Leonardo Manzari and Irene Alonso at UfM Stakeholder Conference 2024

WestMED goes full Mediterranean at the UfM stakeholder conference 2024

The WestMED Initiative actively participated in the 2nd UfM Blue Economy Stakeholder Conference, which took place in Athens on February 19 and 20, 2024.

The WestMED Initiative follows up on the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Declaration on the Blue Economy endorsed by the Union for Mediterranean (UfM) which took place on the 17 November 2015, inviting the participating countries to explore the added value and feasibility of appropriate maritime strategies at sub-regional level, and build on the experience of the 5+5 Dialogue.

In October 2016, Foreign Affairs Ministers from Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia encouraged further work on an initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy, alongside the UfM Secretariat.

In the UfM Ministerial Declaration on Sustainable Blue Economy (2021), Ministers “welcome the successful completion of the launch of the ‘Initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the western Mediterranean’ (WestMED)”, and “recognise both the WestMED initiative as successful examples of cooperation, focused on clear goals, priorities and measurable targets and as a catalyst for the development of sustainable blue economy projects in the region”.

The endorsing countries pursue the same priorities under the UfM Working Group and the WestMED Steering Committee: fostering the promotion of the blue economy, achieving a safer maritime space and improving the maritime governance.

Conference involvement
On the occasion of the 2nd UfM Blue Economy Stakeholder Conference, the WestMED Initiative assisted the UfM both in terms of organization and participation.

At  institutional level, the new WestMED Portuguese Co-Presidency represented by Ms. Marisa Lameiras da Silva, Director General for Maritime Policy in Portugal participated as one of the key speakers in the session of marine renewable energy, providing the success case of Portugal developing offshore energy and its potential replicability in the Mediterranean.

From the Commission side, Ms. Delilah Al Khudhairy, Director for Maritime Policy and Blue Economy, Mr. Christos Economou, Head of Unit for Maritime Regional Cooperation and Mr. Manuel Pleguezuelo, policy officer and WestMED coordinator from DG MARE, participated in numerous sessions showing a strong commitment to the sustainable blue economy in the Mediterranean. The same for Ms. Anja Detant (CINEA), as project manager of the WestMED Assistance Mechanism contract, who highlighted the WestMED Initiative and the award winning projects during the ‘Spotlights on Projects’ session.

At operational level, the WestMED Assistance Mechanism participated in different workshops as experts, moderators and rapporteurs, providing technical expertise. They also supported the UfM Secretariat behind-the-scenes in the development of the Conference.

The conference served as a crucial milestone to assess progress, discuss challenges, and engage the entire Mediterranean Sustainable Blue Economy Community in shaping further deliberations at political and practical level.

A concrete example of succesful cooperation beyond the western Mediterranean was the MoU signed during the conference among the Tunisian and Greek Maritime Clusters  (with groundwork through the WestMED Cluster Alliance) to further boost the blue economy between the western and eastern Mediterranean.


Anja Detant at UfM conference 2024

Samir Bachouche-and Manuel Pleguezuelo at UfM Conference 2024

Manuel Pleguezuelo at UfM Conference 2024

Thanos Smanis, Isabelle Perret, Christos Economou at the UfM Stakeholder Conference 2024

UfM stakeholder Conference - speakers with thumbs up

Photos: copyright UfM secretariat

event announcement poster

WestMED national event on Green Shipping in Algeria

On February 12, 2024, the Algerian National Hub of the WestMED Initiative, in coordination with the Ministry of Fisheries and Fisheries Production, organized their national event focused on on ‘Green Shipping in Algeria.’ This took place in Oran, Algeria.

The event was embedded in a two day international workshop organised by Power4Med – an EMFAF* funded project that supports operators of smaller ships and marinas on the path towards carbon neutrality

The event brought together over 80 participants and representatives from various sectors, including government bodies, industry experts, academics, students, and international researchers.

It focused on strategies for green shipping and ports in Algeria as well as the Western Mediterranean region as a whole, emphasizing best practices, innovative technologies, and policy frameworks that contribute to a more sustainable and prosperous maritime sector. The event also raised awareness about the WestMED Initiative and its relevance to Algeria, while fostering dialogue and collaboration among stakeholders in developing a sustainable blue economy.

During the event, speakers shared insights and experiences on the advantages and opportunities of green shipping, highlighting the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a fuel for bunkering ships. They also discussed the new regulations of the International Maritime Organization, which have significantly reduced sulfur content in marine fuels, leading to a cleaner and greener maritime environment.

Algeria’s experience in developing green shipping and ports was showcased, emphasizing its potential as a catalyst for the development of the blue economy in the country. The event provided a platform to exchange knowledge and experiences among West Mediterranean countries, including an overview of the work done by the Green Shipping Technical Group created under the WestMED Initiative and coordinated by WestMED’s Italian National Hub.

Financing opportunities and partnerships with the European Union were also explored, underlining the support offered to SMEs, research institutes, academia and authorities by the WestMED Assistance Mechanism and their respective National Hubs. The event encouraged stakeholders to identify financing mechanisms that would match their project idea(s)  and to collaborate with regional and international partners to accelerate the transition to a sustainable blue economy.

The event’s outcomes were highly impactful, with increased awareness among stakeholders about the opportunities and challenges of developing a sustainable blue economy in Algeria. The discussions on green shipping and ports provided valuable insights into best practices and innovative technologies, paving the way for enhanced environmental performance and efficiency in the maritime sector.

As we move forward, the event strengthened collaboration and partnerships among stakeholders, both at the national and international levels. The commitment to implement concrete actions and initiatives to promote a sustainable blue economy in Algeria has been reaffirmed, ensuring a brighter and greener future for our maritime industry.

* European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund


Visit the event webpage for the background and the agenda of this event with the respective speakers.

Contact the National Hub Algeria Samir Bachouche for more information or support with your project:




announcement poster GFCM-WestMED aquaculture event at SIPA 2024 in Oran, Algeria

Joint FAO/GFCM-WestMED event during SIPA2024 on Climate Change Resilient Aquaculture

On February 11, 2024, the GFCM Scientific Committee on Aquaculture (CAQ), organized a workshop in close cooperation with WestMED Algeria on Climate Change, Resilient Aquaculture, and Mitigation Strategies. This event took place during the International Fisheries and Aquaculture exhibition (SIPA Algerie 2024), in Oran Algeria

The workshop started with opening remarks, setting the stage for discussions on aquaculture in the Mediterranean basin in the context of climate change.

Esteemed speakers shared their insights, beginning with Rita Lecci from the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC) Foundation in Italy, who highlighted the relationship between aquaculture and climate change. The presentation emphasized the need for sustainable aquaculture development to promote a resilient blue economy in the region.

Samir Bachouche, representing the national hub of the WestMED Initiative in Algeria, shed light on the importance of sustainable aquaculture in the Western Mediterranean and its contribution to a sustainable blue economy and highlighted the workk of WestMED thematic stakeholder group on aquaculture: AquaWest. Javier Ojeda from the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP) shared European fish farmers’ perspectives on climate change, providing valuable insights into the challenges they face.

The workshop then delved into innovative tools and strategies to address climate change challenges in aquaculture. Alessio Bonaldo from the University of Bologna in Italy presented strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation in aquaculture, emphasizing the need for innovative approaches. Curzio Pagliari, also from the University of Bologna, discussed the use of green propulsion systems for more sustainable aquaculture, highlighting the importance of reducing environmental impact.

Jose Diaz Salinas of Skretting, Norway, joined the discussion online and addressed the feed challenge in aquaculture in the face of climate change. His insights shed light on the importance of sustainable and efficient feed production practices.

In the afternoon session, the focus shifted to climate change resilient farming systems. Soufiane Bensalem from the University Kasdi Merbah Ouargla Salem in Algeria presented Saharan aquaculture as a model of farming resilient to climate change. Elisa Ravagnan from NORCE, Norway, explored the concept of integrated multi-tropic aquaculture as a potential solution for climate change resilience. Enric Gisbert from the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA), Spain, shared insights into a saltwater aquaponics system for mullet and Salicornia production.

The workshop concluded with a fruitful discussion among participants, addressing the challenges and opportunities of climate change resilient aquaculture. The insights gained from the workshop will contribute to the development of effective mitigation strategies and promote sustainable aquaculture practices in the Mediterranean basin.

Visit the event webpage for more information on the background and the agenda

Contact the WestMED National Hub Algeria (Samir Bachouche) for more information:


Here’s a videoclip from Samir Bachouche during the event:


European Blue Announcement with 2 cover pages of eu blue forum position papares 2024

The European Blue Forum Stakeholder Position Papers are out!

The European Blue Forum consisting of stakeholders from all 5  EU sea basins has published its first 2 Position papers related to key issues concerning the European Seas

Paper 1: What do we need from European Seas by 2030, and are we asking too much?
Paper 2: What does a fossil fuel free sustainable blue economy look like? How can we as a community support this transition?

These 2 papers, crafted collaboratively by European Blue Forum members through insightful discussions over the past 10 months are now accessible.

The documents are set to serve as a significant statement on maritime and coastal stakeholders’ common issues, challenges and future expectations for our European Seas. They gather the needs of the European Blue Forum members and provides the main axes of action for the years to come.

The papers will be presented during a public meeting of the inter-parliamentary group SEARICA in Brussels on 7th March 2024.

Download the papers

Aquaculture report  Algeria 2024 with screenshot of front cover

Guide des bonnes pratiques environnementales pour une aquaculture marine durable

Réalisé sous la tutelle du Ministère de l’Environnement et des Energies Renouvelables (MEER) en collaboration avec le Ministère de la Pêche et des Productions Halieutiques avec l’appui de la Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), projet “Protection de l’environnement et de la biodiversité du littoral algérien (PEBLA)“.

Ce guide a été développé comme un outil destiné à fournir aux décideurs et aux producteurs aquacoles, des recommandations pratiques adaptées pour réduire l’impact des activités aquacoles sur l’environnement. Son contenu est basé sur les connaissances techniques et scientifiques actuelles, pour une gestion durable des espèces d’élevage.

Les sujets abordés sont les suivants : protection de l’environnement, qualité des produits, normes du travail, sécurité des consommateurs et bien-être des animaux.

Télécharger le rapport

Source: Guide des bonnes pratiques environnementales pour une aquaculture marine durable – وزارة البيئة والطاقات المتجددة

Pour plus dínformations, contactez le Hub National WestMED Algérie (samir Bachouche):

report cover

Report: A sustainable blue economy for the Mediterranean: challenges, opportunities and policy pathways

A new policy report, commissioned by the European Commission (DG Near) to the EuroMeSCo network, and developed by eco-union under the supervision of the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed), aims to assess the status and potential of the sustainable Blue Economy in the Mediterranean region, including an analysis of socioeconomic benefits and impacts in relevant Blue Economy activities.

This report not only encapsulates the current state of the Blue Economy in the Mediterranean but also serves as a guide for policymakers, researchers, and stakeholders, pointing towards a future where sustainable practices drive economic growth while safeguarding the invaluable marine ecosystems of the region.

Download the report

Source: Eco-Union website


announcement poster for the WestMED 2023 factsheet

WestMED 2023 factsheet is out now!

The WestMED 2023 factsheet is out listing its major achievements.

Goals, priorities, governance, stories, number of projects supported and much more in one quick overview

Download your copy from the publications page


MED MSP Community of Practice: experts from across the Mediterranean unite to share experiences and align perspectives

On 26 On January 2023, CINEA together with DG MARE, launched the ‘Community of Practice on Maritime Spatial Planning for the Mediterranean’, with the support of the WestMED Initiative, the MSP Assistance Mechanism and Union for Mediterranean.

This is a voluntary, enthusiastic group of experts from EU and non-EU countries working on MSP in the Mediterranean.

It was established based on a growing need from the MSP Community for a continuous and structured dialogue at sea basin and sub-sea basin level.

The main objective of this MED-MSP-CoP is to establish a permanent exchange between MSP practitioners across borders (i.e. planners, technical experts, researchers), to share knowledge and relevant experiences in the region, reach a shared perspective on MSP topics of common interest and enhance the cooperation between the north and the south shore of the Mediterranean.

In its first year, 3 workshops and 4 thematic webinars have been organised – mostly online. Participants indicated the added value of this platform and plans are underway to continue with these meetings in the years ahead.

If you want learn more and/ or join this Community of Practice, all information can be be found on the MED-MSP-COP webpage

Marta Pascual , WestMED National Hub spain) at the 2nd ENSSMAL conference on the Blue Economy 2023

WestMED experts join ENSSMAL’s 2nd International Conference in Algiers on Blue Economy and Climate Change

The Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Sciences de la Mer et de l’Aménagement du Littoral (ENSSMAL) recently hosted a noteworthy event exploring the crucial intersection of the blue economy and climate change.

This event brought together more than 80 participants, including high level experts, from various corners, with a major input by the WestMED Initiative, all united by a common purpose: safeguarding the well-being of our seas in the face of a changing climate.

The blue economy encompasses the sustainable utilization of sea resources for economic growth and development. It includes a broad spectrum of activities, ranging from fisheries and tourism to shipping and renewable energy generation. As a vital force in the regional economy, the blue economy sustains millions of livelihoods worldwide.

However, the blue economy’s prosperity is jeopardized by numerous challenges, including the ever-present threats of climate change, pollution, and overfishing.

Climate change’s influence on rising ocean temperatures has triggered concerning consequences, from coral bleaching and diminishing sea ice to altered fish stocks.

Pollution, particularly the alarming prevalence of plastic waste, poses a significant threat to sea health. Furthermore, unsustainable fishing practices exert immense pressure on numerous fish populations, threatening their long-term viability.

Main topics
The ENSSMAL conference served as a crucial platform to brainstorm solutions for these pressing challenges. The engaged participants, including prominent specialists from the WestMED Initiative, made a collaborative effort to foster sustainable development across the Western Mediterranean region and delved into various pertinent topics:

  • Understanding the Blue Economy: The panel of experts delved into the blue economy’s fundamental concepts, focusing on sustainable use of sea resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of sea ecosystems.
  • Climate Change impacts on marine Ecosystems: Discussions  revolved around the latest research on how climate change is affecting marine biodiversity, sea levels, and oceanic weather patterns.
  • Innovative solutions and policies: Explore cutting-edge approaches and policy frameworks that can support the growth of a sustainable blue economy while mitigating the impacts of climate change.
  • Networking opportunities: Connect with professionals, academics, and policymakers from various sectors to exchange ideas and forge partnerships for future collaborations.
  • Harnessing the blue economy’s potential for job creation and economic growth

The event’s success can be attributed to the insightful discussions, collaborative spirit, and valuable contributions from the diverse range of participants. It provided a much-needed platform to exchange knowledge, share best practices, and forge partnerships for future endeavors.

Emphasising crucial aspects
Beyond the aforementioned key points, the ENSSMAL event further emphasized the following crucial aspects:

  • The critical role of international collaboration in effectively addressing the challenges facing the blue economy.
  • The urgent need for increased investment in research and development to discover innovative solutions for sea conservation.
  • The importance of raising public awareness and fostering education initiatives to cultivate a collective understanding of the significance of protecting our seas.

The ENSSMAL event’s success lies in its emphasis on collaboration, knowledge sharing, and action-oriented solutions. It provided a valuable platform for experts, policymakers, and stakeholders to connect, forge partnerships, and develop concrete strategies for tackling the impact of climate change.


Download the event report : Here

For more information contact the National Hub Algeria

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