Blue Bioeconomy

According to the FAO, fish represent one-sixth of animal protein supply and 6.5% of all protein for human consumption. Global algae production was 31.2 million tonnes in 2016. 

Creating products from renewable aquatic biological resources for economic activities.

The waste produced in the fisheries and aquaculture includes approximately 130Mt, about €43bn. Only 50% of any fish caught or farmed is consumed, leaving 50% of remaining nutritional, pharmaceutical and cosmetic ingredients unutilized. 

Algae and seafood are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, enzymes, collagen, chitin, gelatine, carotenoids, enzymes, and amino acids, among other ingredients. These ingredients can be used to create another type of side-products like biogas, biodiesel, health care products, pharmaceuticals, among others. 

Value of the blue bioeconomy

According to the OECD, in 2017 the blue bioeconomy had an annual turnover of €185 million. The blue bioeconomy accounts for: 

  • 8% of the total biotech market 
  • Less than 1% of the total bio-materials market 
  • Marine bio energies represent 2% of the energy market (H2 from bacteria, and biogas) 
  • 11% of the global animal protein (fish aquaculture and seaweeds) 
  • 6% of the chemicals market
  • 13% of the cosmetics market 
  • 32% of the nutraceuticals market 
  • 38% of natural compounds market.

These fish and algae by-products can generate high added-value and become an additional economic activity for the blue bioeconomy. These initiatives contribute significantly to the responsible and sustainable use of marine ecosystems, ensuring that countries obtain the highest possible level of economic growth while conserving their natural resource base.

Developing this industry takes time and cost but it can take full advantage of the seafood resources. Therefore, R&D, innovation, and financing are crucial in the development of this new industry, especially when planning long-term economic growth. 

The study “Blue bioeconomy: situation report and perspectives” carried out by EUMOFA provides insights and updates of the blue bioeconomic sector.

By Maria Paula Ar…