News :: European Commission sets out plan to stimulate innovation in the "blue economy"
(22/05/2014) As fresh water and land are running scarce in the face of a growing world population, we will have to turn more and more to our oceans for our food, medicine and energy needs. This blue economy has the potential of creating more jobs and further our economic growth but this must be done sustainably so that future generations can enjoy the same healthy and vibrant oceans that we enjoy in our lifetime. Innovation across all sectors is therefore key to realising the growth and jobs potential and can also bring environmental benefits.
Two thirds of our planet is covered by oceans and seas. If we manage them in a responsible manner, they can provide sources of food, medicine and energy while protecting ecosystems for generations to come. In order to untap the potential and exploit our waters in a sustainable way, the Commission identifies a number of challenges that need to be overcome: our knowledge about the sea is still limited, maritime research efforts between Member States are not linked up, whilst the European workforce of tomorrow will need more engineers and scientists to apply new technologies in the marine environment. The Commission's new Action Plan for Innovation in the 'Blue Economy' seeks to address these issues and to help us use ocean resources sustainably and drive growth and jobs in Europe.
European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki said: "Today, we put the building blocks in place so that tomorrow's generation of Europeans will have the knowledge and skills to better manage our oceans and draw the full benefits they can provide us, while respecting the balance of the ecosystem of the sea." She continued: "For example, our initiative to create a digital map of the entire seabed of European waters will increase the predictability for businesses to invest, lowering costs and stimulate further innovation for sustainable blue growth."
A new user-friendly information tool is available online for everyone to find out facts and figures about the Blue Growth sectors per EU country, per sea basin and for the EU as a whole: