(09 May 2014) – The European Commission has presented an Action Plan for Innovation in the ‘Blue Economy’ to help use ocean resources sustainably and drive growth and jobs in Europe.
The Commission identifies a number of hurdles to be overcome: our knowledge about the sea is still limited, maritime research efforts between Member States are not linked up, whilst the European workforce of tomorrow will need more engineers and scientists to apply new technologies in the marine environment.
The Commission action plan presented today proposes to:
- 1. Deliver a digital map of the entire seabed of European waters by 2020.
- 2. Create an online information platform, to be operational before the end of 2015, on marine research projects.
- 3. Set up a Blue Economy Business and Science Forum.
- 4. Encourage research, business and education actors to map out the needs and skills for tomorrow’s workforce in the maritime sector by 2016.
- 5. Examine the possibility of major players from the research, business and education community to form a Knowledge and Innovation Community (or KIC) for the blue economy after 2020.
The EU’s maritime or “blue” economy is vast, with over 5 million employees in sectors as diverse as fisheries, transport, marine biotech and offshore renewables.