A great opportunity to develop a sustainable blue economy sector
With its 85 million inhabitants and a surface area of around 420,000 km2, the Baltic Sea provides an unmissable chance to build a strong blue economy sector in the countries washed by its shallow waters. The term blue economy refers to all those sustainable marine-related activities undertaken in the sea and coastal areas, such as blue biotechnology, shipping, fishery, and coastal tourism. Every time the Baltic Sea coastal regions wisely exploit the valuable potential at their disposal, developing modern, resource-efficient and competitive economies, it brings them closer to water-smart and climate-neutral societies.
The sector has grown significantly in the last years in the European Union and it has potential to further expand, as shown by this report of the European Commission. In the Baltic Sea region, Poland and Sweden have experienced a major increase by around 30% in the gross value added (GVA) generated by the blue economy from 2009 to 2018. In Denmark and Germany, it is the employment rate in the sector which has grown substantially (increase of 30% and 20% respectively). Currently, Estonia is the country with the highest employment share of 7% in the blue economy sector.
What has Interreg Baltic Sea Region done to advance blue economy in the area?
Interreg Baltic Sea Region has supported projects focused on the sustainable use of marine resources in innovative business development in the whole region. Currently, there are ten initiatives co-finaned by the Programme that are related to the blue economy, spanning from mussels and algae cultivation, maritime spatial planning, fishing, coastal and underwater cultural heritage to blue biotechnology. Among them there are the projects ALLIANCE, Baltic Blue Growth, Capacity4MSP and Blue Platform which well demonstrate how to bring in more sustainable blue growth to the region.