Proposals should integrate and improve the technical viability of the current production systems for Mediterranean aquaculture, including biological and operational aspects, using new and cost-effective innovative technologies and practices to ensure the sector's sustainability and growth. In particular, proposals should substantially improve current key performance indicators (KPI) used for the principal Mediterranean species: growth rates, mortality and feed efficiency. They should also develop tools for marker-assisted selection and look at Mediterranean aquaculture market development, to develop strategic marketing plans for the promotion, product development and commercialisation of Mediterranean aquaculture production in new and existing markets. Where appropriate, proposals should make use of national and international research infrastructure programmes and services such as the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service, to better support a regional management approach. The participation of SMEs that will benefit from the intellectual property and/or from the commercial use of the project outcomes is encouraged.
In line with the objective of the EU Strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation (COM (2012) 497), proposals should contribute to implementing the Research and Innovation Initiative for Blue Jobs and Growth in the Mediterranean Area [The "Research and Innovation Initiative for Blue Jobs and Growth in the Mediterranean Area (The BLUEMED Initiative)" aims to advance a shared vision of a Mediterranean Sea that is healthy, productive, resilient, understood and valued so as to promote the well-being and prosperity of our citizens and future generations and boost socio economic growth and jobs. It was jointly developed by Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain and presented by the Italian Presidency during the Competitiveness Council of 04-05 December 2014.].
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 7 million would allow this challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Projects funded under this topic will by default participate in the Pilot on Open Research Data in Horizon 2020, with the option to opt-out, as described in the introduction.
Mediterranean aquaculture contributes to food security, employment and trade in the region. Its competitiveness can be increased by improving its technical performance together with a shift from production-oriented growth to market-oriented and consumer responsive approach. To ensure sustainable growth of the Mediterranean aquaculture industry, farms must operate not only in ideal economic and environmental conditions but also in a socially and culturally responsible manner.
To improve the competitiveness of EU Mediterranean aquaculture production, proposals will have to:
- Consolidate Mediterranean aquaculture production for key species towards a commercial scale through sustainable fish farming and valuable seafood production.
- Draw up solid marketing plans for local and regional production which will boost jobs and trade in the region.
- Develop a code of conduct and good practices and harmonised standards across the Mediterranean to promote responsible aquaculture practices in the region.
- Improve the image of aquaculture production systems and products supported by market-oriented production and a consumer responsive approach.
- Increase consumer awareness of high quality and safe products from Mediterranean aquaculture that certify freshness, traceability, animal welfare[[In line with the Council Directive 98/58/EC that lays down minimum standards for the protection of animals bred or kept for farming purposes, including fish and also with international organisations such as the Council of Europe and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) which have also issued recommendations and guidelines concerning fish welfare.]] and the sustainability of the systems.
- Support the implementation of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
- Improve the professional skills and competences of those working and being trained to work within the blue economy.