The green potential of the blue economy is not yet reached. This is the strong belief of the European Union that plans to allocate substantial funds to address the problem in the coming years.
Talking to the “Blue Economy Forum: The Way to Green Recovery”, Virginijus Sinkevičius European Commissioner of Environment, Oceans and Fisheries outlined the investment opportunities lying ahead.
The Commissioner stressed that ample resources from the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility will be directed especially to SMEs to help them adapt to technological revolutions and sustainability standards.
The main areas of interest are:
- more sustainable seafood production and consumption
- increase of Europe’s offshore wind capacity, supplemented by ocean energy and other emerging RES technologies
- fight the pollution caused by maritime transport
- extension of marine protected areas to cover a wide range of marine habitats and species
In this context, Greece focuses on the prospects offered by fish farming and aquaculture, as more than 80% of today’s production is exported.
“The Greek government is determined to help the sector grow and prosper after the pandemic. The aim is to create an environmentally friendly model based on the UN Sustainable Development Agenda” said Spilios Livanos, Minister of Rural Development and Food.
The Greek government is also working on the institutional framework for offshore wind farms and energy storage. The law will be ready by June 2021, Kostas Skrekas, Minister of Environment and Energy told the Forum, opening the way for the first offshore wind farms.
In Europe, the blue economy (i.e. all economic activities related to oceans, seas and coasts) employs more than 5 million people and generates a gross added value of almost €500 billion a year.
EU wants further growth of the sector. Its strategy consists of three components:
Develop sectors that have a high potential for sustainable jobs and growth, such as:
- coastal tourism
- marine biotechnology
- ocean energy
- seabed mining
Essential components to provide knowledge, legal certainty and security in the blue economy
- marine knowledge to improve access to information about the sea;
- maritime spatial planning to ensure an efficient and sustainable management of activities at sea;
- integrated maritime surveillance to give authorities a better picture of what is happening at sea.
Sea basin strategies to ensure tailor-made measures and to foster cooperation between countries
- Adriatic and Ionian Seas
- Arctic Ocean
- Atlantic Ocean
- Baltic Sea
- Black Sea
- Mediterranean Sea
- North Sea
The projection, before the pandemic crisis, was that the global blue economy is going to double by 2030.
Under the new circumstances and the opportunities arising fron the EU Recovery and Resilience Funds, the projection can easily be exceeded in Europe.