FISHING and other maritime activities have a major role in helping Europe to help it get through its current economic crisis, the EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki has said.
She said that while every economic sector was important she felt "in this context, the marine and maritime sectors – the 'blue economy' – have an important role to play in the overall road to Europe's economic recovery.
"They represent roughly 5.6 million jobs and account for a gross value added of €495 billion and range from established ones such as coastal tourism (€121 billion gross value to developing sectors such as cruise tourism (annual GVA of €14.1 billion) and to prospective sectors such as blue biotechnology.
"Blue Growth – the sustainable growth from the oceans, seas and coasts – will be the main contribution of an Integrated Maritime Policy to the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy."
The Commissioner said Europe needed to address framework conditions underpinning growth, such as fishing and maritime research and development, smart infrastructure, clusters, access to finance and necessary education, skills and training. We also have to address bottlenecks hindering economic development.
A Blue Growth strategy would help all actors -Member States, regions, and the business sector- to adjust their focus towards areas that hold the greatest potential growth in terms of profits and employment and would define concrete measures, which can help stimulate the blue economy – and Europe – in the coming years.
Blue Growth can make a real, tangible and positive difference in terms of growth and jobs for Europe's citizens reform to defend sustainability, so that environment, social inclusion and economic profitability can go hand in hand
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