Principal investigator: Jonne Kotta, jonne.kotta [ät] ut.ee
Duration of the project: 2019 January – 2021 June
Project type: R&D project
Finace program: Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme
Budget: 245 500,00 EUR
GRASS - Growing Algae Sustainably in the Baltic Sea
Macroalgae production is an upcoming sector for growing biomass for producing food, consumables such as plastics and energy without competing for arable land, depleting fresh water and using non-renewable fertiliser. However, the sector is still in its infancy in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) and there is a lack of in-depth and wide-spread knowledge on the potential benefits of macroalgae production. To deal with this challenge, GRASS aims to raise awareness and build capacity on macroalgae cultivation, harvesting and use among public authorities (PAs) and other relevant stakeholders across the BSR. PAs, ministries, planning regions and counties play a crucial role in promoting macroalgae as they are the main legislative bodies that also control much of national and regional funding.
Project activities will be implemented within three work packages that run parallel and feed into each other, covering environmental, regulatory and socio-economic aspects of macroalgae production in the BSR, including:
̶ Assessing the potential and implications of macroalgae cultivation and harvesting in the BSR by collecting and analysing environmental data, identifying suitable sites and efficient production methods
̶ looking at current gaps in legislation and regulation to unlock the potential of sustainable production and use of macroalgae (e.g. food), through knowledge transfer activities and guiding materials for PAs
̶ highlighting the socio-economic benefits and opportunities of macroalgae cultivation, harvesting and use in different regions in the BSR, and developing a decision support tool for macroalgae production.
The activities will be supported by 1) extensive stakeholder involvement through regional dialogue meetings, 2) three transnational Working Groups operating across the WPs to analyse complex transnational issues and 3) a transnational conference to bring together and transfer knowledge among relevant stakeholders in the Baltic Sea regions.
Outputs of GRASS include maps illustrating the suitable sites for cultivation, as well as spatial planning synergies and conflicts, a tool for assessing the nutrient uptake capacity from the sea, a best practice guide on the licensing process for macroalgae production and use in the BSR, and a handbook that brings together all outputs from the three work packages, including training materials for PAs. The outputs will mainly be used by regional and national public authorities such as environmental and planning agencies, which are directly involved as project partners and will integrate project results into their daily work. Other target groups are practitioners, research institutes and NGOs in the field of sustainable blue growth. Through raise awareness, capacity building among PAs, GRASS will result in a demand for macroalgae and unlock the potential of macroalgae production and application sectors in the BSR, thus contributing to the Programme objective of increasing resource-efficient blue growth.
Project homepage https://www.submariner-network.eu/grass