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

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


Strong interest for WestMED Spain webinar on decarbonizing small ports and vessels

For Spanish, click here | Webinar recording available below or on YouTube

On December 18, 2023, WestMED’s National Hub Spain hosted a webinar titled  “Opportunities and experiences for decarbonizing recreational and fishing vessels and ports”.

The meeting, organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, brought together 97 participants with representatives from authorities (regional, national), companies, SMEs, NGOs, scientists, clusters, fishing associations, FLAGs and universities (list of participants).

Main objectives
The webinar supports the effort to decarbonize the fishing and recreational boating sector in the Western Mediterranean and help achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal, including the reduction of GHG emissions, while taking into consideration the profitability, sustainability and resilience of these sectors.

The main objectives of this Webinar were to:

• Raise awareness of the WestMED Initiative and its Assistance Mechanism
• Discuss opportunities and challenges of decarbonizing ports and recreational and fishing vessels
• Provide the perspective of the fishing and recreational boating industry (perspectives of ports and vessels) in the face of the decarbonization challenges
• Discuss possible energy sources, technological solutions, regulatory frameworks and general opportunities and challenges to move towards decarbonization efforts
• Share the efforts by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
• Share the efforts by the General Directorate of the Merchant Navy and the Ministry of Transport and Sustainable Mobility
• Interact with the most relevant stakeholders at the national level regarding the decarbonization of ports and recreational and fishing vessels

Welcome/ Opening
Jose Maria Solano, national representative of the WestMED Initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, highlighted the decarbonization efforts in Spain, both on the Atlantic and Mediterranean shores, where up-to-today, there is still no viable technology of zero emissions that allows total decarbonization of the fishing and/or recreational fleet.

Objectives and context of decarbonization in the Western Mediterranean
 Marta Pascual, Spanish national hub of the WestMED Initiative, explained the opportunities for European funding and collaboration through European projects with the support of the WestMED Initiative and, more specifically, under the advice of the Assistance Mechanism. Marta explained that the results and materials from the webinar would be sent to the Energy Transition Partnership (ETP) so that they could take them into account in the roadmap they are developing for 2024
(see presentation)

Spanish position regarding the decarbonization of the fishing fleet
Francisco Manuel Fernández Martínez, deputy director of the general secretariat of fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, expressed the Spanish position regarding the energy transition of the fishing fleet.
(see presentation)

Fernández Martínez explained the commission’s communication on the energy transition in the fishing and aquaculture sector (February 21, 2023), highlighted the state and typology of the Spanish fishing fleet and reflected on what the 3 challenges that the fishing sector faces in order to carry out decarbonization: technological barriers, knowledge and legislative barriers, and financial barriers.

He also listed the 4 main areas of action: 1) Improvement of the governance and cooperation/coordination framework between the different actors involved; 2) Overcome existing technological and knowledge gaps through R&D; 3) Improve the business environment of the activity, including those related to financial opportunities; 4) Manpower trained and prepared in the new skills that will be necessary in the Energy Transition.

Decarbonization and sustainability of the nautical industry
Jordi Carrasco, general director of the National Association of Nautical Companies – ANEN, commented that the recreational boating sector is very heterogeneous (marinas, shipyards, auxiliary industry, rental, etc.) but that the sustainability from a global approach: Advancing engines with the reduction of their emissions, controlling pollution, promoting electric and solar-powered boats, with new construction methods that work on the decarbonization of the entire life cycle of recreational boating . Mr. Carrasco commented on the results of the Ricardo Report which was commissioned from Ricardo plc by ICOMIA – International Council of Marine Industry Associations.

This report highlights that the nautical sector represents less than 0.1% of total greenhouse gas emissions and focuses on propulsion technologies in recreational vessels less than 24 meters in length (5 propulsion and fuel storage systems). energy and 9 categories of vessels). The conclusion of the report are that there is no single solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the propulsion of recreational boats and that we must focus on understanding the type of use of the boat in order to suggest different propulsion systems. It was also commented that the impact of alternative propulsion on the prices of future pleasure boats is expected to increase between 5% and 250%, depending on the technology used. This is why it is urgent to carry out an analysis of the life cycle of the sector with a comprehensive vision from design and manufacturing to the end of the useful life of the vessels.

Decarbonization in fishing vessels
Next, Miguel J. Núñez Sánchez, Transport Counselor of the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU, presented the opportunities and experiences of decarbonization in fishing vessels (industrial fishing) taking into account the great difference that exists between merchant and fishing vessels since It is a sector to which the legislation that applies is less (MARPOL Convention). In addition to this, sustainability is sought throughout the life cycle, both in the production part (fishing and transport chain) and in the life cycle analysis of the vessels.

However, the analysis and regulation of emissions in the transport chain will not be applied to fishing vessels. Mr. Núñez also commented on the difficulties of fishing vessels in obtaining an efficiency index. This means that fishing boats must generate their own efficiency indices that measure the best energy efficiency in engines, residual heat, lower powers, uses of low-consumption lighting, better cold management, etc. (different from the FuelEU Maritime or the Count Emissions index).
(see presentation)

Presentation of projects: “Study of the implementation of electric motors in the Albufera boats” and “Construction of the Albufera pilot boat
Amparo Aleixandre Puchades, Manager of the GALP of Gandía Albufera, presented two projects: “Study of the implementation of electric motors in the Albufera boats” and “Construction of the Albufera pilot boat”.

The study consisted of an environmental, economic and energy analysis and determined and categorized the use and movements of the boats in l’Albufera to know which of these boats could go from having combustion engines to electric motors. The study led to a pilot test of a boat in l’Albufera that is currently in use.
(see presentation)

Business perspectives: Torqeedo GmbH/ CASTALIA Project
In the final part of the event, two companies were invited to give their business perspective on decarbonization and show their adaptation solutions.

Carlos Martínez, Iberia & South America Manager of Torqueedo GmbH presented their advanced electric propulsion options in water as they are pioneers and leaders in the recreational boating market. Carlos explained to us what electric propulsion is for (pure electric) and what it is not for. It is not suitable for large lengths that want to move quickly, it is suitable for short distances and 10-12m boats. If we look at the life cycle, batteries pollute and that is why we have to look at the solution, but also at their use.
Next, Mr Ramón Zubiaga from Consulmar and  Samuel Gómez from the SYM NAVAL Shipyard presented their port services and the CASTALIA project, a 100% electric, zero-emission, multipurpose vessel.

(Presentation Torqeedo)
(Presentation project Castallia: SYM Blue brochure | video)

Main Conclusions

  1. There is no single or universal solution
  2. Alternative fuels are a solution with great potential to decarbonize the current recreational fleet.
  3. It is necessary to find the best solutions for each type of fleet to carry out the energy transition.
  4. The energy transition must be accompanied by the necessary funds for fleet renewal to build ships that can incorporate zero-emission technologies when they are available.
  5. It is necessary to review the concepts of the Common Fisheries Policy so that the regulations are not a brake on the modernization of the sector and the energy transition.
  6. The impact of alternative propulsion on the prices of future pleasure boats is expected to increase between 5% and 250%, depending on the technology used.
  7. It is urgent to carry out an analysis of the life cycle of the sector with a comprehensive vision from design and manufacturing to the end of the useful life of the vessels since the supply chain of materials and their energy consumption generates a significant amount of CO2.
  8. More R&D promotion is required so that technologies are competitive in autonomy, price and CO2 emissions.
  9. Security protocols and specific standards are required for new technologies.
  10. In the industrial fishing sector, there is a lack of efficiency legislation at European or IMO level.
  11. The IMO Greenhouse Gas Strategy does not apply to fishing vessels.
  12. The FITFOR55 measures do not apply to fishing vessels except in the RED III Directive on fuels.
  13. There is an urgent need to improve coordination and cooperation between interested parties.
  14. It is urgent to develop capabilities and a workforce adapted to the energy transition.
  15. We need to improve the business environment, including financing opportunities.

Webinar recording (in Spanish)

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 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