The Annual Report on the EU Blue Economy

The 2018 Annual Report on the EU Blue Economy describes the scope and progress of the blue economy. The aim is to provide evidence-based policy- and decision-making, and help identify investment opportunities.  

The EU blue economy is growing steadily, and is a driver of economic growth, innovation and jobs. The report focuses on six established sectors, and examines their contribution to the blue economy in terms of employment and value added (GVA):

  • coastal tourism
  • extraction and commercialisation of marine living resources
  • marine extraction of oil and natural gas
  • maritime transport
  • port activities
  • shipbuilding

Contributors to employment

In terms of employment, coastal tourism is by far the largest contributor. Extraction of marine living resources is also a key contributor to employment. The oil and gas industry only accounts for a small fraction of the total jobs in the blue economy, but contributes one fifth to overall blue economy-based profits. The shipbuilding industry, maritime transport and port activities have experienced downturns due to the economic crisis, but are showing signs of recovery. The United Kingdom is the largest contributor to the GVA, while Spain accounts for one fifth of total employment.

The report also looks into five emerging and innovative sectors:

  • aquaculture
  • blue biotechnology
  • blue energy (offshore wind and ocean energy)
  • maritime tourism
  • seabed mining

These sectors have high potential for future development, but due to limited data it is not possible to provide detailed information on their current size and contribution to the blue economy. The report also underlines that a lack of both public and private funding is preventing them to achieve their full potential.

Further collaboration necessary

For the EU blue economy to keep growing, more effective and coordinated steps are needed to integrate environmental, economic and social aspects of ocean management. Governments and stakeholder also need harmonized, accurate and reliable data in order to make informed decisions. Therefore, it is necessary to foster further collaboration between national statistics and EUROSTAT.

Read the full report here.

By Martine Farstad