Among the sectors contributing to marine pollution, fishing and aquaculture play an important role. Used nets, traps and longlines end up abandoned floating or at the bottom of the seas for years, damaging the ecosystem.

For islands located in southern Europe, such as those belonging to the Macaronesia region and the Mediterranean, a good relationship with their sea is essential for their livelihood. Indeed, the so-called blue economy is an important part of life for most of their communities.

The project “BLUE-ISLES” (Full title: “Supporting fishing waste reduction and marine systems preservation in European islands and coastal areas”) was born out of the need to preserve marine ecosystems and not to ruin the fragile economy of these communities.

The project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, started in January 2022 with the kick off meeting that was held online, and for two years will be dedicated to achieving the following objectives:

  • Counteracting the abandonment of fishing gear
  • Empowering local fisheries and aquaculture workers to protect their local marine ecosystem
  • Providing lifelong learning opportunities for island communities
  • Supporting municipal employees in charge of environmental protection in overcoming barriers and helping
    fisheries and aquaculture workers to adopt sustainable solutions
  • Increase public and stakeholder awareness

In addition to the coordinators of Epsilon Malta, a company representing excellence in the field of strategies and solutions for environmental and climate change prevention, the project involves the TDM 2000 ODV Association, which is coordinating the project for Italy, and 4 other entities: European Profiles and Aegean Rebreath, organisations active in the creation of effective management solutions and environmental protection in Greece, Icadepro, a training organisation based in Spain’s Canary Islands, and the University of Cyprus.

BLUE-ISLES plans to produce a series of products that will support the preservation of the marine ecosystem in the countries involved and in Europe by improving the management of waste from fishing and aquaculture:

  • A transnational report on the knowledge and attitudes of fisheries and aquaculture workers on innovative sustainable approaches in their sector
  • A training package to support local fisheries and aquaculture workers in adopting sustainable practices in their work
  • An online platform to support ‘blue sustainability’ training activities
  • A series of podcasts to raise awareness on reducing waste from fishing activities and preserving marine environmental systems
  • A series of recommendations for the creation of policies to set up waste collection stations in European island ports

Should you want more information, you can keep updated about the project on Twitter: @Blueisles1 and contact us for more information at [email protected].