Maritime Affairs

Sea basin strategy: seas around Europe's outermost regions

Sea basin strategy: seas around Europe's outermost regions

Sea basin strategy: seas around Europe's outermost regions

The EU policy for Europe’s outermost regions focuses on improving accessibility, increasing competitiveness and strengthening regional integration. As part of its strategy for a 'stronger and renewed partnership with the EU's outermost regions' from 2017, the European Commission sets out a list of concrete actions to foster blue growth:

By the Commission

  • support the sustainable development of fisheries and of other blue economy sectors
  • a forum for dialogue and exchange of experience on fisheries and maritime affairs
  • evaluation of the fleet capacity “entry/exit” scheme
  • possible state aid for the construction of new vessels and an evaluation of the specific de minimis regulation in the fisheries sector
  • consideration of the region's specific needs when launching calls for projects under the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF)
  • better involvement in negotiations within regional fisheries management organisations and sustainable fisheries partnership agreements with third countries

By member states

  • more and better collection of scientific fisheries data and support for fisheries and marine research
  • adoption of fisheries management measures in line with the common fisheries policy (CFP) following a bottom-up approach to involve stakeholders and organisations
  • exploration of the possibility to restrict fishing within a 100 miles zone to vessels registered in the outermost regions
  • improvement of the access of the outermost regions’ small-scale fleets to highly migratory stocks
  • fight illegal fishing by applying sanctions to offenders and enhancing cooperation with neighbouring countries

By the outermost regions

  • setting up blue economy strategies to strengthen sustainable blue growth value chains and improve synergies improvement of access to finance for small scale operators by promoting an increased use of micro-credits and financial instruments

Background

Despite being located thousands of kilometres from the European continent, the EU's 9 outermost regions are an integral part of the Union

  • Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion, Saint-Martin, and Mayotte in France
  • the Azores and Madeira in Portugal
  • the Canary Islands in Spain

Located on shipping routes or straits, the outermost regions occupy an important position for trade, and play a role in monitoring nearby waters (to combat illegal fishing, piracy or drug trafficking) and in improving transport security (e.g. oil transport in the Caribbean). Coastal tourism is an important economic activity in most regions. They also have important fishery resources, and some offer good opportunities for aquaculture.  Finally, with their specific marine resources (e.g. deep-sea hydrothermal springs, tropical ecosystems), outermost regions are an ideal location to carry out research into blue biotechnologies, and given their climatic and geographic characteristics they have potential for marine renewable energy (e.g. offshore wind energy, wave energy, or ocean thermal energy).

The outermost regions face the following difficulties in terms of sustainable and harmonious development:

  • remoteness
  • the fact that they are islands
  • small size
  • difficult topography and climate
  • economic dependence on a small number of products.

These conditions require particular attention, when promoting sustainable, economic development.

Key documents

  • Press release: The outermost regions and the EU: a privileged, renewed and strengthened partnership
  • Strategy documents: A stronger and renewed strategic partnership with the EU’s outermost regions
  • Communication: A stronger and renewed strategic partnership with the EU’s outermost regions, Brussels, 17 October 2017, COM(2017) 623 final

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