A beacon of hope: unveiling the OCEAN CITIZEN project for ocean regeneration
- SUBMON is proud to be part of the OCEAN CITIZEN consortium, a Horizon Europe project which will implement and scale up an advanced regeneration program that joins ecological perspectives with societal commitment, providing clear economic benefits and improving the resilience of the local communities. This project is co-funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme.
The world’s ocean has long been the lifeblood of our planet, harbouring remarkable biodiversity, regulating climate, and providing sustenance for billions of people. However, these vital ecosystems are under immense threat from climate change, pollution, overfishing, and habitat degradation.
In the face of this ocean crisis, a groundbreaking project has emerged under the framework of EU Mission Ocean, offering a glimmer of hope for the restoration and preservation of our ocean. The OCEAN CITIZEN project aims to develop a replicable marine restoration protocol that combines habitat, carbon immobilisation, and biodiversity regeneration with social engagement and economic benefits for local communities.
Within the project, SUBMON will be in charge of developing communication strategies and citizen engagement actions to raise awareness, boost community engagement and increase Ocean Literacy.
Starting from an evaluation of the five pilot sites in Spain (Tenerife and Tarragona), Denmark, Norway and Israel, the consortium will monitor the success of restoration activities throughout the 4 years of the project. Using innovative approaches, OCEAN CITIZEN expects to successfully restore degraded marine forests (MFs) and provide nature-based solutions for climate change mitigation. Restoration activities in shallow and deep waters will be supported by the use of Floating Reefs, and Smart Enhanced Reefs ® (SER®), which are artificial constructions designed using AI.
Furthermore, the consortium will undertake an economic evaluation of the ecosystem services provided by the restored habitats and their social benefits while contributing to existing legislation on restoration and conservation practices in underwater coastal areas.
Community engagement is at the heart of OCEAN CITIZEN, with actions aimed at increasing Ocean Literacy and a sense of ownership of the restored marine areas. Citizen Science will be a powerful tool for involving stakeholders in the monitoring and evaluation of restoration efforts. Furthermore, the new “gardeners of the sea” profession will be created and endorsed.
The OCEAN CITIZEN project kicked off in January 2023 in Tenerife, with a meeting that gathered 46 attendees from all the partner institutions. During the three-day meeting, participants had the opportunity to start planning how to execute project tasks best. Moreover, partners had the chance to explore, out of the five sites of the project, the main pilot site in Tenerife, where OCEAN CITIZEN will implement all approved restoration measures.
With the Nature Restoration Law being approved last week by the European Commission, OCEAN CITIZEN becomes a lighthouse project to further enhance the EU’s efforts in nature restoration and biodiversity conservation.
We encourage you to stay tuned by visiting our newly released website oceancitizen.eu, which will serve as the central hub for all project-related information, updates, and resources. In addition, we are pleased to announce the launch of our official social media channels: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Connect with us to join the conversation and become an ocean citizen!