Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
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EMD2017, Europe's maritime community gets together

EMD2017, Europe's maritime community gets together

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy and the 10th edition of European Maritime Day – an occasion to network, discuss and forge joint action that has become a fixture in the agenda of Europe's maritime community. EMD2017 was hosted in Poole, UK, on 18 and 19 May. Over 600 participants attended numerous thematic panels as well as the plenary sessions of this intense two-day conference dedicated to The Future of Our Seas.

European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella remarked in his opening speech that "European Maritime Day is a showcase of European innovation". The ideas and the unfaltering spirit of initiative of the European maritime community are key to harnessing the immense potential of the blue economy, which is predicted to double in size by 2030. That is why the EU is forging partnerships with Member States, coastal communities, industry and researchers.

© Richard Budd

EMD offers a unique forum for Europe's maritime community to get together and join in the efforts for healthy and thriving seas. It complements EU policies for the protection and sustainable use of the oceans – from the push to improve international ocean governance and maritime spatial planning, to the development of a circular economy policy and a dedicated plastics strategy.

This year's EMD introduced corporate responsibility as a pivotal dimension of ocean sustainability. Commissioner Vella encouraged business leaders attending EMD2017 to look ahead to the Our Ocean Conference (Malta, 5-6 October) and put forward their own commitments for the protection of the oceans and a greener value chain.

EMD2017 featured inspirational speeches including by Barbara Jackson (CEO, Race for the Baltic), who underlined the importance of social innovation to deliver the transformational change required to meet sustainability challenges, and Alan AtKisson (author, speaker and senior advisor), who highlighted the leading role of Europe in developing a sustainable blue economy.

The conference also offered a leadership exchange, a practitioner's exchange on sea-basin strategies, and a project launch for the 2016 European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Blue Growth call, as well as several workshops and project pitches around four key topics: Innovation & Growth, People & Skills, Safety & Security, and Sustainability & Governance. Many participants pointed out the need to integrate the blue economy into the wider EU policy and funding architecture as a key driver of the EU's future prosperity.

But to develop the full potential of Blue Growth, increased support for innovation is needed. This can be achieved by improving public awareness and ownership of how our seas are managed via ocean literacy, especially for the younger generations; by promoting more integration across sectors, geographical areas and actors; by improving data and information-sharing; by developing the skills and competences required to boost the maritime sector.

Another driver of innovation and positive change is consumer demand. Attendees noted that consumer pressure is a more positive incentive for shifts in the industry. An EU study on consumer habits regarding fisheries and aquaculture products recently provided interesting insights into how the European market, the world's biggest market for seafood, could be expanded and diversified.

Flanking the conference, EMD2017 hosted a maritime exhibition as well as matchmaking meetings for stakeholders, while the Poole Maritime Festival ensured the engagement of the general public. Almost 30 public events were organised across the EU to celebrate the 10th anniversary of EMD.

With dozens of events and hundreds of participants, EMD2017 confirmed the enthusiasm and passion of people in the maritime sector to ensure a healthy and prosperous future for our seas and all those who depend on them.

See you at EMD2018 in Burgas, Bulgaria!

About European Maritime Day

On 20 May 2008, a joint declaration by the Presidents of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU created European Maritime Day. The aim was to provide a forum for people from different areas of the ocean economy to meet, discuss cross-cutting issues, learn from each other, and develop joint visions and actions.

European Maritime Day is a series of events all over Europe, the main one being the European Maritime Day Conference, organised each year by the Commission in a different European country around a different theme. The Conference follows a modern format, with plenary sessions with key personalities, interactive debates with renowned experts and workshops that are self-organised by stakeholders.



•   EMD2008 Brussels: "A Regional Approach to the Implementation of Maritime Policy"

   EMD2009 Rome: "Integrated Maritime Policy and the Contribution of Maritime Clusters"

   EMD2010 Gijón: "How to Foster Innovation"

   EMD2011 Gdansk: "Maritime Policy: Putting People First"

•   EMD2012 Gothenburg: "Sustainable Growth from the Oceans, Seas and Coasts"

•   EMD2013 Valletta: "Coastal Development and Sustainable Maritime Tourism"

•   EMD2014 Bremen: "Innovation Driving Blue Growth"

•   EMD2015 Piraeus: "Ports and Coasts, Gateways to Maritime Growth"

•   EMD2016 Turku: "Investing in Blue Growth – Smart and Sustainable Solutions"

•   EMD2017 Poole: "The Future of our Seas"

•   EMD2018 Burgas

Past Issues
June  2017 - Issue 75
March  2017 - Issue 74
November 2016 - Issue 73
August 2016 - Issue 72