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Using automatic species recognition and artificial intelligence to fight illegal fish discards and revolutionise fisheries control
Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 2: Fair, Healthy and Environmentally-friendly Food Systems from Primary Production to Consumption
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
Proposals should develop innovative and cost-effective solutions for automatic species recognition and quantification and assessment of health status of species (e.g., presence of parasites), and automatically analyse Remote Electronic Monitoring video footage, rapid DNA-based assays and sensor data in real-time.
Proposals should also develop mechanisms to ensure that the data collected by the cameras and sensors to be automatically analysed cannot be tampered with and that the system can automatically identify cases of system malfunction or missing information. Additionally, proposals should test the suggested solutions in real conditions, including the development of at least three pilot cases in three different European seas. They should also analyse vulnerabilities, dependencies and critical infrastructure in expanding the use of the solutions to Europe and worldwide (e.g., Regional Fisheries Management Organisations and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements).
Moreover, proposals should investigate possibilities for the integration of the results of the artificial intelligence analyses for the purposes of automated catch recording and reporting recommend effective designs of remote monitoring systems to cover processing activities on board of fishing vessels, and explore the possibilities of the system to contribute to the identification of parasites in processed fish (e.g. via DNA-based assays). They should also recommend standardised remote electronic monitoring formats for the exchange of the information between different control authorities or to be used for scientific purposes, including standards based on FLUX that could be potentially proposed for recognition by UN/CEFACT.
Also importantly, proposals should analyse how fisheries data, containing private information, can be shared in an anonymized and safe way complying with EU data protection rules (General Data Protection Regulation).
Finally, they should explore and recommend strategies to overcome possible resistance, by all stakeholders/parties, to the implementation of the innovative solutions and propose different ways for effective implementation.
In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.
Expected effects and impacts
In line with the European Green Deal objectives, both the farm to fork strategy and the common fisheries policy aim to ensure that fishing and aquaculture are ecologically, economically and socially sustainable and provide a source of healthy food for EU citizens. The successful proposals should unequivocally contribute to phase out the practice of discarding unwanted fish and improving catch-reporting data by using automatic species recognition and artificial intelligence to analyse data sources, such as video footage, rapid DNA-based assays and sensor data in real-time through, for example, internet of things or similar monitoring systems.
To ensure that fisheries are ecologically, economically and socially sustainable and provide a source of healthy food, the EU needs to close the possible loopholes in the legislations that could potentially allow for illegal and unsustainable fishing practices. To be successful, the EU needs to have in place a technologically advanced and effective fisheries monitoring and control system and the digitisation of fisheries is a key element (notably through the use of techniques such as artificial intelligence, sensors and robotics). This objective will also contribute to the headline ambition “A Europe fit for the digital age”.
- Effective methods, tools and systems for species automatic recognition, analysis of Remote Electronic Monitoring video footage, rapid DNA-based assays and sensor data in real-time, and enhanced integration of results into the reporting systems used by fishers to report catches to competent authorities;
- Enhanced capability to monitor and control illegal discarding practices at sea and increased ability by EU Member States to fully implement the Landing Obligation;
- Implementation of ad-hoc sensors for the detection of discards and take advantage of the data from the Copernicus network, namely from its Maritime Surveillance Service;
- Optimal fishing operations and fishing processing and enhanced EU ability to collect, exchange and analyse data;
- Improved monitoring capabilities, including processing activities on board fishing vessels, and ultimately support to a sustainable management of marine biological resources.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Faeroes (Føroyar / Færøerne), Georgia (საქართველო), Island (Ísland), Israel (ישראל / إِسْرَائِيل), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), Morocco (المغرب), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
EU Body, Education and training institution, International organization, Natural Person, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
- the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions
- the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States
- third countries associated to Horizon Europe - see list of particpating countries
Only legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes, as beneficiaries, three legal entities independent from each other and each established in a different country as follows:
- at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State; and
- at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from non-associated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.
A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.
- Affiliated entities — Affiliated entities (i.e. entities with a legal or capital link to a beneficiary which participate in the action with similar rights and obligations to the beneficiaries, but which do not sign the grant agreement and therefore do not become beneficiaries themselves) are allowed, if they are eligible for participation and funding.
- Associated partners — Associated partners (i.e. entities which participate in the action without signing the grant agreement, and without the right to charge costs or claim contributions) are allowed, subject to any conditions regarding associated partners set out in the specific call conditions.
- Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees to protect the EU’s financial interests equivalent to those offered by legal persons.
- EU bodies — Legal entities created under EU law including decentralised agencies may be part of the consortium, unless provided for otherwise in their basic act.
- Joint Research Centre (‘JRC’)— Where provided for in the specific call conditions, applicants may include in their proposals the possible contribution of the JRC but the JRC will not participate in the preparation and submission of the proposal. Applicants will indicate the contribution that the JRC could bring to the project based on the scope of the topic text. After the evaluation process, the JRC and the consortium selected for funding may come to an agreement on the specific terms of the participation of the JRC. If an agreement is found, the JRC may accede to the grant agreement as beneficiary requesting zero funding or participate as an associated partner, and would accede to the consortium as a member.
- Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members (e.g. European research infrastructure consortia (ERICs)) may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. However, if the action is in practice implemented by the individual members, those members should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible.
other eligibility criteria
Activities are expected to achieve TRL 6-7 by the end of the project.
For the Technology Readiness Level (TRL), the following definitions apply:
- TRL 1 — Basic principles observed
- TRL 2 — Technology concept formulated
- TRL 3 — Experimental proof of concept
- TRL 4 — Technology validated in a lab
- TRL 5 — Technology validated in a relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
- TRL 6 — Technology demonstrated in a relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
- TRL 7 — System prototype demonstration in an operational environment
- TRL 8 — System complete and qualified
- TRL 9 — Actual system proven in an operational environment (competitive manufacturing in the case of key enabling technologies, or in space)
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
All proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funders & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals must be complete and contain all parts and mandatory annexes and supporting documents, e.g. plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results including communication activities, etc.
The application form will have two parts:
- Part A (to be filled in directly online) contains administrative information about the applicant organisations (future coordinator and beneficiaries and affiliated entities), the summarised budget for the proposal and call-specific questions;
- Part B (to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system) contains the technical description of the project.
Annexes and supporting documents will be directly available in the submission system and must be uploaded as PDF files (or other formats allowed by the system).
The limit for a full application (Part B) is 45 pages.