Humpback wales are dying from plastic pollution


MARINE LIFE - This humpback whale is one example of a magnificent animal that is at the mercy of human activity. Humans are for the most part unaware of the harm their fast-lane lifestyles are causing. We aim to change that by doing all we can to promote ocean literacy.




Marine life has adapted to thrive in the extreme ambient conditions found in the sea. Blue biotechnology is concerned with the exploration and exploitation of the resulting diverse marine organisms in order to develop new products. This subject has now been identified as a European Union level action for future blue growth.


The "blue bioeconomy" is any economic activity associated with the use of renewable aquatic biological resources to make products. Examples of such products include novel foods and food additives, animal feeds, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, materials (e.g. clothes and construction materials) and energy. Businesses that grow the raw materials for these products, that extract, refine, process and transform the biological compounds, as well as those developing the required technologies and equipment all form part of the blue bioeconomy.

Typical aquaculture and fisheries, where the fish or shellfish are caught or produced for human consumption, is excluded from this heading.




There is no global pan-European plan, strategy or policy specifically dedicated to marine biotechnology. However, marine genetic resources research has been supported through the MarBEF (Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning, FP6 Network of Excellence), JPI Oceans (Joint Programming Initiative), or Marine Biotechnology ERA-NET. These initiatives mostly focus on academic research. An overview of key marine biotechnology science policy is available on Marine Biotech website (, including major infrastructures coordination and support initiatives, science policy and coordination initiatives and research initiatives.







No specific Marine Biotechnology strategy, plan or policy, but if we look at the nutrition industry, especially energetic drinks, Austria has been one of the leading countries where most of the key products have emerged, thanks to the massive entrepreneurial programme they have initiated on that niche to counter Red Bull implantation.


No specific Marine Biotechnology strategy, but the blue cluster is preparing a road map to be submitted to the national Parliament. It will encompass both a maritime and a marine dimension.


No specific Marine Biotechnology strategy, plan or policy.


No specific Marine Biotechnology strategy, plan or policy.


National Whitepaper: "Research2020".


Estonian biotechnology strategy 2008-2013.


Finnish Biotechnology policy.


There are no specific Marine Biotechnology strategies, plans or policies at the national level. The Overarching French Science & Technology Policy is described in the National Programming Law for Research and in the National Research Strategy (SNRI) In 2009, the "National strategy for the sea and the oceans" Blue Book laid out France’s maritime policy. The Blue Book reaffirmed France's ambition to know in depth, protect and manage its vast maritime area; a source of economic and ecological wealth.

Blue book / National strategy for the sea and the oceans. The marine research component of the overarching Science & Technology Policy is further elaborated in the strategic policy document of the French marine science organization Ifremer: Exploring the sea to understand the earth: contribution to a national research strategy for marine sciences for 2020.


There are no specific Marine Biotechnology strategies, plans or policies – Gesine Meissner from the European group is preparing a roadmap at national level that she will present when the new government is formed. At the federal level:

- "National Research Strategy BioEconomy 2030: Our Route towards a Biobased Economy"(BMBF) and the "National Policy Strategy BioEconomy" (BMEL)

- High-Tech-Strategy 2020; Technology Campaign (Innovationsstrategie); Nationaler Masterplan Maritime Technologien (NMMT) "Biotechnologie 2020+

- Strategy of the German Agricultural Research Alliance (dafa - Deutsche Agrarforschungsallianz)

- Framework Program Research for Sustainable Development (FONA)

At the regional level:

- "Sea or Future" initiative of state Schleswig-Holstein;

- Masterplan Marine Biotechnology Schleswig-Holstein.


There are no specific Marine Biotechnology strategies, plans or policies.


The Science and Technology Policy Council is responsible for setting public policy in matters of science and technology. Iceland does not have a dedicated Marine Biotechnology policy, strategy or plan.


National research agenda is set-out in the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation.

Ireland has a national strategy on marine biotechnology, as an element of an overall marine research strategy (Sea Change), focusing on biodiscovery and functional foods/nutraceuticals.

A recent broader national research prioritization exercise includes marine functional food as part of a ‘Food for Health’ priority and opportunities marine biodiscovery research within the ‘Therapeutics’ priority.

Other related policy and national strategies include:

- Food Harvest 2020 (a plan for Ireland’s food sector);

-Food Research Ireland (strategic research agenda).


Italy does not have a dedicated Marine Biotechnology strategy, plan or policy. The overarching Italian Science and Technology Policy is described in "Programma Nazionale della Ricerca". The marine research component of this Strategy is further developed in the Italian Research for the Sea programme managed by Ministry of Education, University and Research.

RITMARE is a national programme which promotes marine research, including Biotechnologies.


There are no specific Marine Biotechnology strategies, plans or policies.


Lithuanian biotechnology policy.


There is currently no specific Marine Biotechnology strategy or policy in Malta. A National Strategy for Research and Innovation for the period 2011-2020 is being developed.

National Strategic Plan for Research and Innovation: Building and Sustaining the R&I Enabling Framework Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST).

The Netherlands

There is no dedicated strategy or policy for Marine Biotechnology research.


- National Whitepaper: "Climate for research" (overall government’s research strategy).

- National Whitepaper: "Marine Bioprospecting- a source of new and sustainable wealth growth" (Government’s strategy for marine bioprospecting).

- National Whitepaper: "National strategy for biotechnology" (government’s strategy on biotechnology).

- National White paper: "Strategy for an Environmentally Sustainable Norwegian Aquaculture Industry" (government’s strategy on aquaculture)


There are no specific Marine Biotechnology strategies, plans or policies


Portugal has a National strategy for the Sea (ENM). This strategy is a public policy instrument that presents a new development model for the ocean (blue growth) that points to a long-term, intelligent, sustainable and inclusive growth path, and intends to prepare Portugal to tackle the challenges brought by the growth, promotion and competitiveness of the Sea Economy, at both European and International levels. This strategy lists a series of concrete measures and actions and one of the main intervention domains deals with the sustainable exploitation of living resources, where it is expected that biotechnology will be a major instrument for in sea food processing, including fisheries and aquaculture, valorisation of biomass and rest raw materials, leading to an impact in numerous industrial applications, such as food and feed, pharmaceutical, cosmeceutical, and others.

"The Research & Innovation smart specialization strategy" (ENEI_PT) reinforces these intentions, and identifies the Sea economy as one of the main priorities for Portugal

- Direcção geral da política do mar (DGPM)

The DGPM’s mission is to develop, evaluate and update the National Strategy for the Sea, to elaborate, and propose political measures, to plan and regulate the maritime space in his different uses and activities, to follow-up and participate in the Maritime policy integrated in the EU and promote the national and international cooperation in maritime affairs.

- COTEC Portugal is a business association for innovation. It has the mission to «promote the competitiveness of companies established in Portugal". COTEC led the elaboration of a document "Blue Growth for Portugal" that analysis in detail the current state and perspectives for the six main maritime areas: 1.Food/feed from marine resources, 2.Offshore energy, 3.Equipment, repair and shipbuilding, 4. Leisure, tourism and recreation, 5.New uses and bioresources from the sea, 6. Ports and Maritime transport (see: Blue growth for Portugal).


There is currently no national strategy or plan specifically for Marine Biotechnology research.


There are no specific Marine Biotechnology strategies, plans or policies.


Strategy: Spanish Strategy for Science and Technology and Innovation.

National Plan for Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation

The Spanish National Plan focuses on research and innovation. It has been developed to implement the National Strategy.


There are no specific Marine Biotechnology strategies, plans or policies.


There is currently no dedicated Marine Biotechnology policy or strategy. Overarching research priorities of the government are determined by the Swedish Research and Innovation Bill and the Swedish biotechnology policy.


There is currently no national marine biotechnology policy or strategy Nevertheless, Marine Biotechnology is addressed as part of the overarching long-term science and technology vision and strategy (National Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy). The Strategy has fundamental objectives to develop cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral research-technology and innovation which suits perfectly marine/maritime and biotechnology research.

United Kingdom

There is currently no national strategy for marine biotechnology. Marine Biotechnology fits into the wider science and technology policy and supported via overarching marine and bioscience strategies. The marine research component of this Policy/Strategy is further developed in UK Marine Science Strategy (2010-2025) led by the UK Marine Science Co-ordination Committee.







Exploration of the sea biodiversity could enable us to develop new pharmaceuticals or industrial enzymes that can withstand extreme conditions, and which consequently have high economic value. In the long term, it is expected that the sector will offer high-skilled employment and significant downstream opportunities.

Mankind now has the underwater technology to explore the sea and undertake DNA sequencing to analyse its life. Concerted action from the EU at this early stage joins up the efforts of EU countries in order to provide critical mass and hence stimulate growth and facilitate access to competitive niche markets whilst avoiding risks to the marine environment.




Agar: a jelly-like mixture of two components: the linear polysaccharide agarose, and a heterogeneous mixture of smaller molecules called agaropectin. It forms the supporting structure in the cell walls of certain species of algae, and is released on boiling. It is used as an ingredient in desserts throughout Asia, and also as a solid substrate to contain culture media for microbiological work. Agar can be used as a laxative, an appetite suppressant, a vegetarian substitute for gelatin, a thickener for soups, in fruit preserves, ice cream, and other desserts, as a clarifying agent in brewing, and for sizing paper and fabrics.

Alginate: an irreversible hydrocolloid consisting of salts of alginic acid, a colloidal acid polysaccharide obtained from seaweed and composed of mannuronic acid residues. In extracted form it absorbs water quickly; it is capable of absorbing 200-300 times its own weight in water.

Alkyds: synthetic resins that are used especially for protective coatings and in paint.

Anaerobic digestion: a collection of processes by which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen.

Astaxanthins: a keto-carotenoid, used as a dietary supplement intended for human, animal, and aquaculture consumption.

Biochar: charcoal used as a soil amendment.

Biorefinery: a facility that integrates biomass conversion processes and equipment to produce fuels, power, heat, and value-added chemicals from biomass.

Carotenoids: organic pigments that are produced by plants and algae. They are believed to provide health benefits in decreasing the risk of disease, particularly certain cancers and eye disease.

Carrageenans: a family of linear sulfated polysaccharides that are extracted from red edible seaweeds. They are widely used in the food industry, for their gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties. Their main application is in dairy and meat products, due to their strong binding to food proteins.

Chitosan: a linear polysaccharide made by treating the chitin shells of shrimp and other crustaceans with an alkaline substance. Chitosan can be used in agriculture as a seed treatment and biopesticide, in winemaking as a fining agent, in industry in a self-healing polyurethane paint coating, in medicine in bandages to reduce bleeding and as an antibacterial agent. It can also be used to help deliver drugs through the skin.

Esterification: a chemical reaction that forms at least one ester (= a type of compound produced by reaction between acids and alcohols.

Extremophiles: organisms that thrives in physically or geochemically extreme conditions that are detrimental to most life on earth. Some of them are enzymes that can modify DNA, and so are used in clinical diagnostics and starch liquefaction are produced commercially by several biotechnology companies.

Flocculants: chemicals that promote flocculation (= a process wherein colloids come out of suspension in the form of floc) by causing colloids and other suspended particles in liquids to aggregate, forming a floc. Flocculants are used in water treatment processes to improve the sedimentation or filterability of small particles.


Fucoidans: sulfated polysaccharides found mainly in various species of brown algae and brown seaweed. They are used as an ingredient in some dietary supplement products.

Guanine: is one of the four main nucleobases found in the nucleic acids DNA and RNA.

Hydrocolloids: hydrocolloids are gums that are added to foodstuffs in order to control their functional properties, such as thickening or gelling.

Hydrolysates: proteins digested into smaller fragments, peptides, and its sole building blocks, the amino acids. They are used as nutrient and fluid replenishers in special diets or for patients unable to take ordinary food proteins.

Hydroxyapatite: a calcium phosphate similar to the human hard tissues in morphology and composition. It may be used in applications such as bone tissue engineering, bone void fillers, orthopedic and dental implant coating, restoration of periodontal defects, edentulous ridge augmentation, endodontic treatment like pulp capping, desensitizing agent in post teeth bleaching, remineralising agent in toothpastes, drug and gene delivering.

Macroalgae: large aquatic photosynthetic plants that can be seen without the aid of a microscope. he most familiar types can generally be divided into three groups: Green (Chlorophyta), Red (Rhodophyta), and Brown-Kelps (Phaeophyta - related to Chromista).

Microalgae: small microscopic aquatic photosynthetic plants that require the aid of a microscope to be seen. They live in both the water column and sediment. They are unicellular species which exist individually, or in chains or groups.

Milt: seminal fluid of fish, molluscs, and certain other water-dwelling animals who reproduce by spraying this fluid which contains the sperm, onto roe (fish eggs).

Nori: it is the Japanese name for edible seaweed species of the red algae genus Pyropia.

Peptides: chemical agents belonging to the protein family. A peptide is composed of a mixture of several amino acids. Because of the near-infinite number of structure combinations of the constituent amino acids, peptides are widely used in medicine and industry for everything from anti-aging creams to sweetening coffee.

Phlorotannins: tannins found in brown algae such as kelps and rockweeds or sargassacean species, and in a lower amount also in some red algae. Phlorotannins can have anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, anti-oxidation, antibacterial, radioprotective and anti-HIV properties.

Photobioreactor: a bioreactor which incorporates some type of light source. These organisms use photosynthesis to generate biomass from light and carbon dioxide and include plants, mosses, macroalgae, microalgae, cyanobacteria and purple bacteria.

Reduction fish: stocks of fish that are used for feed.

Rest raw material: what remains after the edible part of the animal, fish or plant has been removed.

Swim bladder: an internal gas-filled organ that contributes to the ability of many bony fish to control their buoyancy.

Thallus: the undifferentiated vegetative tissue.

Wakame: Japanese name for Undaria pinnatifida, a species of edible seaweed, a type of marine algae, and a sea vegetable. It has a subtly sweet, but distinctive and strong flavour and texture. It is most often served in soups and salads.






Common Fishery Policy


Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


European Commission


European Investment Bank


European Investment Fund


Food and Agriculture Organisation


Fully-Documented Fisheries


7th Framework Programme


Fish, Shellfish and Crustacea


GigaWatt hour


Horizon 2020


International Fishmeal and Fish Oil


Thousand tonnes


Lower North Shore (Canada)


Landing Obligation


Million tonnes


Nomenclature des Activités Économiques dans les Communautés Européennes


Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development


Office national interprofessionnel des produits de la mer et de l'aquaculture. Since 2009, FranceAgriMer


Per annum


Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid


Rest Raw Material


Scientific Advice Mechanism


Science Advice for Policy by European Academies


Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum



Food or human nutritional uses of marine and aquaculture biomass include:

• Direct-to-consumer via artisan fishing, markets, retail sale and restaurants;
• Fillets and other primary-processed material such as roes, ex-shell molluscs and crustacea;
• Fish oils for nutritional supplements and omega-3 fatty acids;
• Fishmeal extracts for protein and oils for human nutrition;
Chopping/mincing of edible trimmings for processed fish products such as surimi and prepared frozen or chilled foods;
Seaweed hydrocolloids for food and pharmaceutical use;
• Seaweed extracts for nutritional supplements and anti-oxidants;
• Whole and extracted microalgae for nutritional supplements, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids;
• Higher-value elements: collagens, gelatins, minerals, chitin derivatives, carotenoids, enzymes, amino-acids, for nutrition and supplementation.
Non-food uses or treatments of marine and aquaculture biomass include:
• Higher-value elements: collagens, gelatins, minerals, chitin derivatives, carotenoids, enzymes, amino-acids, peptones, for animal nutrition, laboratory, chemical, agricultural uses – the same potential as for materials of food-grade quality, but essentially manufactured from biomass not of food grade;
• Fishmeal and fish oil for animal feed;
• Minced fish for petfoods;
• Fishmeal extracts for petfoods;
• Ensiling for protein concentrates and hydrolysates for animal nutrition;
• Processed fish oils for industrial uses;
• Chopping/mincing/freezing for direct baits, animal and fish feeds;
• Composting for fertiliser/soil improver;
• Aerobic Digestion for biogas and fertiliser/soil improver;
• At-sea discards (e.g. pollock RRM by Russian fisheries, and bycatch);
• Landfill (less so in Europe and other developed states).









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