This topic aims at supporting the development of sustainable locally-led initiatives for regenerative ocean farming, accelerating their uptake, anticipating and planning necessary future investments. Activities will focus on assessing the technical and operational feasibility as well as the economic viability of site-specific community-driven regenerative ocean farming initiatives.
The “community-driven” approach under this topic puts strong emphasis on skills and capacity of coastal communities and relevant actors to manage the natural resources they depend upon in a sustainable way, as well as on the establishment of partnerships and cooperation to build local expertise and enhance knowledge that will support the community. This, in turn, will contribute to preserve and protect marine and coastal habitats, build climate change resilience, develop livelihood opportunities and stimulate investments.
Activities under this topic will, therefore, contribute to the achievement of Mission Objective 3 “Making the blue economy sustainable, carbon neutral and circular” by fostering technological, socio-economic and human-centric transformations in “blue” sectors in Europe whilst protecting and preserving blue natural capital (Mission Objective 1).
Regenerative ocean farming is a form of mariculture that involves restoration and regeneration of seaweed forest habitats and/or other marine habitats in nearshore or offshore ocean environment, following sustainable mariculture principles such as marine permaculture, with zero feeds and fertilisers inputs in the system, with the effect of sequestration of carbon and nutrients and restoration of coastal and marine ecosystems.
Regenerative ocean farming may include seaweed and/or combinations of seaweed, shellfish and/or other low trophic organisms.
Proposals will address all key issues concerning the technical, organisational, financial, environmental and socio-economic feasibility of new community-driven regenerative ocean farming initiatives in at least three sites, each located in a different Mission sea basin and will:
- demonstrate the technical and operational feasibility of site-specific regenerative ocean farming, with a focus on innovation and on sustainable and low impact harvesting methods and technologies;
- demonstrate the social and economic viability and relevance of regenerative ocean farming for related local communities;
- identify challenges and barriers, including legislative, regulatory and standard related issues, to the implementation of regenerative ocean farming and propose possible solutions;
- assess the site-specific socio-economic impact of community-driven regenerative ocean farming;
- assess market potential along the value chain and identify possible end-users/applications;
- assess the capacity of related ecosystem services to generate socio-economic value;
- develop and implement training and skill development actions involving local communities.
- In addition to environmental and climate-related impact, sustainability issues (e.g.: resources and energy use) should be integrated in the plans of the regenerative ocean farming initiatives. The integration of the gender dimension is to be considered.
- Projects should actively involve local stakeholders along the value chain, such as fishermen, SMEs and start-ups and relevant commercial actors, marine planners, coastal area inhabitants, local governments, indigenous groups, NGOs. Close cooperation with research organisations and academia is expected to provide sound scientific evidence as well as the implementation of open innovation approaches.
- Activities to build consensus and engagement should be included with the view to, ultimately, create strategic partnering opportunities for developing sustainable and scalable business models and ventures showing the potential to boost the wellbeing of coastal areas and their communities. For each site, activities will deliver thorough technical, organisational and financial plans underpinning the development of community-driven regenerative ocean farming initiatives.
- The project should build on the experience and results of previous projects financed through Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe, LIFE, INTERREG and other EU and national programmes, for instance GENIALG, as well as where appropriate on the activities and action of Fisheries Local Action groups.
- Actions to raise interest of philanthropic organisations are encouraged.
- SMEs, early-stage business and scale-ups involved in Mission projects entailing innovative, scalable and sustainable business ventures from traditional and emerging blue economy sectors are invited to join the BlueInvest community and benefit from the BlueInvest Fund. Proposals are expected to show how their activities and results will achieve the Mission’s objectives, in line with the timeframe of the Mission phases, i.e.: by 2025 for the ‘development and piloting’ phase and 2030 for the ‘deployment and upscaling phase’.
Projects are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
- Evidence-based business plans for the development of entrepreneurship and successful local community-driven regenerative ocean farming initiatives;
- Job creation and new skills development;
- Provision of new ecosystem services from marine and coastal ecosystems;
- Preserved local marine and costal ecosystems, biodiversity and genetic diversity;
- Increased resilience of coastal and marine areas to climate change and generation of positive climate change mitigation effects;
- Improved marine and coastal habitats, biodiversity and enhanced conservation capacity;
- Increased knowledge on impact of regenerative ocean farming on local marine and coastal environment conditions
Link to CMA Goals
Goal I: Healthy marine and coastal ecosystems / Priority 3: Support sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in the Black Sea