The European Commission is proposing a new approach for a sustainable blue economy in the EU for the industries and sectors related to oceans, seas and coasts.
All blue economy sectors, including fisheries, aquaculture, coastal tourism, maritime transport, port activities and shipbuilding, will have to reduce their environmental and climate impact, requiring investments in innovative technologies.
The agenda for the blue economy includes achieving the objectives of climate neutrality and zero pollution, notably by developing offshore renewable energy, decarbonising maritime transport and greening ports, with a sustainable ocean energy mix, including floating wind, thermal, wave and tidal energy having the potential to generate a quarter of the EU’s electricity by 2050.
In addition, switching to a circular economy and reducing pollution, including through renewed standards for fishing gear design, ship recycling and decommissioning of offshore platform and action to reduce plastics and microplastics pollution.
The Commission also proposes adaptation activities, such as developing green infrastructure in coastal areas and protecting coastlines from the risk of erosion and flooding to preserve biodiversity and landscapes, while benefitting tourism and the coastal economy.
It believes a sustainable blue economy is essential to achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal and ensuring a green and inclusive recovery from the pandemic.
Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President for the Green Deal said: “Healthy oceans are a precondition for a thriving blue economy. Pollution, overfishing and habitat destruction, coupled with the effects of the climate crisis, all threaten the rich marine biodiversity that the blue economy depends on.
“We must change tack and develop a sustainable blue economy where environmental protection and economic activities go hand in hand.”