Since Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in 2007, the EU has strengthened regional cooperation with and between the countries surrounding the Black Sea.
A collaborative approach to addressing Black Sea fisheries issues was underlined in the Bucharest Ministerial Declaration of 2016 and reinforced in the Sofia declaration of 2018. It addresses
- sustainability of marine sources
- better data collection
- improved scientific advice
- sustainable development of aquaculture
- compliance and fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing
The common maritime agenda for the Black Sea and the Black Sea strategic research and innovation agenda represent the most recent achievements in maritime affairs and blue economy.
Common maritime agenda for the Black Sea
In 2019 Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine endorsed the Bucharest ministerial declaration on the common maritime agenda for the Black Sea, a voluntary, bottom-up regional cooperation framework on maritime affairs and blue economy driven and owned by the 7 countries involved.
The overarching objective is to reinforce regional dialogue between countries and stakeholders to jointly address the challenges and opportunities of blue economy sectors in the area, ensuring environmental sustainability while fostering growth and promoting blue economy projects.
The 3 main goals are
- healthy marine and coastal ecosystems
- a competitive, innovative and sustainable blue economy
- fostering investment in the blue economy
Priorities and actions cover various cross sector issues
- environmental aspects
- fisheries and aquaculture
- green transport
- coastal and maritime tourism
- maritime entrepreneurship and clusters
- marine research
- innovative business models
- financial investment
- blue skills
- ocean literacy
The Black Sea Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda promotes research and innovation to enable sustainable growth in the region.
Achievements and financial opportunities
The common maritime agenda has recently launched its implementation phase. Through the Black Sea Assistance Mechanism, administrations and stakeholders in the region get support to identify common priorities for cooperation at sea basin level.
In addition, the Black Sea Virtual Knowledge Centre, managed by the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), provides a centralised platform for information on the blue economy in the Black Sea, supports synergies between stakeholders and blue economy related projects in the region. Both initiatives are financed by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).
Marine and maritime-related EU-funded projects in the Black Sea can be found across various policy areas and are financed by various EU funds. The Maritime Datahub created by EASME offers information on the ongoing projects in Black Sea.
Euronews Ocean: The Black Sea predators helping local fishing communities thrive
The invasive veined Rapa whelk has devastated bottom-dwelling populations of the Black Sea. This predator may threaten coastal waters all around Europe whilst also offering valuable employment in countries like Bulgaria, Romania and more.