Seas and oceans, lakes and rivers were the cradle of primordial life. The preservation of these sensitive water resources and its biodiversity is crucial to human existence. Under Horizon 2020, the overall objective is to manage, sustainably exploit and maintain aquatic living resources to maximise social and economic benefits/returns from Europe's oceans, seas and inland waters.
One of the main features of living aquatic resources is that they are renewable and their sustainable exploitation relies on in depth understanding of the aquatic ecosystems.
The overall objective is to sustainably exploit and manage aquatic living resources to maximise social and economic benefits from Europe's oceans and seas. This includes the need to optimise the sustainable contribution of fisheries and aquaculture to food security in the context of the global economy and to reduce the heavy Union's dependence on seafood imports as well as to boost marine biotechnologies to fuel "blue" growth.
In line with current policy frameworks, research activities will underpin the ecosystem approach to the management and exploitation of natural resources, and the 'greening' of the sectors involved.
Competitive and environmentally-friendly fisheries
Sound scientific knowledge is required to support the scientific advice process - which is the basis of European fisheries policies - and to promote the necessary fishery sector adaptation under the new Common Fisheries Policy.
The application of an ecosystem-approach to fisheries management requires an in depth understanding of marine biology, genetic and dynamics of fish populations as well as the role of key species in the ecosystems.
The comprehensive research effort will improve understanding of what makes marine ecosystems healthy and productive. It will also help to assess, evaluate and mitigate the impact of fisheries on marine ecosystems (including the deep sea).
Research should lead to innovative solutions for the "greening" of the fisheries sector, including monitoring of fisheries activities and adaptation to new markets. Research should address the social aspects of the seafood sector which is essential for the cohesion of the social fabric in the European coastal areas.
Competitive and environmentally-friendly European aquaculture
Aquaculture has a large potential for the development of healthy, safe and competitive food products, as well as for environmental services and energy production.
Research efforts are particularly needed to the domestication of some species (established and new species), on interactions with the environment, on health and nutrition of farmed aquatic organisms and on reproduction and breeding, which are among the main obstacles to the sustainable development of European aquaculture.
In addition, Research should address the social aspects of the seafood sector which is essential for the cohesion of the social fabric in the European coastal areas.
Boosting marine innovation through biotechnology
More than 90 % of the marine biodiversity remains unexplored, offering a huge potential for the discovery of new species and applications in the field of marine biotechnologies, which is foreseen to generate a 10 % annual growth for this sector. Support will be given to exploration and exploitation of the large potential of marine biodiversity and aquatic biomass to bring new innovative processes, products and services on the markets.
Cross-cutting marine & maritime research
Oceans cover 71% of the planet's surface and cater for human necessities such as food and energy. The need for rapid technological progress in working offshore in ever-deeper waters and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while benefiting from what the oceans have to offer, have opened up an opportunity for blue growth with the aim of harnessing the huge potential of Europe's oceans, seas and coasts for jobs and growth.
Cross-cutting marine and maritime scientific and technological knowledge will be addressed to unlock the potential of the seas and oceans across the range of marine and maritime industries, while protecting the environment and adapting to climate change.