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

announcement poster EMD 2024

Apply for a stand at the EMD exhibition!

The last time stakeholders had the possibility to get together as exhibitors was in 2023.

The European Commission, the City of Svendborg and the Danish Maritime Authority are happy to be able to offer this possibility once again and to give stakeholders the chance to showcase their projects and initiatives in an exhibition.

All  corresponding information can be found through the EMD website, or by direct link EMD 2024 call for exhibition.

The deadline to apply is the 22 March 2024 at 23h59. Please note that the call is launched on a “first come first served” basis and the call may therefore be closed before the deadline if the amount of applicants already reaches the threshold.

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

Euromarime 2024 poster with EU Sea Basin Assistance Mechanism text and stand number

EU Sea Basins Assistance Mechanism at EUROMARITIME 2024 in Marseille

Maritime industry leaders and enthusiasts gather in Marseille from 30 January to 1 February 2024, to discuss the latest developments in the maritime and river sectors at EUROMARITIME which has been both a showcase and a business accelerator since its creation in 2020.

The event serves as a vibrant forum for stakeholders to engage in discussions surrounding current issues, technical advancements, and political developments. EUROMARITIME provides a unique platform for economic, industrial, political, and institutional players to address the challenges and opportunities within maritime transport, shipbuilding, ship repair, port economics, and the future of maritime technologies with the end goal of developing a sustainable and low carbon Blue Economy.

It will also mark the launch of the first EurAfrican Maritime Forum (FoMEA), dedicated to promoting blue economy and maritime development in Africa and is therefore strongly linked to the activities of  the WestMED Initiative on the Southern shore of the Mediterranean.

This event within an event, which will bring together African maritime players with projects, institutions, port authorities and shipping company managers, will take place on Thursday 1st February 2024.

Visit us for new maritime project ideas, collaborations, and initiatives

Fully aware of  the growing importance of sustainable practices within the maritime industry and following the previous attendance from the WestMED French National Hub in 2020 and 2022 editions, the EU Sea Basins Assistance Mechanism – France (representing the WestMED Initiative and the Atlantic Action Plan)  will be  exhibitor at EUROMARITIME. With various maritime sectors transitioning towards sustainability, the European Commission has recognized the need for concerted efforts in fostering a safer, smarter, and more resilient blue economy.

Supporting and implementing strategic blue economy initiatives for the Atlantic, the Western Mediterranean, and the Black Sea, the EU Sea Basins Assistance Mechanism brings together maritime experts from all these sea basins. These experts offer practical support to SMEs, research institutions, policymakers, and academia, in the different steps to develop their blue sustainable projects, both in terms of accessing potential EU funding and finding project partners.

Workshop by the French national hub of the EU Sea Basins Assistance Mechanism | 30  January (14:00-17:00)

On 30 January (afternoon), the French national hub of EU Sea Basins Assistance Mechanism will organise a national event at the EuroMaritime. This will take the form of a dedicated workshop highlighting their activities with a focus on 2 main topics:

  • French regions’ Blue actions ; in particular Region Sud and its cooperation with Southern Shore Mediterranean countries
  • The role of the two EU Sea Basin strategies (WestMED Initiative and Atlantic Action Plan) and building on their synergies, to facilitate new projects and cooperation

It will be also the opportunity to recall opportunities and discuss blue project ideas supporting the EU strategies for both seabasins.

Download the agenda

Key Activities of the EU Sea Basins Assistance Mechanism:

  • Supporting project development: The mechanism actively supports blue projects by facilitating partner searches for consortiums and providing guidance on securing EU funding. This assistance aims to propel projects from conception to implementation. This comes to live through the implementation of the Sea Basins Initiatives, following the goals set in the two Ministerial Declarations from each Sea Basin that were approved in 2023 (further information can be found in the Atlantic Ministerial Declaration and WestMED Ministerial Declaration).
  • Driving Blue Thematic Stakeholder Discussions: To foster sustainable transitions, the Assistance Mechanism initiates and moderates discussions among stakeholders. These discussions contribute to the development of innovative solutions and best practices for a more sustainable and resilient blue economy.
  • Strengthening Blue Policies at All Levels: Working at the local, national, regional, and EU levels, the Assistance Mechanism advocates for robust blue policies that encourage synergies within and between Sea Basins, following the objectives of the Sea Basin Initiatives. By aligning policies with sustainability goals, the mechanism aims to create an enabling environment for the development of blue projects.

As EUROMARITIME unfolds in Marseille, the convergence of maritime industry leaders and the presence of the EU Blue Economy Assistance Mechanism promise to spark new ideas, collaborations, and initiatives that will shape the future of the maritime industries.

For those eager to explore the forefront of maritime innovation and sustainability, visit the official EUROMARITIME website

Meet the EU Sea Basins Assistance Mechanism at the stand of Pole Mer Mediterranee (B06).

Follow us online for the latest information regarding planned exhibition activities:

X (Twitter): WestMED | Atlantic
LinkedIn: Atlantic
Newsletter: WestMED | Atlantic

You can also contact the Assitance Mechanism’s National Hub in France directly via |

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