EU | What’s next for the future of our ocean? EU launches consultation on international ocean governance

This article was published first in DG MARE’s website on the 15/07/2020.

The European Commission and the European External Action Service have launched a targeted consultation to assess development needs and options for the EU’s international ocean governance agenda.

Ocean governance concerns the international and regional processes, agreements, rules and institutions that allow the international community to coordinate and work together  for conservation and sustainable use at sea, where challenges cannot be tackled by one country alone.

The consultation aims to identify relevant actions in light of today’s challenges and opportunities to deliver global sustainability objectives for oceans in particular the Sustainable Development Goal on the oceans (SDG14) under the 2030 Agenda in support of the European Green Deal.

High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell said: “The protection of our oceans is a global challenge that requires a collective response. The European Union is doing its part and ready to do more. We are determined to continue to fulfil our responsibility towards our citizens and to work with partners across the world. We all want sustainable and healthy oceans and to improve their governance.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries said: “The EU is fully committed to promoting ocean governance. We are a reliable partner in strengthening the international framework, a top donor in building capacity, a strong supporter of ocean science and a business partner for the sustainable ‘blue economy’. This consultation will help the EU to lead on delivering of global sustainability objectives for the ocean.”


The European Commission and the European External Action Service adopted the international ocean governance agenda in 2016 to promote an effective and coherent EU contribution towards healthy, clean, secure, safe and sustainably managed oceans. The agenda identified 50 actions to improve the international framework, reduce pressures, facilitate a sustainable blue economy, and strengthen international ocean research and data.

A progress report published in March 2019 confirmed timely delivery of most actions and confirmed the agenda’s value for concerted and targeted EU action. In light of the growing scientific evidence that further action is needed to tackle ocean challenges including climate change and the rapid loss of marine biodiversity, EU Member States expressed their support to follow-up and further develop the international ocean governance agenda in the Council Conclusions on Oceans and Seas adopted in November 2019.

The consultation will help to:

  1. re-examine the EU’s role in strengthening international ocean governance;
  2. re-examine the three priorities of the current agenda and its goals and actions; and
  3. identify new policy areas or actions to tackle existing or emerging challenges

Stakeholders within and beyond Europe including public authorities, international organisations, NGOs, financial institutions, academic, scientific, social and economic partners are encouraged to participate.

The consultation complements the International Ocean Governance Forum, launched with a virtual event on 22-24 April 2020, to support follow-up and development of the agenda. The next meeting of the forum will take place in Brussels, 14-16 December 2020.

Have your say until 15 October 2020

EU | Sustainable fisheries: Cooperation with Mauritania continues

This article was published first in DG MARE’s website on the 09/07/2020. 

The EU is actively promoting sustainable fisheries around the world. In this context, the EU has on 7 July extended the protocol to the existing Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) with the Islamic Republic of Mauritania for one year.

The protocol promotes responsible fishing and sustainable management of fishing resources, including enhanced transparency measures. The extension ensures continuity in cooperation and further progress towards sustainable fishing.

The fisheries partnership agreement with Mauritania is the biggest mixed agreement for the EU both in financial terms and in terms of fishing opportunities. Under the current framework with Mauritania, the EU fleet is authorised to fish in Mauritanian waters for shrimp, demersal fish, tuna and small pelagics, up to around 287,000 tonnes per year. In addition to the fees paid by the European fleet, the EU pays a financial contribution of €61,625,000 per year, including over €4,000,000 to support the fisheries policy in Mauritania, in particular the improvement of research and fisheries governance.

Despite intentions to agree a new protocol, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the initial planning for the negotiations. The parties considered a one-year extension of the current protocols to be the most pragmatic approach to avoid interruption in the activity of Union fishing vessels in Mauritanian waters. The extensions will be on the same terms as the current ones, with identical fishing opportunities for EU vessels as well as identical financial contributions from both the European Union and the ship-owners. Meanwhile, negotiations for a new agreement and protocol will continue with a view to the adoption of a new sustainable fisheries partnership agreement, before the expiration of the agreed extension.


More information

The Mauritania section of the WestMED website presents the latest news of the Blue Economy in Mauritania.


Ocean Health: Projects that innovate : a sample of the projects funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund 2014 – 2019

Source: DG MARE

As the name suggests, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund does not just support fisheries, but also maritime policy. It is mainly national administrations who decide how to use the amounts they receive to support both fisheries and the blue economy. The European Commission also manages a small percentage of the Fund (4.5%), which goes to innovative projects and sustainable 4 activities and helps coordinate maritime cooperation across borders. Over the years, this “direct funding” has supported many new ideas all over Europe. What follows is a snapshot of some of the most intriguing projects that emerged in recent years thanks to the European Commission’s direct funding.

The document is available here.