The majority of BIOEAST water bodies has worse than good status the new EU mission is an opportunity for the BIOEAST macro-region

The BIOEAST Initiative fully acknowledges the importance of fresh water in production value chains of the countries located in the BIOEAST macro-region a dedicate Thematic working group (TWG) was established. With the support of the BIOEASTsUP project both thematic study and thematic SRIA were developed by experts in close cooperation with policy makers.

Panel discussion of the BIOEAST macro regional Thematic Working Group focused on Freshwater-based Bioeconomy and EU Mission Restore our Ocean & Waters took place during the High level international BIOEAST Congress – Setting up a research and innovation agenda for the BIOEAST Macro-Region. The TWG Leader Marie Kubankova (BIOEAST HUB CZ) set the scene introducing achievements and challenges with a focus to both the Thematic SRIA, involvement of the TWG into the ongoing projects ShapingBIO and DALIA, the latter supported in the Danube Lighthouse.
Vesna Neskovic (University of Novi Sad Faculty of Agriculture, Novi Sad) member of the TWG representing Serbia presented the opportunities to advance upon identified priorities summarized in the thematic SRIA in the new Horizon Europe calls. She underlined the great advantage we have since there is the EU Mission Restore Oceans and Water, that is the base for the project activities. Also, she mentioned that SRIA priorities can be funded through EU Mission Adaptation to Climate Change and the Cluster 6. Vesna mentioned that many TWG members can be beneficial partners in the upcoming open call that deals with sediments in the Danube basin – Black Sea region.
Bela Halasi-Kovacs (Hungarian University of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Research Centre for Fisheries and Aquaculture) member of the TWG representing Hungary introduced the importance of freshwater-based bioeconomy, in which the freshwater aquaculture can be a flagship sector. The aquaculture in BIOEAST Macro-Region is the most diverse production systems, where the pond aquaculture has thousand-year tradition. A lesson should be learnt about circularity by this traditional method, but there is also good opportunity to sustainable intensification and introduce new biobased systems, like freshwater IMTA, on its basis. Treatment of side streams and wastes of intensive aquaculture systems means challenges, however circular approach can provide exciting solutions to utilization both in the sector and inter-sectoral ways.
Agnieszka Napiórkowska-Krzebietke (S. Sakowicz Inland Fisheries Institute) member of the TWG representing Poland summarized key findings of the Thematic Study that she developed,
primarily the emerging issues with water quality and the need to improve monitoring technologies.
Alena Vlasic (Croatian Water) member of the TWG representing Croatia „Alena Vlasic (Croatian Water), member of the TWG representing Croatia pointed out that Croatian Water, as a legal entity for water management in Croatia, has been involved in a number of projects related to the protection of the Danube river basin as a partner or associated partner and that they are an active member of the ICPDR – The International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River. Alena added that Croatian Water will support any project related to the mentioned topics and believes this thematic working group has a lot of potential to act as a macro-regional network, influencing both policies and academia, by bringing national initiatives together.
The discussion encouraged the auditorium to take part, Zuzana Boukalova took the opportunity and presented in more details the Dalia project, in particular the possibility to get funding to replicate demo projects that will be developed.
Marie Kubankova concluded that there is a need for this TWG and the BIOEAST Iniative to get involved in the new EU Mission and the Danube Lighthouse as it is providing opportunities for closer collaboration between policy makers involved in the fresh water related issues and also for demo projects bringing innovative solutions for freshwater. As the the implementation of any agenda related to these issues is scattered, while several ministries and entities are engaged, TWG Fresh Water Based Bioeconomy and the BIOEAST Iniative is planning an event focused on merging national funding to scale up the results from the Danube Lighthouse project.