The fisheries sector plays a key role in the Baltic Sea regional economies.
The fisheries sector plays a key role in the Baltic Sea regional economies, but is threatened by overfishing of certain species like wild salmon and cod.
To address the problem, Matti Skor of the Landesgesellschaft Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (LGMV) GmbH, a state-owned land management and development company, drafted a proposal for a three-year, seven-country research project and applied for EU funding. The aim was to examine how fish farming can be used to replace depleted stocks and ensure the region's long-term economic health.
When two partners left the consortium six weeks before the application deadline, Skor phoned Jürgen Dührkop of the Technologiezentrum Warnemünde, one of nearly 600 Enterprise Europe Network branches in 54 countries.
"We help SMEs and researchers put together international consortia and, if necessary, we help with the application," explains Dührkop. Commenting on the broader range of services provided to members of the Network, Dührkop highlights in particular the support provided to SMEs in developing international business through the participation in EU-projects; brokering business partnerships and research projects; and organising workshops and seminars.
With respect to the Baltic Sea project, Dührkop got in touch with Network colleagues in Estonia and Denmark, who used their own informal regional networks to get the word out to the right players. The efforts paid off, allowing Skor to sign up two international fisheries organisation Eurofish Denmark and the Estonian University of Life Sciences in Tartu - and secure €750,000 in EU funding for the €2.5 million study entitled Aquafima.
"When you start with the Network," says Skor, "one contact often leads to several others."
The consortium has since successfully finalised the Aquafima project. According to Jürgen Dührkop, "Skor is now preparing - together with both partners that were found with the help of the Enterprise Europe Network - a new project application which aims to proceed with the results reached in Aquafima."