Blue Economy

Recent studies suggest that the Mediterranean Sea generates an annual economic value which is comparable to the larger economies in our region. These gross figures highlight the huge importance that the Blue economy, understood as “the set of human activities depending on the sea and/or underpinned by land-sea interactions in the context of sustainable development” already represents for our region. At UfM Ministerial meeting on Blue economy held in Brussels on 17 November 2015, Ministers recognized the potential of the Blue economy to promote growth, jobs and investments and reduce poverty, and that healthy seas are drivers and enablers for national and regional economies.

In effect, for Mediterranean region, Blue economy has a huge potential, in particular in certain sectors:

  • For instance, in 2015, the direct contribution of tourism to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Mediterranean countries was 4.5% of the regional GDP, and it is estimated that of the 850 million tourists that travel to or within Mediterranean countries, about 40% visit the Mediterranean coastal areas.

  • The cruise ship sector is also growing in the Mediterranean market, and it is now the second largest market in the world after the Caribbean.

  • The maritime merchant fleet operating in the Mediterranean consists of more than 8.000 vessels delivering about 20% of world seaborne trade;

  • With a current value of over EUR 4.1 billion and 353.000 direct jobs created, the fisheries and aquaculture industry in the Mediterranean Sea is among the most promising BE sectors in terms on growth and employability. Whereas aquaculture provided only 7 % of fish for human consumption in 1974, this share had increased to 50 % in 2014.

  • Although little developed yet, offshore wind energy could increase in production to 12 GW by 2030 and close to 40 GW by 2050 for Mediterranean EU countries Wind energy potential is especially large in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region, where it is estimated at  21,967 TWh/year, 34 times more than the northern countries.