#MakeEUBlue Awards 2023: Celebrating Progress in Ocean Literacy in Europe
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#MakeEUBlue Awards 2023: Celebrating Progress in Ocean Literacy in Europe

The EU4Ocean Coalition on ocean literacy, supported by the European Commission (EC), is now nearly three years old. In continuation of its #MakeEUBlue campaign, EU4Ocean has organised a yearly contest – the #MakeEUBlue Awards – celebrating progress in ocean literacy in Europe. The Awards aim to raise awareness about the seas’ importance and encourage ocean literacy initiatives with long-term value.

The leading award is given to the initiative that best responded to the different criteria aligning with the EU4Ocean philosophy. The three EU4Ocean communities – EU4Ocean Platform, Youth4Ocean, and EU Network of Blue Schools – were encouraged to participate in the Awards.

The 3 main winners, chosen as Navy Blue, Classic Blue and Sky Blue for first, second and third place respectively, are:

1.     MedByCatch – Navy Blue Award

The MedByCatch project is developing a standardised multi-taxa approach to study and mitigate bycatch in the Mediterranean. Activities are implemented in the Mediterranean waters of Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Italy, and Croatia. The project aims to raise awareness on the issue of bycatch of vulnerable species and build support for actions that tackle this problem, as well as provide robust data on the impact of fishing operations on marine megafauna. The project was chosen based on its ambition towards a challenging issue that was translated into impressive results, operational focus, and a sea basin perspective.

2.     SOS for the Blue Planet – Classic Blue Award

The project, funded by the Italian Ministry of University and Research, aims to engage young students from different Schools in Foggia, a city in south Italy with high dropout rates, education poverty, social degradation, and juvenile delinquency. The main objective is to offer the opportunity to gain skills during a new active learning approach, leading to reflecting on their role on the planet and adopting solutions to protect nature. The project was chosen as Classic Blue thanks to its multiple-school approach with a strong personal development and collective responsibility perspective. The project has also received the highest public voting score.

3.     REMAR III – Sky Blue

REMAR III is a project financed by Fundación Biodiversidad to provide training and raise awareness for the protection of the oceans, fostering job opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. The project involves dozens of marine litter cleaning days in which the community was reached through strong effort in communication and dissemination. Cooperation with local professional associations (confrarías) to provide training to fishermen and boat staff was also reached. Several training sessions were implemented all over Galicia. The project was chosen based on its clear practical focus, raising ocean literacy through environmental volunteering actions, training in waste management, and funding.

In addition to these awards, there were four "special mentions":

· Best professional organisation initiative: Once upon a time there was a fish called cod... for a sustainable use of marine resources.

Project by Instituto de Educação da Universidade de Lisboa that creates an educational resource involving a set of memories related to cod fishing, aimed to promote environmental and socially relevant learning using the cod as a “flag species” to enhance the heritage linked to cod fishing and promote greater awareness about fishing sustainability.

·    Best education & school initiative: RAISE-CS

Pilot project of the Erasmus Maris initiative, coordinated by Ayam Sailing Europe, Belgium, that creates a strategic alliance in Europe between formal education, non-formal education, and scientific research sectors to engage secondary schools in the co-creation of new knowledge related to the preservation of marine environment and waters.

·    Best education & school initiative: Together we taste like the sea

A multi-school initiative that promotes ocean literacy with interdisciplinarity, societal impacts, community partnership and responsibility for the protection of the River Sado as core components.

· Best individual Blue School: Find the Blue/For the Better Future - Let’s Make it Blue!

A project by the elementary school "Josip Pupačić", Croatia, that builds on open-schooling and problem-based learning to integrate ocean literacy of children and young people into the school’s curriculum and environmental policy.

The winners were awarded multiple prizes, which were presented at European Maritime Day 2023: an official award certificate, a handmade ocean-themed trophy, and a financial reward.

Learn more about the EU4Ocean Coalition

EU4Ocean Platform: Become a Member of the EU4Ocean Platform

Youth4Ocean: Become a Member of the Youth4Ocean Forum

Network of European Blue Schools: The Network of European Blue Schools

Note to Editors

The EU4Ocean Coalition connects diverse organisations, projects and people that contribute to ocean literacy and the sustainable management of the ocean. The bottom-up inclusive initiative aims at uniting the voices of Europeans to make the ocean a concern for everyone. The coalition also contributes to the efforts to put ocean literacy high on the policy agenda and helps its members to become ocean advocates and agents of transition towards more sustainable ocean practices in their field.

The #MakeEUBlue Award winners have been announced at the European Maritime Day, which took place this year on 24 - 25 May in Brest, France.

Press contacts and social media

Email: pierreloic@revolve.eu

Spokesperson: Pierre-Loïc Nihoul, REVOLVE

Press kit (incl. winners descriptions & visuals): Download here

Facebook: EU Maritime & Fish

Twitter: @EU_Mare ; @cinea_eu

Instagram: ourocean_eu

LinkedIn: CINEA - European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency

#MakeEUBlue #EU4Ocean #Youth4Ocean #EUBlueSchools #EMFAF

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