Marine and maritime - Research - European Commission

Why the strategy?

There are three drivers for the EU Strategy for Marine and Maritime Research:

  • The crucial socio-economic importance of the maritime economy, which must be developed further

    The EU’s maritime regions account for around 40% of its GDP and the maritime economy for 3 to 5%.

    Maritime transport90% of external trade and 40% of internal trade
    3.5 billion tonnes/year and 350 million passengers/year
    Shipbuilding0.8 million jobs
    turnover of €90 billion/year;
    world leader in the production of highly sophisticated vessels
    EnergyAlternative energies: tidal and wave power, offshore wind farms
    €121 million turnover in 2005, with increasing growth
    Fisheries & aquaculture0.5 million jobs;
    0.3% of EU GDP equating to about €20 billion/year;
    aquaculture represents 19% of the Union's total fishery production
    Tourism & coastal zones3 million jobs
    €72 billion turnover in 2005
    New resources & Blue biotechnologyemerging sector with predicted growth of 10% per year and a global market of €2.4 billion

    (Source: Maritime facts and figures – Green Paper – Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union)

  • Increasing environmental pressures, due to human activities and climate change

    Climate changeSea level rise
    Coastal erosion
    Acidification, etc.
    PollutionNutrient inputs
    Toxic waste and contaminants
    Air pollution absorbed by the seas
    Habitat degradationCoastal and marine development
    Seabed exploitation
    OverfishingEU fish stocks are exploited 2 to 5 times more than the maximum sustainable yield
    Invasive species 

    (Source: Maritime facts and figures – Green Paper – Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union)

    These are general pressures which affect all EU sea basins; however specific types of pressure may also arise at regional level

  • Increasing competition for a limited marine space

    Numerous types of human activities are present in coastal and marine areas: agriculture, urbanisation, tourism, ports and navigation routes, fisheries, mariculture, mineral resource exploitation, military activities, dredging and disposal, renewable energy, etc.
    These activities, on the one hand, exert pressure on the marine and coastal environment; on the other, they all compete indicatively for the same spatial area.
    This suggests the necessity for careful spatial planning of human activities at sea.

Aim of the strategy

The aim of the strategy is to provide the scientific support necessary to help policy-makers reconcile the three trends mentioned above: i) the socio-economic importance of maritime economy; ii) the increasing environmental pressures, due to human activities and climate change; iii) the increasing competition for a limited marine space.
It does so by moving towards an integrated marine and maritime European Research Area (ERA).
In particular, the Strategy sets out:

  1. to address system complexity and interactions through enhanced integration of knowledge and research; strengthened research capacities; and improved synergies between Member States and regions
  2. to bring about new forms of governance in research that will seek consensus among scientific and industrial stakeholders.

Role of the EC

The role of the European Commission in the implementation of this strategy is:

  • to make full use of all Community instruments, first of all the 7th Research Framework Programme, as leverage to achieve the objectives of the strategy;
  • to facilitate a coordinated approach between Member States contributing to the objectives of the strategy;
  • to oversee the implementation and continuous adaptation of the strategy, in partnership with Member States and the marine and maritime scientific communities.

Actions will be taken by the European Commission in partnership with Member States, third countries and the marine and maritime research stakeholders.

Strategy and the IMP

The Marine and Maritime Research Strategy is one of the implementation actions foreseen in "An integrated maritime policy for the European Union" (60 KB), adopted in June 2007.

As specified in the Action plan for the Maritime Policy, a European Maritime Research Strategy is necessary to provide the interdisciplinary knowledge base to underpin the future EU Maritime Policy.