World Economy

EU Blue Economy Thriving With Turnover of $659b

Britain, Spain, Italy, France and Greece have Europe’s biggest blue economies.Britain, Spain, Italy, France and Greece have Europe’s biggest blue economies.

The EU’s blue economy–all economic activities related to oceans, seas and coastal areas–is growing steadily, according to the EU’s first annual report on the blue economy.

With a turnover of €566 billion ($659 billion), the sector generates €174 billion of value added and creates jobs for nearly 3.5 million people, Hellenic Shipping quoted European Commission’s Joint Research Center as reporting.

European commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said: “The EU’s blue economy is consistently growing over the last decade and the potential for the future is promising. With investments in innovation and through responsible ocean management, integrating environmental, economic and social aspects, we can double the sector in a sustainable way by 2030.”

Tibor Navracsics, commissioner for education, culture, youth and sport, responsible for the JRC, said: “Thanks to the scientific input provided by the Joint Research Center we are able to track what drives the blue economy and how it is developing. This report will support policymakers and stakeholders in creating new business opportunities and managing the resources of oceans, seas and coastal resources in a sustainable manner.”

“The blue economy represents all economic activities related to our oceans, seas or coastal areas. It covers established sectors such as fisheries, shipbuilding and tourism as well as emerging industries, including ocean energy and biotechnology. In several EU member states, the blue economy has grown faster than the national economy in the last decade.”

During the financial crisis, the blue economy proved more resilient in those member states, softening the effects of the downturn on coastal economies.

The report presents the current status and recent trends in the six established blue economy sectors in different EU member states, to gain insight into where new opportunities and sustainable competitive advantage may be found.

Britain, Spain, Italy, France and Greece have Europe’s biggest blue economies. Spain accounts for one fifth of total employment, followed by Italy, Britain and Greece. Combined, these four member states account for more than half of the total blue economy-related jobs.

Among the different sectors, that of the ‘living resources’ (i.e. fisheries, aquaculture and processing) has grown by 22% between 2009-2016. Increased sustainability, thanks to the EU common fisheries policy, plays an important role in this positive development.

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