The Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment has participated in Tunisia in a follow-up meeting of the project “Conservation of sustainable artisanal ecosystems and fisheries in the Mediterranean basin (ECOSAFIMED)”, a cross-border cooperation initiative, coordinated by Spain and co-financed by the European Union, in which Tunisia and Italy also participate.

During the meeting, held on 3 and 4 February at the National Institute of Marine Sciences and Technologies of Tunisia, representatives of Tunisia and Spain have advanced in the planning of the next oceanographic campaigns in the African country, which have as their fundamental objective the identification of the habitats of the seabed, for which researchers from the ICM-CSIC have collaborated through the development of sampling methodologies and techniques.

Likewise, the meetings that will be held with the fishermen’s guilds that have as their fundamental objective the presentation of the project and its involvement in the development of the same, as well as the delivery of different informative materials elaborated within the framework of the project, have been planned.

The ECOSAFIMED project is part of the European ENPI Mediterranean Basin Programme and promotes responsible practices in artisanal fisheries and the conservation of benthic ecosystems in the Mediterranean riparian regions. To this end, it provides for the study of different marine areas through oceanographic campaigns. In the case of Spain, areas of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands are studied.

In Tunisia, ECOSAFIMED officials also met with the European Commission’s National Contact Point in Tunis and with other Tunisian authorities responsible for managing funds for Tunisia.

ECOSAFIMED, coordinated by the Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry, has a budget of about two million euros, co-financed by the ENPI CBC MED Program 2007-2013 of the European Commission, and in it participate the Institute of Marine Sciences of the Higher Council for Scientific Research ICM-CSIC, the National Institute of Marine Sciences and Technologies of Tunisia and the University of Genoa.