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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency
News article19 May 2022European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency

5 LIFE projects conserving marine areas 

European Maritime Day 2022 is happening today and tomorrow in Ravenna, Italy. This year's central theme is ‘Sustainable blue economy for green recovery’. 

LIFE12 ENV/ES/000079
LIFE12 ENV/ES/000079/Cram Foundation. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

The LIFE Programme and CINEA will feature in workshops, pitching sessions and stands during the two-day event. 

To celebrate EMD 2022, discover how LIFE has protected marine areas. 

Cutting plastic bag use in Greece 

In the EU, more than eight million plastic bags end up as litter every year. LIFE DEBAG raised awareness in Greece about plastic bag pollution in the marine environment, reaching around 600 000 people with its media and education campaign. Voluntary agreements to reduce plastic bag consumption were signed with 215 shops on the island of Syros and with Greece's major supermarket chains. Thanks to the project, plastic bags decreased by 80% on Syros' surveyed beaches and 60% on the seafloor.  

Keeping the noise down  

Ships make a lot of noise, mostly from their propellers. Among other actions, the LIFE PIAQUO team developed two quieter test propellers, which they tested on vessels in the northeast Mediterranean. With the average noise level in the busiest seas up by some 20dB over the past 50 years, this is welcome news for marine mammals, fish and turtles, which are negatively impacted by the high acoustic levels.  

Saving the sea turtle 

TARTALIFE reduced the number of sea turtles caught up in fishing nets along 15 Italian coastal areas. They encouraged 1 290 local fishers to use circular hooks instead of traditional sharper ones. This reduced the number of sea turtles being caught by up to 40%. The team also used ultraviolet-LED lamps as a deterrent, collapsible fish pots to replace nets, and special turtle excluder devices, which stopped turtles from being accidentally captured.  

Using seagrass in homes 

Traditional building materials such as concrete, firebrick and petrochemical insulation produce a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. The team behind LIFE REUSING POSIDONIA used dried Posidonia oceanica seagrass as an effective and inexpensive thermal insulation in 14 social housing units for poor and disadvantaged people on the Balearic island of Formentera. This local, traditional, and environmentally friendly construction method reduced emissions by 60%, cut energy use by 75%, and water by 60%.  

Saving an ancient fish species 

Sturgeons have existed for 250 million years but are today the most endangered fish globally due to the enormous gains from the caviar trade. The LIFE for Danube Sturgeons team achieved substantial improvements for sturgeons in cooperation with fishers, enforcement authorities and retailers in the Lower Danube Region. For example, 24 fishers were trained in scientific sturgeon monitoring in Bulgaria. In the entire project region, fishers started releasing sturgeon bycatch and reporting it to authorities. Also, the legal protection of sturgeons in Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine was improved through targeted capacity building.  

These five LIFE projects support the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive

Find out more  

LIFE conserves marine protected areas infographic 

LIFE and marine pollution infographic