Hydrocarbons and renewable energies, moderator: Mr Matteo Bocci

Group 3: Sustainable tourism and maritime spatial planning (MSP), moderator: Mr. Tommaso Scavone.

Each group spent two hours discussing opportunities and challenges, and identifying possible solutions in the form of regional/national project ideas to be submitted to the 5th Arab Summit for Economic and Social Development that is planned for 2024


The event was featured on the news the same night by Télévision Nationale Al Mauritaniya with the opening statement by Mr Sidi Ali Sidi Boubaccar General Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and National coordinator for Mauritania of the WESTMED Initiative



front cover of financing opportunities guide for the green transition of fisheries and aquaculture 2023

Energy Transition Partnership & Financing Report

The new guide on financing opportunities for the Green Energy Transition of Fisheries and Aquaculture is out!

The guide is set to support the sectors through EU funding under the 2021-2027 financial framework and NextGenerationEU. The comprehensive guide aims to elucidate diverse funding options for the energy transition by targeting a broad audience, including enterprises, public administrations, research institutions, and civil society organisations. It distinguishes itself by offering a tailored approach, swiftly aiding stakeholders in identifying and assessing applicable EU funding sources. Covering areas like vessel innovation, energy-efficient gear, and aquaculture management, the guide complements existing European Commission tools and undergoes regular updates to incorporate newly identified funds.

All information can be found in the Energy Transition Partnership with marta.pascual.westmed.spain

WestMED Initiative receives internationalization award at the Sun and Blue Congress 2023

This year marked the first edition of the Sun&Blue Congress; an international conference and exhibition focused on Blue Tourism Innovation. It took place in Almería, Spain from 15-17 November 2023.

Marta Pascual (WestMED National Hub Spain) has been very much involved in both the preparation of this event, as part of the Technical Committee, as well well as its execution. She organised and participated in multiple workshops to promote and facilitate the sustainable Blue Economy within the tourism sector.

The WestMED Iniatiative was given a special Award Mention for having helped on the Internationalization of the entire SUN&BLUE Congress. Also the ‘Maritime Tourism’project, supported by the WestMED Initiative was awarded with a special mention award for Sustainability

This conference provided an excellent platform to promote the WestMED Intiative within the tourism sector resulting in numerous requests for support. It also resulted in  a major step forward regarding the creation of a National Marine Tourism Network and led to a  first encounter with the city of CEUTA authorities as a basis for possible follow-up.

Here is an overview of the different WestMED  Sun&Blue events:

Turismo Marinero (16 November 2023)
Within the framework of WestMED, and more specifically from its Spanish National Hub, work is done to establish a National Maritime Tourism Network. Its main objective is to promote sustainable maritime tourism and the diversification of fishing activity towards other activities that promote the economic development of coastal and marine areas when, for various reasons, they cannot carry out their fishing activity.

This network seeks to diversify fishing activities to promote authentic and environmentally friendly experiences. By doing so, it is intended to contribute to local economic development, the conservation of marine ecosystems and the promotion of fishing culture and tradition in the Western Mediterranean region. Hand in hand with this important initiative of the European Commission, we will learn about the importance of maritime tourism and all the development it is having at the European and national level.

This session served to present 3 examples of Spanish companies and/or initiatives around Maritime Tourism with Pablo Mariño (Bluscus); Shonia Cruz (La Mar Consultoras-LMC) and Inmaculada Torres (GALPEMUR). This to understand what they offer and what opportunities and barriers they have encountered when developing their activities.

LinkedIn post 1

WestMED Initiative presentation
This presentation kicked off with explaining to a large audience what the WestMED Initiative is, what the work areas are and the activities carried out so far. Also opportunities for collaboration and financing for blue economy were elaborated on.

After the presentation a number of participants approached Mrs. Pascual to inquire about support for their project ideas. The most concrete ones are currently being followed through to assess needs and possibilities.

Blue Breakfast session (17 November 2023)
This was an invitation only event attended by public and private organisations. After explaining the Initiative and  funding opportunities, Mrs Pascual provided direct guidance on where to find funding for their work and future interests. It also led to some project ideas that are currently being reviewed for further support by the National Hub.

Reunión / Workshop: Presentación Proyecto de “Red Nacional de Turismo Marinero” (17 November 2023)
This private meeting/workshop brought together the main fishing political agents (MAPA), national fishing agents, local Fishing Action Groups (FLAGs), fishermen’s federations, fishermen’s guilds, fresh fish producer organizations, companies of marine tourism and foundations related to marine tourism. At the meeting, the idea/project of creating a National Marine Tourism Network, its vision, objectives, values, lines of action, activities, and governance proposals for said network were presented.

The meeting served as a starting point for the creation of this network and its subsequent presentation within the framework of the European WestMED Initiative as a good example and practice to potentially be replicated in other countries of the Western Mediterranean.

There will be a follow-up to create and launch of the Red Nacional Turismo Marinero in Spain, through bi-lateral discussions on each of the axes proposed for the network.

The meeting was exclusive for those in the field of marine tourism and required registration.

Exhibition stand
For the duration of the event, the WestMED exhibition stand drew many visitors to pick up a leaflet, watch the project video and inquire about possibilities.

Sun&Blue 2024
Next year’s event is already planned: 20-22 November 2024. Visit the Sun&Blue event website

Press coverage
This event has received a lot of press coverage like these articles in the national newspaper El Mundo and  La Voz de Almería.
Or this video on the opening from Ayuntamiento de Almería:

WestMED stand at Sun and Blue Congress 2023 with Marta Pascual talking to a visitor

Marta Pascual at the Sun and Blue Conference 2023 on stage

Turismo Marinero workshop by Marta Pascual with panbel on stage during SunandBlue 2023
Group picture of participants at Libya's first WestMED national stakeholder event 2023

Major Blue Economy Milestone in Libya with its First WestMED National Stakeholder Event

For the first time in the five years of Technical Assistance, the WestMED Assistance Mechanism experienced a national Blue Economy event in Libya on Nov 30th 2023. This was done upon the initiative of the National Coordinators, Mr Ali Shagruni and Ms Masauda Abuarosha, with  the organization and support by the National Project of Aquaculture and  the assistance from WestMED’s Italian National Hub.

With the aim of gathering the main stakeholders of the Blue Economy, the organizers could also rely on the participation of more than 60 operators in presence and of high level institutional representatives: the Deputy Minister of Marine Wealth, Saber Al Azzabi, the Deputy Head of EU Delegation to Libya, Horia Nagacevschi and the Deputy Ambassador of Italy to Libya, Riccardo Villa.

Qualified speakers for the main sectors of the Blue Economy could represent the current situation of the country in each field, also disclosing their potential role of participants to the WestMED Technical and Working Groups like Maritime Clusters Alliance, Green Shipping, Aquawest. Also participants from Italy and Tunisia, intensified the international meaning of this WestMED event, as a confirmation of the centrality of Libyan role in the Mediterranean basin.

Indeed, beside a remarkable and frank interaction on topics related to the fishery sector, the description of the opportunities represented by the Technical Assistance provided by WestMED Assistance Mechanism and those EU funded programmes accessible for Libyan stakeholders, was an important point to encourage stakeholders to join partnerships and project proposals.

This becomes a fundamental way to increase the inclusion of Libyan organizations in the Mediterranean ecosystem: the successful examples of projects like REBUILD, TAMSALL, POWER4MED, MAWEGO were mentioned.

In this perspective, the participation of HORIZON EUROPE’s National Contact Point for Libya was also an added value for liaising with raising opportunities of partnership in the coming months.

It was commonly perceived the impression that, in this phase, a more intense stakeholders’ engagement from the WestMED Assistance Mechanism could easily produce fruitful results, given the very strong expectations of Libyan stakeholders towards all forms of EU support.


Presenting at the Libyan westmed national event 2023

Horia Nagacevschi, Head of EU Delegation to Libya presenting at Libya's first national westmed stakeholder event 2023

Masauda Abuarosha and Ezzedine Kacem at the Libyan national westmed event 2023

participants in conference room at the WestMED National event in Libya 2023

banner of Libya WestMED national event 2023



Salem Miladi, WestMED National Hub Tunisia presenting at the BlueMissionMED national Hub launch 2023

WestMED Tunisia highlights complementarities at launch of Tunisian BlueMissionMed National Hub

Today, 5 December, the WestMED National Hub Tunisia (Salem Miladi)  attended the launch of the BlueMissionMed Tunisian National Hub, whose mission is to restore our ocean and aquatic environment with a focus on marine pollution.

Although it is a universal problem, marine pollution affects the Mediterranean, a semi-enclosed sea, more severely, as it is a concentrated basin and representing barely 1% of the surface area of the World Ocean. And, like all Mediterranean coasts, the Tunisian coastline is subject to great urban, tourist and industrial pressure,  which increases the risk of pollution.

Taking the floor at the first session, Mr. Salem Miladi presented the Westmed project, its objectives and priorities regarding environmental protection and sustainable growth. The WestMED Thematic/ Technical groups and think tanks were also highlighted and the need for synergies between these two European projects was stressed, with the joint organisation of meetings and possible national events.

The second session dealt with the involvement of managers, SMEs and civil society in the fight against marine pollution.

During the 3rd and last session the establishment of the Tunisian BlueMissionMed National Hub was discussed, including the working methodology, the timetable of key dates and the organisation of working groups by pillar.

For more information, contact Salem Miladi (WestMED National Hub Tunisia) or visit the WestMED’s Tunisia country page



Group of people at the Blue Mediterranean partnership agreement signing at COP28

Blue Mediterranean Partnership steps up support for sustainable blue economy

EIB, EBRD, UfM, EC, AFD, CDP, KfW, donors and beneficiary countries sign cooperation agreement at COP28

  • Blue Mediterranean Partnership to support transition to a sustainable blue economy in the Mediterranean region
  • Partnership to start operating in early 2024
  • Partners aim to mobilise at least €1 billion in investments

At COP28, partners and donors involved in the Blue Mediterranean Partnership reinforced their support for developing the sustainable blue economy in the southern Mediterranean region. The parties involved signed a letter of intent to make their participation in the Partnership official and to make the Partnership operational in early 2024.

The Blue Mediterranean Partnership aims to tackle the threats the Mediterranean Sea faces by coordinating the financing of blue economy projects in the Mediterranean and Red Sea regions, focusing initially on Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.

Through a new multi-donor fund managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Blue Mediterranean Partnership seeks to secure additional funding from sovereign donors for project preparation and blended finance. Today in Dubai, the European Commission announced a contribution of €1 million, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) contributed SEK 75 million (€6.5 million), and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) announced a  €2 million contribution. In the coming months, Germany and Spain are also expected to announce donations, with additional donors to follow.

The European Investment Bank (EIB), AFD, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and the EBRD – will act as implementing financial institutions and cooperate to co-finance blue economy projects, which will benefit from the grants provided by the Partnership, mobilising also existing financial resources provided by the European Commission through the Neighbourhood Investment Platform and the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+).

Lastly, the beneficiary countries (Egypt, Jordan and Morocco) will lead on identifying strategic blue economy projects in their territories, while the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) will act as facilitator of the political and regulatory dialogue.

Read the full article on the website of the EIB

EU and Neighbourhood countries commit to enhanced fisheries management control in the Mediterranean and Black Sea

Among the main measures, the EU and neighbouring countries agreed within the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) to launch new tools to keep track of the activities of all fleets fishing in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas and sharing the various multiannual management plans (MAPs). The new mechanism will follow up on cases of non-compliance through appropriate and proportionate measures. To consolidate joint efforts in the Mediterranean and make sure the measures deliver on the ground, a European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) patrol vessel will be deployed permanently still this year.

At the 46th annual meeting of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), which took place between 6-10 November in Split, the EU and neighbouring countries agreed to reinforce the level playing field in control and management of fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas. This is a key step in ensuring that all operators involved in fisheries follow the same standards, based on the principles of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Thanks to the efforts of the EU and more than 12 other coastal states, the GFCM unanimously adopted a total of 34 shared measures. The EU will support the implementation of the measures and the GFCM 2030 Strategy with an annual grant of €8 million.

Measures for increased sustainability and biodiversity protection

The measures agreed at the GFCM meeting will bring about the following positive impacts in the Mediterranean and Black Sea: 

  • More sustainability through traceability: The traceability of fisheries products is essential to fighting illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) practices. New catch documentation schemes for red coral in the Mediterranean and for turbot in the Black Sea will help to identify the origin of fish products, ensuring better conservation of these iconic species.
  • Decarbonisation as an answer to energy crises and pollution: the GFCM will be the first regional fisheries management organisation to establish a permanent working group and to adopt a roadmap for the decarbonisation of fishing activities. This working group will identify actions to promote a more resilient sector against energy crises, a reduction of the carbon footprint and studies to assess the impact of the fishing gear on the seabed.
  • Sustainable management of common dolphinfish through a new multiannual plan: The GFCM approved a new multiannual management plan (MAP) for common dolphinfish in the Mediterranean Sea. The MAP is based on a joint EU-Tunisia proposal, the main players in this fishery. The goal of the MAP and the associated inspection scheme is to maintain this iconic species with high commercial value at sustainably managed levels.
  • Protection of sensitive species and marine habitats: Following the EU’s lead, the GFCM adopted a strategy to protect vulnerable species and launched an Observatory for non-indigenous species. The fisheries organisation started pilot studies to assess the potential extension of the bottom trawling ban to waters closer to the surface, down to 800 metres.

The GFCM also consolidated the existing measures under the multiannual management plan for European eel. Long-term measures will be determined next year, based on the results of a regional research program.

Keeping the measures of previous years, the GFCM decided to reinforce the fisheries restricted area (FRA) in the Gulf of Lion. EU, Morocco and Algeria also agreed to implement a FRA in the Cabliers Mound.

Next steps

The Council of the European Union will discuss and establish the GFCM’s fishing opportunities-related measures for the Mediterranean and the Black Sea in a meeting taking place on 11 and 12 December.


The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) is a regional fisheries management organisation established under the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. It plays a critical role in fisheries governance and has the authority to make binding recommendations for fisheries conservation and management and for aquaculture development. Its membership comprises the EU, 19 Mediterranean states and three Black Sea states.

With the political commitment and close cooperation of all parties and stakeholders, and with the EU taking a lead role, the organisation is actively working to strengthen the new fisheries governance established with the MedFish4Ever and Sofia Ministerial Declarations, to reverse overfishing, ensure the protection of marine ecosystems and the resilience and profitability of the fishing and aquaculture sector. All decisions and achievements are based on the renewed commitments of the MedFish4Ever Ministerial Declaration.

For More Information

GFCM 2030 Strategy | General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean – GFCM | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (

Management plans | General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean – GFCM | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (

screenshot cover report with young girl and a man at the controls of a machine

CLUSTER Policy Report – Blue economy as an opportunity for enhancing youth and women’s employment in the Mediterranean


Source: enicbcmed website

In a move towards addressing youth unemployment, the CLUSTER project published its policy report focusing on the Blue Economy (BE) in the Mediterranean. The report underscores the pivotal role of sustainable ocean resource management in creating employment opportunities, particularly for the youth and women in the region. These are its key findings:

  1. Youth Employment Potential: With over a million BE-related jobs available in the Mediterranean, the sector, encompassing Blue Growth and Blue Tech, emerges as a promising avenue for youth employment. Aquaculture, fisheries, and tourism are identified as key sectors.
  2. Barriers to Growth: The report outlines financing and skills development as major hurdles to the sector’s expansion.
  3. Career Opportunities: Diverse career opportunities within the Blue Economy are presented, emphasizing the encouraging outlook for youth employment.
  4. Gender Disparities: Despite women playing pivotal roles in certain blue sectors, gender disparities persist, especially in maritime fields.

The policy report advocates for an action plan targeting regional policymakers to implement inclusive youth employment schemes in the Blue Economy sectors. Key strategies include substantial investment in blue careers and skills, leveraging European funding programs, and adapting learning schemes to modern needs.

Read the full report here.

COP28: European Commission commits €1 million to Blue Mediterranean Partnership

On Saturday 2 December, at the Blue Mediterranean Partnership’s pledging conference, the European Commission committed to pledge €1 million to the recently established Blue Mediterranean Partnership.

This collaborative initiative is designed to catalyse sustainable blue economy investments in the non-EU countries of the Mediterranean region, with a focus on the Southern Neighbourhood. It is spearheaded by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and the EU, through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The partnership’s priority areas include plastic waste reduction, coastal resilience investments, sustainable tourism, wastewater treatment, circular economy, and marine biodiversity.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries emphasised the importance of financial commitments, stating

Political commitment is one thing, but financial commitment takes things to another level, because we need investments to develop the economy, especially if we want to make sure that all sectors and activities develop sustainably, so that our seas and ocean can keep providing for future generations.”

The Blue Mediterranean Partnership aims at obtaining new financial resources fromsovereigndonors, channelled through a new multi-donor fund,administered by EBRD, bringing together:

–  key implementing partners such as the European Commission and its financial institutions (EBRD and EIB), UfM, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti


beneficiary countries (Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco) and

donors (European Commission, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency

, AFD).

Its primary objective is to tackle the threats faced by the Mediterranean Sea by coordinating the financing of sustainable blue economy projects located in the Mediterranean and Red Sea region, focusing initially on Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco.

At the pledging conference, donors, including the European Commission, made formal statements and announced their respective pledges, with the European Commission contributing

In the next months, announcements of additional donations are anticipated from Germany and Spain, with additional donors to follow.

More Information

Blue Mediterranean Partnership steps up support for sustainable blue economy (

2nd UfM Ministerial Declaration on Sustainable Blue Economy (2021)

Communication on a new approach to a sustainable blue economy

Renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood – A new agenda for the Mediterranean

UfM Blue Finance Conference



Source: DG MARE website

announcement poster EMD 2024

Call for workshops for the European Maritime Days 2024

The Call for workshops for the EMD 2024 in Svendborg Denmark,  is now open!

The European Maritime Day (EMD) is the annual two-day event during which Europe’s maritime community meet to network, discuss and outline joint action on maritime affairs and sustainable blue economy.

Stakeholder workshops are at the core of the conference. Each workshop lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Workshop organisers design and manage their own workshop.

For the EMD 2024, 18 high-quality workshops will be selected (with several workshops running in parallel).

All that is necessary is to fill in this form and submit your online application before 8 December 2023 at 17:00 CET.

The EMD is the place where ‘Ocean Leaders Meet’. It provides an engaging and completely interactive experience to catch up on the current state of play on a broad range of issues concerning the blue economy and the marine environment and to discuss ways of moving forward. It features a large number of inspirational speakers, thematic sessions, stakeholder workshops and pitch sessions organised by stakeholders and the European Commission. The EMD targets professionals from businesses, governments, public institutions, NGOs and academia as well as EU citizens interested in the sea.

European Maritime Day 2024 will take place in Svendborg, Denmark on 30 and 31 May 2024.

For more information, visit the EMD event website