Making the most of sponge Marine organisms, such as sponges, have been identified as having key pharmaceutical potential. However, their systematic study and exploitation are hampered by supply limitations and environmental concerns. The NOMATEC project sought to develop non-degrading technologies facilitating the sustainable exploitation and protection of Mediterranean marine species. Climate Change and Environment © PhotoDisc NOMATEC research has resulted in the development of ERCON (Electrochemical Reef Construction) technology. ERCON has been utilized to facilitate the farming of substrate-dependant species like sponges, corals and algae. The variety of applications of sponges in the pharmaceutical and health/beauty industry render mariculture technologies like ERCON particularly important. Long-scale studies of the potential of sponges and the identification of pharmaceutically relevant compounds cannot be realised without adequate material supplies. The ERCON technology goes a long way towards addressing this issue and can be further utilized by companies active in the production and marketing of marine natural products. According to NOMATEC researchers, ERCON could also be applied towards the development of coastal reef structures as part of coastal redevelopment plans across the Mediterranean. Furthermore, ERCON can be specifically used for the restoration of the Posidonia sea grass beds across the Mediterranean sea. The ERCON technology was developed as part of a larger framework, aimed at identifying environmentally friendly mariculture techniques. The applications of the technology are numerous and could benefit the pharmaceutical industry as well as the ecological balance of European fisheries and ecosystems.