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Inter-regional network to promote sustainable development in the marine algal industry (NETALGAE)
Start date: Dec 31, 2009, End date: Dec 30, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The macroalgae industry is mainly based on harvesting of natural resources of macroalgae. Worldwide macroalgae production increases by 5.7% every year, in 2008 nearly 14 mill tons of macroalgae was produced from capture and aquaculture. In Europe the production has decreased in the last 10 years. The further expansion of the industry depends on sustainable increased access to raw material, development of valuable products and the transfer of expertise between developed and less developed regions. Achievements: Therefore, the NETALGAE project has created a European network of relevant stakeholders within the marine macroalgae sector. Compilation of information from different regions has resulted in a wide ranging policy study of existing practices within the macroalgae industry. Analysis of the results has established a best practice model and suggested policies for the successful, sustainable and commercial utilization of marine macroalgae resources.By creating this diverse network, significant progress has been made towards developing industrial, commercial and scientific links and fostering a culture of trade and co-operation between partners. A series of business tools has been developed: web-based communication portal, trade directory, training and development manuals. The project has established technology transfer initiatives and supported the formation of a European representative body for entities trading in macroalgae resources and products.Three European macroalgae conferences were organized that have focused on bringing together industry, policy makers, environmentalists and regulators with a view to developing asustainable vibrant industrial macroalgae sector across the Atlantic seaboard.At present there are problems in Ireland, the United Kingdom, France (Bretagne and Normandie) and Spain (Galicia and Pais Vasco) with a lack of policies and administrative tools to support the necessary environmental research, sustainability management, industry representation and commercial development tools to support macroalgae industries. Therefore, national and regional development policies and regulatory environments were studied, in order to identify a development model of good practices for regions to adopt as standard procedure to develop strong industries, environmentally sustainable and economically viable, based on the utilization of native marine macroalgae resources.
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