EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki stresses the importance of sustainability. (Photo Credit: European Union/FIS)
Blue Economy initiative introduced
Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 04:50 (GMT + 9)
This week the European Commission (EC) launched a proposal to improve both the planning of maritime activities at sea and the management of coastal areas in an attempt to make real the potential of Europe's Blue Economy for growth and jobs.
The proposal takes the form of a draft directive and seeks to set a common European framework for maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal management in Member States within the European Union (EU). The proposal also aims to make sure that sustainability reigns insofar as the growth of maritime and coastal activities and the use of resources at sea and on coasts.
"Today we are proposing a new step of the Integrated Maritime Policy of the European Union and offering a new tool for our Blue Growth Strategy," Commissioner Maria Damanaki said.
Blue Economy is growing very rapidly, she explained, and this includes marine transport as well as cruise tourism, the latter of which has grown threefold in the last decade. Maritime transport is becoming increasingly crucial for the EU’s external trade.
Damanaki pointed out that by 2020, offshore wind energy is expected to grow by 30 per cent, and experts expect a tenfold growth of tidal and wave energy.
The goal of the Blue Economy initiative is to provide “optimal conditions for the sustainable development of new businesses” while also leaving room for the businesses that already exist -- and at the same time preserving the environment.
Damanaki mentioned climate change and natural hazards as some of the threats facing the environment today and which the EU must take into account when it makes decisions regarding marine transport and travel.
Member States are being asked to create their own plans and maritime spatial plans and to develop coastal management strategies.
“We want to make sure that we provide optimal conditions for the sustainable development of new businesses at seas and that we leave space for existing sectors -- while preserving the environment,” Damanaki stressed.
By Natalia Real