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The blue bioeconomy is developing rapidly in Europe and benefits from strong research support and stakeholder involvement, but innovation is not equal everywhere in the EU.

The pilot study developed in Southern Italy, is related to the valorisation of fish processing residuals and algae for industrial applications (e.g., cosmetics, nutraceuticals). Beside the quality of the biomass produced from the most important value chains (aquaculture, fishery, processing sectors), is well known and the protocols for bioactive compounds production were scaled up at pilot level, the bottlenecks are represented by the lack of infrastructures and governance measures/business models for collection, stocking and selling of marine by-products.

A gap in the connection between production and end-users (e.g., companies in the sector of cosmetics, nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals) is recognized.

Pilot Regions: Italy mask mask mask


Currently, the blue biotechnology sector in the Mediterranean area is at an early stage but it has great potential for development. The sector needs support in terms of policies, national and regional funding and marketing operations. The importance of the blue biotechnology sector is given by its great potential in many different areas, playing an important role in achieving sustainable goals and in particular one of its application areas includes the valorisation of fishery and aquaculture by-products (generated from fish processing) and wastes (fish by-catch).

Funding and investment
At Italian level, there are no programmes dedicated to the blue growth, reflecting the lack of a uniform national strategy for the development of this sector. However, the central role of blue biotechnology is recognised in the Italian Strategy for the Bioeconomy, which considers the integrated exploitation of marine biological resources and by-products from fishery and aquaculture, as an opportunity to increase environmental sustainability, circular economy and the development of the pharmaceuticals, cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals sectors. The Sicilian Region has beneficiated from the so called “FEAMP”, European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, for the EU's maritime and fisheries policies for 2014-2020, representing one of the five European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) which complement each other to deliver more jobs, welfare and growth in the EU.
All the described activities contribute to strengthen EU and international science-policy interconnections to meet the green deal challenges and to achieve some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular the 12th and the 14th.
The norms for using the EMFF are set out in Regulation (EU) No 508/2014. The EMFF contributes in achieving the objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth established by the European Commission in the Europe 2020 Strategy and is part of the guidelines set forth by the Common Fisheries Policy and Blue Growth. The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operating Program is divided into six priorities, each involving a number of Operational Measures to support actions to support the sustainable growth of fisheries and aquaculture. The EMFF measures are described in Regulation (EU) No 508/2014, Articles 26 – 80
The potential for innovation and competition for blue biotechnology sector in Italy can be identified in many fields: - Development of new productive sectors from sustainable use of marine by-products for industrial applications. - Higher awareness of stakeholders along the bio-based value chain; - Increased opportunities to develop skilled jobs and small-scale establishments in the bioeconomy, thus helping to revitalise local communities; - Increased opportunities created by the local bio-based economy within broader bioeconomy transition, e.g. by linking valorisation of ecosystem with sustainable biomass production, processing, product design and manufacture, circular economy and upcycling.
Talent and workforce development
In Italy, the potential of the bioeconomy is still hampered by barriers in governance models not allowing stakeholders to benefit from the bioeconomy innovation. New governance models are needed with public administrations moving beyond traditional working methods In order to increase opportunities to develop skilled jobs and small-scale establishments in the bioeconomy, thus helping to revitalise local communities and to increase opportunities created by the local bio-based economy within broader bioeconomy transition, pilot regions demonstration will be performed by workshop, training, seminars.