Blue Growth, Què? Blue Growth is a buzzword, but what’s in a name?

“If the ocean were a country, it would be the world’s seventh largest economy”, a quote by Karmenu Vella (2017), chairman of the department of Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission. It tries to envision the state and importance of our marine environment.

The European Commission recognizes that the sea and the coasts are drivers of the economy. For the European Union the “blue” economy represents roughly 5.4 million jobs and generates a gross added value of almost €500 billion a year.

However, further growth is possible in a number of areas which are highlighted.

The EU endorsed the "Blue Growth Strategy in October 2012 at ministerial level through the Limassol Declaration . The European Commission tabled a Communication on innovation in the blue economy. The objective of this strategy was to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and employment opportunities in Europe's maritime economy. Subsequently, a marine and maritime agenda was developed to back the Europe 2020 strategy. The agenda focuses on promising maritime sectors where there is a great potential for new jobs and growth.

Those sectors are: Aquaculture, Coastal tourism, Marine biotechnology, Ocean energy and Seabed mining. Other sectors also are considered crucial for the creation of added value and jobs, namely: shipbuilding and ship repair, transport (cargo and ferry), fisheries, offshores oil and gas.

Moreover, the strategy focusses on the essential components to provide knowledge, legal certainty and security in the blue economy. Back to back with the EU Research and Innovation programme 'H2020' all-round strategy for Europe, the specific objective was to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and employment opportunities in Europe's maritime economy. Hence, another common reference, "The Blue Economy".

An example is SDG 14 " Life Below Water" which aims, among other things, to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems, minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, regulate harvesting by ending overfishing and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, conserve coastal and marine areas, increase scientific knowledge and transfer sustainable marine technologies. In other words, this means that the SDG’s cover a broad array of topics relating to the Blue Growth themes.

Role of our summer school

The goal of the summer school is to provide an in depth overview in terms of “Ocean Literacy”, covering both maritime and marine modules. The Blue Growth Summer School aims to provide an extensive training course combining theoretical sessions on a wide variety of topics, several on-site visits to amongst others the wind farms and Flanders Maritime Institute. Furthermore, workshops will be organised on the application of AV-RV technologies in Blue Growth industries and communicating with impact.

Next to high-level training, the students are challenged by an assignment which is inspired on the challenges within the Blue Growth domain.

Lastly, a unique Job Fair will be organized which will give a good overview of what possibilities the Blue Economy can offer.