2020 Blue Economy Report: Blue sectors contribute to the recovery and pave way for EU Green Deal
Yesterday (11 June), the European Commission published “The EU Blue Economy Report 2020”, providing an overview of the performance of the EU economic sectors related to oceans and the coastal environment.
With a turnover of €750 billion in 2018, the EU blue economy is in good health. There were also 5 million people working in the blue economy sector in 2018, representing a significant increase of 11.6% compared to the year before.
Although sectors such as coastal and marine tourism, as well as fisheries and aquaculture are severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the blue economy as a whole presents a huge potential in terms of its contribution to a green recovery.
While the marine environment is typically associated with traditional activities such as fishing or transport, it houses an increasing number of emerging, innovative sectors including marine renewable energy.
The EU, world leader in ocean energy technology, is on track to produce up to 35% of its electricity from offshore sources by 2050.
For the first time, the report addresses the environmental dimension of the blue economy in detail, thereby also contributing to achieving environmental objectives.
With a decrease of 29% of CO² per unit of gross value added between 2009 and 2017, fisheries and aquaculture growth is firmly decoupled from greenhouse gas production. Moreover, the report stresses the correlation between sustainable fishing and positive economic performance.
Greening is also ongoing in other sectors. Fuelled by the International Maritime Organisation’s 2020 sulphur cap, maritime transport is looking increasingly towards less carbon-intensive energy sources. In addition, a network of “green ports” is reducing the ecological footprint of these economically important hubs between the ocean and the mainland.
The report also looks at the economic value of several ecosystem services provided by the ocean, including habitats for marine life, carbon sequestration, and processes that influence climate change and biodiversity.
With 5 million people employed in 2018, the number of jobs in the EU blue economy has increased by 11.6% from the previous year. This growth was mainly driven by the coastal tourism sector. Jobs in the offshore wind energy sector have multiplied nine-fold in less than 10 years.
These figures illustrate that the EU Blue Economy has overcome the devastating impact of the economic and financial crisis of 2008. As the current coronavirus crisis has an impact on all economic sectors, including the blue economy, the European Commission has taken strong measures early on to protect the EU economy, including the various sectors of the blue economy.