The Thematic Conference on the International Black Sea Day - October 31 was held today at the Flora Exposition Center in the presence of representatives of various stakeholders - parliament, local authorities, state-owned enterprises, scientific and state institutions, non-governmental organizations. The conference was opened by Dimitar Nikolov - Mayor of Burgas Municipality and Ivelina Vassileva - Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission on Environment and Water. The facilitator was Ruska Boyadzhieva - Deputy Mayor of European Policies and Environment, Burgas Municipality.

The Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council 2018 - Lilyana Pavlova presented the presidency's priorities in the context of the Danube-Black Sea region (one of Bulgaria's top three priorities) and outlined the role of the Black Sea theme before the next presidency - Austria, through which passes the largest river that flows into the Black Sea - the Danube. She also outlined the meetings that will take place in Burgas at the highest level during this period. The European Maritime Day will bring together representatives of ports, shipping industry, clusters, environmental associations, trade unions, scientific and research institutions, local, regional, national and European authorities on 31 May - 1 June to discuss and undertake joint development activities of the maritime sector. "This event will be the conclusion of the Bulgarian Presidency and the transfer of the relay to the Austrian one," said Minister Pavlova. Then, an informal meeting of fishermen will be held on 5-7 June, organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Burgas will also host meetings of European ambassadors - external meetings of the Council's subsidiary bodies - COREPER 1 and COREPER 2 in May and June.

Atanaska Nikolova, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Environment and Water, presented the priorities for the protection of the marine environment, again in the context of the presidency. Sustainable growth, a green economy, a circular economy package and eco-innovation are just some of the priorities selected. The marine environment will be considered through the implementation of the newly adopted Maritime Strategy of Bulgaria.

An interesting form of presentation was then made by various partners working on Black Sea projects over the last few years. The joint presentation "In partnership for the future of the Black Sea" was attended by the Municipality of Burgas, the Basin Directorate for the Black Sea Region, the Institute of Oceanology, the State Enterprise "Port Infrastructure", the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation and the Via Pontica Foundation.

Radostina Tzenova from the BBF presented two important projects of the Foundation - the REEFS project and Salt of Life, LIFE +, which are related to the conservation of the Black Sea by the installation of artificial reefs - natural filtration of the sea and by cleaning the bypass canal of Atanasovsko Lake which flow directly into the sea.

Of particular interest was the presentation of the Center for Underwater Archeology on the Cultural Heritage of the Black Sea and their international project - Black Sea MAP 2017.