B-Blue participation in the GFCM meeting: "The status and future of seaweed farming in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea"
n 15 July 2021, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) organized a high-level forum to promote algae aquaculture in the Mediterranean, bringing together experts and stakeholders to discuss global and regional challenges, opportunities and trends. The forum had the main objective to increase awareness of GFCM riparian countries regarding the potential of seaweed farming and improve knowledge on the current status of the sector in the region
The B-Blue project partner from the Hellenic Center for Marine Research (HCMR) analyzed which are the main challenges in the development of the algae market in MED area and how the B-Blue project and the development of a Blue Biotechnology Hub in the basin will help to address them. As highlighted by the B-Blue partner, algae aquaculture production is one of the most promising value chains in the blue biotechnology sector of Mediterranean.
BBLUE has similar goals with the GFCM initiative and aims at gathering the key actors in the MED through joint transnational initiatives and the HUBs that will be created in 5 MED countries: -work with producers/research institutions, collect best practices in the field; -collaborate with the industry to understand the market prospects; -valorise achievements through project results; -create a digital platform for collaboration and mainly provide policy recommendations.
After the initial phase (studying) it was clear that: -it is difficult to have a clear view of the algae biomass produced as there are discrepancies between reported data; -pre-commercial farming projects for selected brown and red algae exist only in the Atlantic area and Northern Europe. In the MED area the extensive coastline and a well-established aquaculture sector offer suitable preconditions for developing large-scale cultivation of seaweed biomass. Main issues still needed to be solved: up-scaling of algae biomass production and the selection of suitable species for the MED area; adopting a more favorable legislation & regulatory /policy frameworks; funding IMTA systems and seaweed as nature based solutions for environmental remediation supporting ecosystem goods and services.
Algae have the potential to lead a systemic transition towards sustainable blue economy models that can address global challenges in food security, climate change and biodiversity. The benefits of algae exploitation range from a nutritious source of food for human consumption, to animal feed, low-emission biofuel, fertilizer, a substitute for bio-plastics, medicine, nature-based solution for climate regulation, carbon sequestration and eutrophication mitigation. Seaweed farming is among the best practices the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean GFCM is promoting towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the blue transformation of aquaculture and constitutes an integral part of the GFCM 2030 Strategy for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea under Target 3.
You can watch the recorded video (Passcode: GFCM721+) and listen to the B-Blue partner at 2.06.5