17 May 2021
EC publishes Communication on Sustainable Blue Economy
On 17 May 2021, the European Commission has published a 'Communication on a New Approach for a Sustainable Blue Economy in the EU', in the context of achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal and ensuring a green and inclusive recovery from the pandemic.
Transitioning to a sustainable blue economy requires investing in innovative technologiesm such as wave and tidal energy, algae production, development of innovative fishing gear or restoration of marine ecosystems.
The detailed agenda for the blue economy outlined in the Communication includes to:
- Achieve the objectives of climate neutrality and zero pollution notably by developing offshore renewable energy, by decarbonising maritime transport and by greening ports;
- Switch to a circular economy and reduce pollution – including through renewed standards for fishing gear design, for ship recycling, and for decommissioning of offshore platforms and action to reduce plastics and microplastics pollution.
- Preserve biodiversity and invest in nature - protecting 30% of the EU's sea area;
- Support climate adaptation and coastal resilience adaptation activities, such as developing green infrastructure in coastal areas and protecting coastlines from the risk of erosion and flooding;
- Ensure sustainable food production - sustainable production of and new marketing standards for seafood, use of algae and seagrass, stronger fisheries control as well as research and innovation in cell-based seafood;
- Improve management of space at sea – the new Blue Forum for users of the sea to coordinate a dialogue between offshore operators, stakeholders and scientists engaged in fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, tourism, renewable energy and other activities will stimulate cooperative exchange for the sustainable use of marine environment. A report on the implementation of the EU Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning will be issued in 2022, following the adoption of national maritime spatial plans in March 2021.
The Commission states that it will also continue creating the conditions for a sustainable blue economy internationally following the international ocean governance agenda. The EC and the European Investment Bank Group will increase their cooperation on a sustainable blue economy. The new European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund will support the transition towards more sustainable value chains based on the oceans, seas and coastal activities. To further finance the transformation, the Commission has urged Member States to include investments for a sustainable blue economy in their national resilience and recovery plans as well as their national operational programmes for various EU-funds from now to 2027. Horizon Europe will also contribute - a dedicated Mission on Oceans and Waters will be set up.
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