Skip to main content
European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency
News article24 July 2023European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency5 min read

Promoting the sustainable blue economy: EMFAF Flagship call 2021 projects – a year on

A year after their kick-off, the seven flagship projects have achieved a lot. From developing cutting-edge technology to implementing ground-breaking solutions, these projects are making a significant impact in protecting the ocean.

EMFAF Flagship 2021 call projects

Our oceans are essential to the wellbeing of our societies, providing food, jobs, recreation, and natural beauty. However, climate change, pollution, and overfishing pose a threat to the marine ecosystems, which are critical to the health of our planet. To address these challenges, the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) granted over 5.5 million euros (under EMFAF Flagship call 2021 call for proposals)  to seven innovative and sustainable projects focused on maritime tourism, renewable energy, aquaculture, and Black Sea blue economy investment.

A year after their kick-off, the seven flagship projects have achieved a lot. From developing cutting-edge technology to implementing ground-breaking solutions, these projects are making a significant impact in protecting the ocean. Join us as we delve into the world of sustainable blue economy, and explore the exciting advancements made by these remarkable projects beginning with the those championing innovative technological solutions in European waters.

FLORA - FLOating RAdar

The FLORA project is currently developing an ocean station prototype powered by solar and wave energy that helps reduce the environmental impacts of human activities on ocean species by providing robust scientific data on marine animals for biodiversity conservation. The station, equipped with a radar-enabled device, collects information on seabirds. This increases the quality of environmental impact assessments for offshore wind arrays by eliminating the random sampling estimations and extrapolation processes. The high-quality data combined with MSP is a game changer for the mitigation of negative impacts of offshore and coastal development on seabirds and other marine species.  

Duration: 24 months (01.06.2022 – 31.05.2024)

EU contribution: € 990,180.24


AquaWind - Innovative multi-use prototype combining offshore renewable energy and aquaculture in the Atlantic Basin

In a similar vein, the AquaWind project exemplifies how collaborative thinking and innovation can result in sustainable solutions for complex problems. This exciting initiative involves the development of a floating platform that not only supports a wind turbine (the W2Power prototype) but also provides facilities for aquaculture. The platform includes tanks for fish farming, as well as equipment for monitoring water quality and fish health. This multi-purpose prototype has the potential to address societal challenges such as energy security, food security, and climate change adaptation by promoting clean energy and healthy food production while protecting marine ecosystems.

Duration: 36 months (01.09.2022 – 31.08.2025)

EU contribution: € 1,066,884.16


The impacts of the covid-19 pandemic were hard felt by the maritime tourism sector. Nonetheless, this challenging situation presents an opportunity to rebuild the industry to be more sustainable and resilient. To achieve this goal, the ECO-CRUISING FU_TOUR, REBOOT MED, and EU WeMED_NaTOUR projects have stepped up to the plate.

REBOOT MED - Recovering, Experiencing and Boosting eco-tourism in the WestMed area

REBOOT MED is committed to strengthening the coastal and maritime tourism sector by creating awareness of its competitiveness and sustainability. Through the promotion of asset-based development that stimulate SMEs in tourism, the project aims to support sustainable tourism in the Mediterranean region for years to come. Their goal is to share the lessons learned at the local and Western Mediterranean level and establish cross-border and interregional cooperation to develop replicable action plans for the recovery of tourism services in coastal and island territories.

Duration: 24 months (01.09.2022 – 31.08.2024)

EU contribution: € 796,683.46


EU WeMED_NaTOUR - EU West Mediterranean NaTOUR

Focusing on the promotion of sustainable tourism in the Western Mediterranean, WeMED_NaTOUR comes in with the objectives of protecting the regions natural and cultural heritage and increasing the competitiveness of the sector.  In response to the market demand for educational tourism offers, the project is set to design and pilot a series of packages for sustainable school-trip tourism addressed to primary and secondary schools. Secondary school students of 3 different age groups (6-10 years; 11-13 years; 14-16 years) will travel to West Mediterranean marine sites and coastal destinations characterised by their exceptional landscapes, cultural identities, and ecosystems to participate in marine preservation activities.

Duration: 28 months (01.07.2022 – 31.10.2024)

EU contribution: € 796,683.46



The aim of the ECO-CRUISING FU_TOUR project is to increase managerial skills in the cruising industry, particularly in areas such as digital technology, sustainability, and environmentally friendly practices. The project hopes to create eco-friendly cruising packages that will appeal to younger generations, while also reducing the negative impact that large groups of visitors can have on the environment. The packages are designed to encourage nature-based tourism, and participants will be encouraged to use alternative means of zero-impact transport wherever possible. Overall, the project aims to promote appreciation and conservation of both environment and culture while also promoting sustainable tourism practices.

Duration: 28 months (01.09.2022 - 1.12.2024)

EU contribution: € 792,177.80


Our final two projects are driving innovation and digitalisation in blue economy sectors through the implementation of the Common Maritime Agenda for the Black Sea – endorsed by Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.

4BIZ - Boosting the Blue Economy in the Black Sea Region by Initiating a Business Collaboration Framework in the field of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Coastal and Maritime Tourism and Maritime Transport

The 4BIZ project aims to develop a framework for EU and non-EU Black Sea countries to collaborate in the fields of fisheries, aquaculture, coastal and maritime tourism, and maritime transport. The project aims to develop solutions that are tailored to the specific needs of each sector. 4BIZ will contribute to boosting blue businesses and to identify and tackle local capacity building needs to promote innovation, digitalisation and investment in the Black Sea blue economy.

Duration: 24 months (01.06.2022 – 31.05.2024)

EU contribution: € 510,484.15


DBAN - Digital Blue economy and innovation Acceleration Network

The DBAN project is creating a network to accelerate digital blue innovations and support SMEs in their transitions towards sustainable resource management. The project is working to mobilise knowledge, partnerships, and funding for the development of the blue economy in the three partner regions. To encourage blue economy growth, the project identifies coastal and maritime tourism, maritime transport, marine renewable energies, the prevention of marine litter and preservation of marine resources as the key areas for intervention at the Black Sea Basin level.

Duration: 24 months (01.07.2022 – 30.06.2024)

EU contribution: € 414,797.88


These seven EMFAF-funded projects support the implementation of the European Green Deal objectives, the Digital Agenda and the EU Communication on Sustainable Blue Economy. These initiatives are examples of dynamism and success with their innovative solutions that ensure the EU continues to be at the forefront of the technology and environmental policy arenas.