In June the European Commission published the EU Blue Economy Report 2020, providing an overview of all economic sectors related to oceans and the coastal environment across the European Union. The report highlighted the growth of blue economy and its potential in terms of contributing to a sustainable recovery, after many sectors were considerably impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius:
Maritime renewable energy, food from the sea, sustainable coastal and maritime tourism, the blue bio-economy and many other activities constituting the blue economy will help us come out of this crisis stronger, healthier, more resilient and more sustainable. We are doing everything we can to cushion the impact of the lockdown, protect the jobs in the blue economy and the wellbeing of our coastal communities, while retaining our environmental ambitions.
The Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, who has recently underlined Blue-Cloud's role in the task of creating a digital twin of the Earth, added:
“We continue to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors through the European Union Blue Growth Strategy. Research and innovation are fundamental pillars of this European response. We will make sure that research, innovation and education contribute to the transition towards a European Blue Economy. Today's report is part of this scientific support. It provides valuable insights into the economic performance of European marine activities and highlights the areas for priority action.”
In particular, the report addressed the environmental dimension of the blue economy in detail for the first time, putting the achievement of environmental objectives in the context of Europe's response to climate change in the spotlight. The sections on fisheries and aquaculture are especially relevant to the scope of action of Blue-Cloud, as our project includes two pilot demonstrators precisely focusing on these sectors: "Fish, a matter of scales" and "Aquaculture Monitor", both coordinated by the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. The report also stressed the correlation between sustainable fishing and positive economic performance, as well as the recent positive trend seeing a decrease of CO² per unit of gross value added between 2009 and 2017.
The latest EU Blue Economy Report is another critical step towards the inter-connection between the new European Strategy for Data and the specific areas of interest related to the EU Green Deal, striving for more and better data to ensure that the EU is a leading force in an increasingly digital world. The strategy aims to create a policy environment that will make the EU a leader in a data-driven society in all sectors, including ocean-based industries and research. Only with high quality data policy makers and citizens will be able to make adequate and informed decisions.
In the context of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), Blue-Cloud will federate some of the major existing European marine data infrastructures, providing an open science environment where researchers can access and employ multi-disciplinary data. The Blue-Cloud pilot demonstrators respond to the need for availability of large-scale databases providing harmonised and FAIR datasets (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) on a variety of topics, ranging from marine pollution to the sustainability of fisheries, from the abundance of plankton to environmental indicators.
In case you missed our first webinar introducing the five demonstrators, you can watch the recording here.