15/06/2015

Challenges for the integrated maritime policy in the Mediterranean sea

MED MARITIME PROJECTS FINAL CONFERENCE

“Challenges for the Integrated Maritime Policy for the Mediterranean Sea” was a conference organized by the Government of Catalonia in the framework of the COM&CAP MarInA-Med project (Med Programme 2007-2013), aiming at discussing the enhancement of the Integrated Maritime Policy and approach in the Mediterranean.

The conference was the joint closure of the 14 Med Maritime projects selected under the “integrated maritime approach” call of the MED Programme (2007-2013), with the aim to present the conclusions and recommendations of the 13 Med Maritime Projects gathered in the COM&CAP MarInA-Med Policy Paper to the main beneficiaries, policy-makers and stakeholders.

The main technical discussion was held in a challenging and innovative way, gathering together the expertise of the Med Maritime Projects representatives and experts, of EU Institutions (European Commission, European Parliament, and the Committee of the Regions), the Union for the Mediterranean, and the audience composed by national, regional and local authorities, port managing authorities, fishing industry and tourism sector representatives and entrepreneurs.

The presentation of capitalized results for the promotion of the need to establish the Mediterran ean as a priority area of action for sustainable socio-economic development and environmental pressures mitigation allowed an efficient awareness raising towards the participating EU Institutions. Their representatives indeed gave a thorough feedback on these results, underlining from the part of the Union for the Mediterranean the necessity to promote dialogue with regards to maritime policies in the frame of the blue economy between the regions of the whole of the Mediterranean. innovative way, gathering together the expertise of the

 Med Maritime Projects representatives and experts, of EU Institutions (European Commission, European Parliament, and the Committee of the Regions), the Union for the Mediterranean, and the audience composed by national, regional and local authorities, port managing authorities, fishing industry and tourism sector representatives and entrepreneurs.

The projects emphasized on the one hand that in terms of facing the environmental impacts of human activities in the Mediterranean basin, an enhanced management of the expected growth in maritime economic sectors such as tourism, shipping and maritime transport, blue energy or sea bed mining—minimizing as far as possible their environmental impacts—is greatly needed. On the other hand, fishing is an economic sector that is facing several issues such as climate change, maritime pollution, a stronger EU regulatory frame (obligation of landing all catches), the exploitation of fish stocks at maximum sustainable yield (MSY), the need to renew fisheries fleets, and the decrease of fishermen’s’ incomes. In this respect, the promotion of the co-management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) - through the participation of small-scale fishermen representatives in its governance - could allow a sustainable use of fisheries resources and the increase of fisheries incomes.

Moreover, fishing tourism – which is still in its infancy due to structural and legal barriers - should be boosted as a sector with a huge economic potential at the Med level. 

In this frame, clearly emerges the need for integrated, multilevel, multidimensional and transversal governance based both on a multilevel Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Zone Management, but also on the promotion of maritime clusters as key tools to boost coordination and cooperation between economic activities of the sea in terms of sustainable impacts. Another important issue to tackle at basin level will be the development of a better cross-cutting knowledge in support of maritime policies based on more accessible, harmonized and interoperable data.

As a pilot horizontal project with the responsibility to perform the communication and capitalization activities of the 13 other Med Maritime Projects, the implementation of COM&CAP MarInA-Med was praised while addressing valuable recommendations to the Med Cooperation Programme for the future implementation of horizontal projects during its upcoming 2014-2020 calls.

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