EUROPEAN BIOECONOMY - The blue bioeconomy has climbed up the global, regional and national agendas in recent years. There are increasing expectations as to its growth potential. Despite the generally positive outlook, investors need reliable information in order to evaluate the new investment opportunities in this fast-growing field, and so there should be a comprehensive way to approach the blue bioeconomy and facilitate decision-making. That is why a recent European Commission study carried out by EUMOFA has looked into the opportunities and challenges associated with the use of aquatic biomass to create products.



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 study.


The subject is structured into 5 sections:

1. Mapping non-food uses of fisheries and aquaculture biomass


More than 50% of any finfish product does not directly enter the human food chain. White fish such as cod may generate almost 60% waste, ocean fish such as tuna as much as 70%. For shellfish such as scallops, wastes are as high as 88% of catches and harvests. Among main uses, the following could be mentioned: novel foods and food additives, animal feeds, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, materials (e.g. clothes and construction materials) and energy.


2. The size of demand


Associated with the expected growth in aquaculture, the demand for fishmeal and fish oil is expected to increase. As concerns high-end uses, the outlook of the segment is bright, in view of an ever-increasing share of the population placing value on a healthy lifestyle.


3. Top products and uses


Seaweeds are primarily used for producing products for agriculture (fertiliser, animal feed) and are used also for the commercial production of additives (alginate) for food and non-food applications. New uses are in development especially from cultivated algae.


4. Investment trends


Blue Biotech is being gradually perceived as a potential good high-return investment. Furthermore, some governments are launching positive signs for supporting the sector e.g. through tax incentives and the creation of favourable regulative framework. Among top products attracting major investments, seaweed, microalgae and sea cucumbers play a key role, but also others are evolving rapidly.


5. National strategies to support the blue bioeconomy


Several European countries have adopted overarching science strategies, plans and policies. Most of them are not specific to the blue bioeconomy but include this sector to some extent. No global pan-European plan, strategy or policy specifically dedicated to marine biotechnology exists at present.




THE BALTIC - Bioeconomy consists of the management of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food, livestock feed, bio-based products and bioenergy. It involves tackling major challenges, both now and in the future. Bioeconomy is one of the cornerstones for the Baltic Sea Region economies. The region is extremely rich of forest biomass, has strong agricultural sector and the blue bioeconomy is well developed. The region, as a net biomass producer, can realize a great opportunity by focusing on increasing the value of products and services throughout the value chain.

The bioeconomy is gaining ground in the Baltic Sea Region, as well as in the rest of the world. More and more countries are developing their national bioeconomy strategies and the Nordic countries are even starting the work on a common Nordic bioeconomy strategy. And it doesn’t require a very imaginative mind to wonder if the on-going work of the BSR Bioeconomy Council could lead to common strategy guidelines for the Baltic Sea Region. Guidelines which could help us save the sea, increase prosperity and connect the region. At the same time there is a sense of urgency regarding the bioeconomy. We have all the building blocks and many fantastic efforts for a sustainable bioeconomy in the Baltic Sea Region, but the world is moving at a fast pace and we cannot allow ourselves to be left behind.





Europe is setting course for a resource-efficient and sustainable economy. The goal is a more innovative and low-emissions economy, reconciling demands for sustainable agriculture and fisheries, food security, and the sustainable use of renewable biological resources for industrial purposes, while ensuring biodiversity and environmental protection.

To achieve this, the European Commission has set a Bioeconomy Strategy and action plan which focuses on three key aspects:

* developing new technologies and processes for the bioeconomy;
* developing markets and competitiveness in bioeconomy sectors;
* pushing policymakers and stakeholders to work more closely together.

Moreover the Commission works on ensuring a coherent approach to the bioeconomy through different programmes and instruments including the Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy, Horizon 2020, European environmental initiatives, the Blue Growth initiative for the marine sector and the European Innovation Partnership on Sustainable Agriculture.





How does the bioeconomy contribute to the Commission's political agenda

In his Agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change, President Juncker identified 10 key priorities for the European Commission. The bioeconomy is central to three of them:

* A New Boost for Jobs, Growth and Investment
The innovative bioeconomy is an important source of new jobs – especially at local and regional level, and in rural and coastal areas – and there are big opportunities for the growth of new markets, for example in bio-fuels, food and bio-based products.

* A Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy

Europe needs to diversify its sources of energy and can support breakthroughs in low-carbon technologies with coordinated research. Replacing fossil raw materials with biological resources is an indispensable component of a forward-looking climate change policy.


* A Deeper and Fairer Internal Market with a Strengthened Industrial Base
Innovative bio-based and food industries will contribute in raising the share of industry in GDP from 16% to 20%.and to creating a circular, resource-efficient economy. The food and drink industry is already the largest manufacturing sector in the EU.

In addition, marine issues and food security are two aspects of the bioeconomy where Europe can and should lead the global agenda as part of President Juncker's strategy to make the EU a stronger global actor.


The Bioeconomy and Commissioner's Carlos Moedas agenda for Research and Innovation

One of Commissioner Carlos Moedas' responsibilities during his mandate is to make sure that research funding programmes, notably Horizon 2020, contribute to the Commission's jobs, growth and investment package.

To achieve this, the Commissioner identified three strategic priorities at European level Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World.

The Bioeconomy clearly fits and contributes to these three strategic priorities:

1. it can help tackle grand challenges regarding food and energy that require an open innovation approach, with close collaboration among all stakeholders;


2. it is open science as it promotes research across disciplines and borders; is open to the world because it promotes research across the EU and outside the EU borders and cooperation at a global scale to tackle global challenges.



EU vision for a sustainable bioeconomy




Research into the exploitation of aquatic biodiversity could enable us to make new pharmaceutical products increase the efficiency of catches and develop protein sources for human consumption from untapped resources, while at the same time reducing wastage.


Mankind now has the underwater technology to explore the sea and undertake DNA sequencing to analyze 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 blue growth and facilitate access to competitive niche markets whilst avoiding risks to the marine environment.







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.




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