On February 20, the European Commission issued a call for proposals for the development of a prototype fishing vessel project with modern propulsion technologies and innovative energy solutions. The European Union has allocated €2.2 million for this purpose. This experimental project aims to modernize fishing vessels through the use of alternative energy sources, and thus is expected to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and underwater noise, and increase the economic efficiency of the fishing industry. The initiative opens up new prospects for the future of European fisheries, striving for a balance between environmental protection and economic development.

Project implementation

A pilot project, it aims to develop and test a prototype ship using alternative energy sources. The initiative is a step toward decarbonizing the maritime industry and increasing its economic resilience. It also aims to confirm the feasibility of new technologies and highlight the pluses of reducing the use of fossil fuels.

The project will be implemented through an open call for proposals initiative, managed by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Climate, Infrastructure and Environment. The competition is open to all interested parties and will run until June 11, 2024. This is a unique opportunity for potential applicants, including representatives of the fishing industry, NGOs, scientists and other interested parties, to present their innovative ideas and projects that can contribute to the sustainable development of the sector. In order to support potential applicants in the application process, the EACEA has been working on the application process. The Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Council will hold an information session on March 18, 2024. The purpose of this event is to provide participants with detailed information on the initiative, including project selection criteria, application procedures and expected results.

The information session will be a unique opportunity to get clear explanations of competition requirements, which is crucial for preparing effective and formally correct applications. Participants will also have the opportunity to receive expert advice from the EACEA. The Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Councils can significantly increase the chances of success for their projects. In addition, the event provides an excellent platform for building partnerships and exchanging experiences among various stakeholders interested in supporting the sustainable development of the fisheries sector.

Funding for the call for proposals is made possible by EU Pilot project funds. To participate in the competition, applicants are required to submit documents through an electronic system, which is located on the Funding & Tenders platform. The system provides an efficient and transparent application process, allowing all interested parties easy access to the necessary information and tools needed to apply. The results will be announced at the end of the third quarter of 2024.

Modernizing fishing vessels: why is it important?

The increase in fuel prices in 2021 and 2022 has had a significant impact on the European fishing fleet, posing serious economic challenges. High operating costs, due in large part to dependence on fossil fuels, are not only straining the finances of fishing companies, but also increasing their carbon footprint, contrary to global and European environmental goals. The European fishing fleet, generating some 4.3 million tons ofCO2 equivalent annually, is at the center of the need to transform to more sustainable practices. This change is necessary not only to protect the environment, but also to ensure the long-term viability and stability of the fishing industry.

The European Union, aiming to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, has pledged to promote sustainability in all economic sectors, including fisheries. Supporting this process is therefore an important part of the EU’s strategy. Investments in new technologies, such as alternative fuel vessels, energy efficiency systems and innovative fishing methods, are aimed at reducing dependence on fossil fuels, lowering CO2 and improving the economic efficiency of the fleet.

The transition to sustainable energy sources in the fisheries sector also means increasing Europe’s strategic autonomy by reducing dependence on volatile fossil fuel markets and foreign energy suppliers. In the face of global challenges such as climate change and geopolitical tensions affecting energy prices, such measures are essential to ensure energy security and economic stability for the fishing industry.

In addition, these investments are part of the Union’s broader goals of promoting a pollution-free economy and increasing the sustainable use of natural resources. By fostering innovation and sustainable practices, the EU aims to create a more resilient and greener fishing industry that can meet future challenges and contribute to global environmental goals. In this context, supporting the transition to sustainable energy sources is not only a response to current economic and environmental challenges, but also an investment in the future of the fisheries sector.

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