On November 15, 2022, the European Commission adopted the Communication “Towards a strong and sustainable EU algae sector’’ — a pioneering initiative to unlock the potential of algae in the European Union.
The Communication proposes 23 actions to create opportunities for the industry to help it grow into a “robust, sustainable and regenerative sector capable of meeting the growing EU demand.”
The EU is one of the biggest importers of seaweed products globally, and the demand is expected to reach €9 billion in 2030, especially in food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and energy production.
23 actions to boost the algae sector
The 23 actions, intended to improve business environments, increase social awareness and acceptance of algae and algae-based products by consumers, and close the knowledge, research, and technology gaps include:
- developing a new algae farmers’ tool kit;
- facilitating access to marine space, identifying optimal sites for seaweed farming and including seaweed farming and sea multi-use in maritime spatial plans;
- together with the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), developing standards for algae ingredients and contaminants, as well as for algae biofuel;
- assessing the market potential, efficiency and safety of algae-based materials when used in fertilizing products;
- examining the algae market and proposing market-stimulating mechanisms to support the transfer of technology from research to market;
- funding pilot projects for career reorientation and supporting innovative SMEs (what are SMEs?) and projects in the algae sector;
- conducting studies and discussions to gain better knowledge, on seaweed climate change mitigation opportunities and the role of seaweed as blue carbon sinks;
- defining maximum levels of contaminants and iodine in algae;
- supporting, through Horizon Europe and other EU research programs, the development of new and improved algae processing systems, novel production methods and algae cultivation systems;
- promoting awareness-raising actions and analyzing availability of algae-related data.
The people and organizations active in the algae sector will be key partners for implementing the proposed actions. All those concerned are welcome to join the EU4Algae Forum launched by the Commission in February this year.
The Commission will discuss the 11/15/22 communication with the European Parliament and the Council. The Commission will coordinate putting the 23 actions into practice with the Member States, industry (e.g. via the EU4Algae Forum) and other relevant stakeholders.
The Commission will prepare a report assessing progress in implementing the Communication by the end of 2027.
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