EBB is an Interreg (Atlantic Area) funded project with 20 partner institutions across Europe, which aims to
1) Protect marine biodiversity through the establishment of a centrally curated biobank operated by the European Marine Biological Resources Centre (EMBRC),
2) Ensure compliance with Access and Benefits Sharing (ABS) legislation, aimed at the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and
3) Enhance coastal ecosystem services through the biotechnological valorization of Marine Biological Resources (MBRs).
As acknowledged by the Smart Specialization Strategies (S3s) of European coastal regions, MBRs are one of the main services provided by coastal ecosystems, having a great potential to promote regional economic development and employment through blue biotechnology, and thus to contribute to growth and cohesion. The leading Marine Biobanks in Europe are located in the Atlantic Area and are part of the EMBRC. Biobanks provide Marine Biological Resources to academic and industrial researchers, and are thus the backbone for the search of unique marine genes, bioactives and biomaterials with potential for commercial development and job creation in the Atlantic Area.
The EBB project will set the basis for the common operation of the leading marine biobanks in Europe. Tools and common procedures for the ex-situ maintenance of Marine Biological Resources will be developed, and harmonization in the application of procedures to comply with regulations on access to genetic resources will be ensured. The EBB will facilitate sustainable access to marine biodiversity, its associated data, and extractable products for local and international academia and industry users and incentivize biodiversity conservation in coastal ecosystems by promoting compliance with benefit sharing regulations.
The MBA is leading work to ensure ABS compliance in all partner collections and biobanks. This legislation came into force after the Nagoya Protocol (2014) and seeks to ensure the fair sharing of benefits (monetary or non-monetary) of any use of MBRs and associated traditional knowledge with their countries of origin. Specifically, the MBA aims to:
- Implement Best Practice Guidelines for ABS compliance in EMBRC collections
- Launch the process to include EBB in the EU register of collections (including the MBAs culture collections)
- Ensure retrospective compliance with ABS regulations for any material currently held in collections that may be subject to national ABS legislation