ABS compliance for collections and fundamental research using MBRs

Providing access to marine genetic resources is one of EMBRC’s primary services. The EMBRC is committed to facilitating access to and supply of marine biological and genetic material to users in compliance with international, European and national legal frameworks regarding Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS). In order to support implementation of ABS regulations in EBB’s biobanks and culture collections, EBB project carried out two internal audits of the ABS status of the resources held in collection. In the Deliverable 5.3: Updated EBB Inventory of Marine Biological Resources are described the main results obtained after the two audits.  

For read the deliverable, please click below.

The practical guide for users “Seek, keep & transfer: A step-by-step guide to ABS compliance when utilizing marine genetic resources”

EBB project main goal is to facilitate sustainable access to marine biodiversity, its associated data, and extractable products for local and international academia and industry users, and to incentivize biodiversity conservation in coastal ecosystems by promoting compliance with Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regulations derived from the Nagoya Protocol. There are concerns that the added bureaucracy in relation to ABS regulations may be detrimental to Research, Development and innovation activities. In order to promote R&D+I on marine bioresources, the EBB has produced the step-by-step guide “Seek, keep & transfer: A step-by-step guide to ABS compliance when utilizing marine genetic resources”. This guide is a practical to-do-list for individual scientists from academia or private sector conducting research on “marine genetic resources”. This document recommends users to follow a 6-step iterative process by answering some questions in an iterative way. The guide presents action and provides tips for each of the 6 steps.

The guide was developed as the Deliverable 3.4 “Best Practice Guidelines (BPGs) on Accessing MBRs for commercial research in compliance with ABS Regulations”. This guide is delivered by the EBB project with support of the European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC-ERIC) ABS Working-Group.

The EMBRC guide to ABS compliance. Recommendations to marine biological resources collections’ and users’ institutions

Providing access to marine genetic resources is one of EMBRC’s primary services. The EMBRC is committed to facilitating access to and supply of marine biological and genetic material to users in compliance with international, European and national legal frameworks regarding Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS). The European Blue Biobank (EBB) project, under the umbrella of EMBRC, supports this aspiration by promoting compliance with ABS regulations derived from the Nagoya Protocol and implemented in Europe through the EU ABS Regulation that came into force in 2014 as well as Member State’s access legislations, where applicable. This regulatory framework, although effective in protecting the rights of the provider country, puts burden on the user to demonstrate lawful utilization. In this context, research infrastructures, facilities, biobanks and collections may play a role by facilitating legal compliance and lawful use of the genetic resources they provide.

EBB project has produced the “Deliverable 5.1. Handbook on implementation of EBB Best Practices and Sample Identification System”. This handbook of best practices was endorsed by EMBRC and has become “The EMBRC guide to ABS compliance. Recommendations to marine biological resources collections’ and users’ institutions”.

DISCLAIMER

On 14 December 2020, the European Commission adopted Guidance document C(2020)8759 on the scope of application and core obligations of Regulation (EU) No 511/2014 (EU ABS Regulation) which incorporates and complements the previously adopted guidance document of 2016.

The EBB guide to ABS compliance was delivered and endorsed by EMBRC before said Guidance document was published. Although still valid, its recommendations may not encompass up-to-date inclusive information on the EU ABS Regulation.

The guide will shortly be completed by EMBRC to take the new EU ABS Regulation Guidance document into consideration. It will include a new section on obligations for services provided on marine genetic resources (obligations of service requester and of service provider).

The EMBRC guide to ABS compliance. Recommendations to marine biological resources collections’ and users’ institutions

Register for the “Symposium on Biobanks and Marine Diversity” – EBB project FINAL EVENT

The “Symposium on Biobanks and Marine Diversity” is coming!

After more than 3 years of hard work, the EBB project is coming to an end. During the duration of the project, EBB partners have worked to achieve the main EBB project objective: to facilitate sustainable access to marine biodiversity, its associated data, and extractable products for local and international academia and industry users, and to incentivize biodiversity conservation in coastal ecosystems by promoting compliance with Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regulations derived from the Nagoya Protocol.

We would like to invite you to participate in the “Symposium on Biobanks and Marine Diversity” which will take place online on 23rd March 2021 from 09:30 to 12:30 (CET). In this event the main EBB project outputs will be presented.

The draft agenda is available here.

We strongly encourage you to follow the event and please feel free to spread the word among your circles. This is an opportunity for biobanks, culture collections, researchers, academia, industry and policy makers, to be connected and a chance to learn about the management tools that EBB project has developed.

The registration is NOW CLOSED.

The event will be also live streamed at this link.

EBB FINAL EVENT: “Symposium on Biobanking and Marine Diversity”

The EBB project is coming to an end. As the final event of the project, a virtual symposium will be held on March 23rd (09:30-12:30 CET) on Biobanking and Marine Diversity.

The main goal of the EBB project is to facilitate sustainable access to marine biodiversity, its associated data, and extractable products for local and international academia and industry users, and to incentivise biodiversity conservation in coastal ecosystems by promoting compliance with Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regulations derived from the Nagoya Protocol.

The symposium is aimed to present the main outputs (management TOOLS) produced in the framework of EBB project during the last 4 years and initiate the spread of outcomes specially among EMBRC members, as well as other biobanks, culture collections and stakeholders.

The main results that will be presented are:

EBB TRACE database: a searchable catalogue of the full range of marine biological resources that could be provided by the EBB Biobank.

EBB TRACK tool: instrument for the provision of macroorganisms in culture collections service supply and biobank management.

“The EBB / EMBRC guide to ABS compliance. Recommendations to marine biological resources collections’ and users’ institutions”.

The practical guide for users “Seek, keep & transfer: A step-by-step guide to ABS compliance when utilizing marine genetic resources”.

The training webinars on key aspects of ABS.

Deliverable 2.5.2. Documentary Script

Deliverable 2.5.2. Documentary Script. Action 5. WP2 Project Communication

This deliverable defines the actions taken within the framework of deliverable 2.5.2 (WP2: Communication) of the EBB project in order to facilitate the dissemination and understanding of its main objective: the preservation of marine biodiversity.

A television show, ‘Teknopolis’, was recorded with a high local audience, with the aim of making the general public and a large number of users aware of the importance of biodiversity and showing the main steps that must be taken to comply with ABS regulations when we work with genetic resources.

Euskal Irrati Telebista (EiTB), the Basque Autonomous Radio Television proposed Dr. Ibon Cancio from the Plentzia Maritime Station (PiE-UPV / EHU) of the University of the Basque Country (UPV / EHU) to be the master of ceremonies. He, and the host of the television program, toured the rocky intertidal zone finding different marine species, which can be used as marine genetic resources.

The BMCC of UPV/EHU presents its collection with the launching of its new website

The Basque Microalgae Culture Collection (BMCC), of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), maintains more than 600 strains of marine and freshwater microalgae and cyanobacteria, mainly from the Basque Country, although counts with species collected in different parts of the world.

This collection was registered within the World Federation for Culture Collections (WFCC, World Federation for Culture Collections) in 2020 and is part of the Spanish Network of Microorganisms (REDESMI). Among its taxonomical groups that can be found in collection in BMCC we can find different species of haptophytes, cryptophytes, dinoflagellates, chlorophytes, diatoms and cyanobacteria.

BMCC is part of the Plentzia Marine Station (PiE-UPV/EHU), which is one of the operators of the Spanish node of European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC-ERIC) and a partner in European Blue Biobank (EBB) project. BMCC facilitates access to biological resources with great biotechnological potential for both private and public companies or institutions. Moreover, the strains held at BMCC may play a pivotal role in biotechnological developments or be research focus leading to patent generation or scientific publication. Culture collections also play an important role preserving biodiversity, mission that has been recently underpinned under the biodiversity goals of the Convention of Biological Diversity and the entry into force of its Nagoya Protocol and its associated Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regulations.

In addition to supplying isolated algal strains already identified, the BMCC offers additional services such as the isolation and identification of species, the production and supply of culture media, the possibility of depositing strains in the collection or the characterization of some compounds present in microalgae. Such services are available for companies or researchers, both for basic and applied research.

This collection opens its doors to the rest of the world through its new website, which has an access portal that has been funded by EBB project, and that can be visited in this link

Workshop: “How to Do Nagoya: access to marine genetic resources in compliance with ABS regulations”

Last Friday, January 29, as part of the agenda of Assemble Plus 2021 Conference, members of the EBB project, together with the ABS Working group of EMBRC, organized and held an online event where the main outputs and results of the EBB project were launched.

The EMBRC Executive Director, Nicolas Pade, introduced the workshop and its objectives. He explained the role of Biological Resources Centres (BRCs) in helping researchers to carry out their “due diligence” regarding Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) legislation. He also presented the work that EMBRC is doing to bring its BRCs up to date and in compliance with ABS regulations. Finally, he presented the members of the ABS Working group of EMBRC.

The first part of the workshop was dedicated to present two outputs developed in the frame of the EBB project.  Anne Emmanuelle Kervella, from CNRS and Station Biologique de Roscoff, presented “The EBB | EMBRC guide to ABS compliance”, which provides recommendations to institutions with collections and users of marine biological resources to comply with the ABS legislation. She briefly introduced the Nagoya Protocol, the European ABS Regulation and the marine genetic resources in scope of these regulations. She highlighted that the implementation of all the requirements in institutions and biobanks produce an impact on the activities, policies and organization of the research institutions. Then, she provided an overview of the structure and main contents included in “The EBB | EMBRC guide to ABS compliance”.

Then, Ian Probert, from the Station Biologique de Roscoff, presented a step-by-step guide which is a practical to-do-list for individual scientists from academia or private sector conducting research on “marine genetic resources”. This document recommends users to follow a 6-step iterative process by answering some questions in an iterative way. The guide presents action and provides tips for each of the 6 steps.

A round of question-answers followed these presentations to close the first part of the workshop.

The second part of the workshop was dedicated to showcase research projects that have taken into practice the indications appearing in the EBB/EMBRC guide to ABS compliance. First, Arnaud Larroquette, EMBRC ABS Compliance Officer, started a round table entitled “How to take all this into practice”, showing the results of an audit of the genetic resources held in EBB collections.

Then, three use cases of users of services and resources at marine biological stations were presented. Christian Galasso (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn), Daniel García Souto (CiMUS, University of Santiago de Compostela) and Fernando Reyes (Fundación Medina) shared their experiences as users of marine genetic resources from different European countries. The three short presentations were followed by a section with questions and answers, with participation of researchers, managers of research institutions and even ABS national focal point representatives.

Fiz da Costa from ECIMAT-Marine Research Center of the University of Vigo and Ibon Cancio from PiE-UPV/EHU of the University of Basque Country were the moderators of this successful event, with participation of more than 70 persons of different nationalities.

The video recording of this event is available on the EMBRC YouTube channel at this link.

Basque Microalgae Culture Collection (BMCC): new microalgae collection, new opportunities for the blue economy.

Our colleagues from the Plentzia Marine Station (PiE) from the University of the Basque Country (UPV) presented a poster about the Basque Microalgae Culture collection titled: “Basque Microalgae Culture Collection (BMCC): new microalgae collection, new opportunities for the blue economy” in the poster session.

In addition, Sergio Seoane participated in a round table titled: ”Biobanking for our environment: plant biobanking, species preservation and crop opportunities”. This session was about how the environmental biobanks and the conservation of plant genetic resources play a central role in sustainable agriculture, food security, livelihoods, and products for human health as well as in conservation and restoration of nature reserves.

ASSEMBLE Plus 2021: Marine biological research at the frontier (online conference)

On the 22nd January 2021, Fiz da Costa presented the services provided at Toralla Marine Science Station (ECIMAT), which belongs to Marine Research Centre (CIM) of the University of Vigo. In this talk it was presented the information about the Nagoya Protocol and Access and Benefit (ABS) regulations that is available at ECIMAT website and the ABS guide for users of Spanish genetic resources  that were developed thanks to the support of EBB project.

The talk is available through the YouTube channel of European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC). If you want to visualize, please click here (from minute 28 onwards).