EU research results


English EN


BG-01-2015 - Improving the preservation and sustainable exploitation of Atlantic marine ecosystems

Specific Challenge:The North Atlantic is a key marine region that encompasses ecologically and biologically important and fragile ecosystems (e.g. deep cold-water corals) and provides goods and services essential for our well-being such as regulating climate. Furthermore, a decade long international investment in instrumenting and quantifying the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation provides a robust foundation upon which large process studies can be built to study the biogeochemistry and biodiversity that controls growth at the base of the ocean food web. Such studies can inform a mechanistic understanding of element and energy flow in the system, which are important to modeling, predicting future changes in such things as ocean atmosphere feedback loops and sustainable yields for fisheries. The exploitation of aquatic living resources in the North Atlantic has been a key driver for growth and wealth creation in several coastal areas. However, the biodiversity and functioning of this fragile environment as well as the products and services they provide are currently under threat. Addressing these pressures cost-effectively, requires a strengthened knowledge base, improved innovation and predictive capacity and the development of adaptive management plans for sustainable exploitation and use of the marine resources.

Scope: Proposals should fill in knowledge gaps to deepen the understanding of the biogeographic patterns, biodiversity, biogeochemistry and ecosystem services and goods supported by different marine ecosystems at ocean basin and management relevant scales and the capacity to model, understand and predict shifts in the dynamics of North Atlantic ecosystems, thereby supporting preservation and unlocking the potential for the sustainable production of new products and industrial applications. Decision support tools and methodologies should be developed to support adaptive (ecosystem based) management approaches enabling good governance of the North Atlantic marine ecosystem by the bordering countries so as to secure the sustainable exploitation of the living resources whilst ensuring its preservation. The work may draw upon related research expertise that has been developed within other sea basins. Proposals should also develop genuinely cross-disciplinary, integrated, systemic approaches – including the socio-economic dimension, as well as the engagement of the broader stakeholder communities. In line with the objectives of the EU strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012) 497), proposals should contribute to implementing the Transatlantic Research Alliance, launched by the Galway Statement[1] on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation in May 2013, and should benefit from the inclusion of partners from the United States of America and Canada[2]. Cooperation is also encouraged with other international partners.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 8–12 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

  • Improve resources management (ecosystem approach) and governance to preserve them and unlock their potential for the sustainable production of the new products and industrial applications.
  • Improve cooperation among EU Member States with respect to Atlantic ecosystem based research as well as with International partner countries
  • Contribute to the implementation of the EU Integrated Maritime Policy, its environmental pillar the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), The Common Fisheries policy (CFP), the EU 'Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic Ocean Area'[3], and the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation.
  • Contribute to the implementation of international agreements to conserve Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems[4] and Ecologically or Biologically Sensitive Areas[5].

Type of action: Research and innovation actions


[2] This is without prejudice to the general rules on the funding of legal entities from third-countries, as set in part A of the annex to the work programme.

[3] COM(2011) 782 final

[4] UN Resolution 61/105

[5] Convention on Biological Diversity