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EU Blue Economy Observatory

EU Blue Economy Sectors

Blue Biotechnology

This sector includes the non-traditionally commercially exploited groups of marine organisms and their biomass application. Macro- and micro-algae, bacteria, fungi and invertebrates are important marine resources used inter-alia as feedstock in the Blue Bioeconomy.

Coastal tourism

Tourism plays an important role in many EU Member States' economies. For the purpose of the EU Blue Economy Report and Observatory, coastal tourism includes cruise and maritime tourism and is broken down into three main sub-sectors: Accommodation, Transport and Other Expenditures.


Desalination of seawater is the alternative water supply technology that can alleviate growing pressure on freshwater resources.

Infrastructure and Robotics

This sector comprises the development, construction and deployment of sub-marine cables, marine robotics and other digital and technological applications for Blue Economy activities.

Marine living resources

The Marine Living Resources sector encompasses the harvesting of renewable biological resources, their conversion into food, feed products and their distribution along the supply chain.

Marine non-living resources

The marine non-living resources sector comprises three main sub sectors: (i) Extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas; (ii) Extraction of other minerals, including salt; (iii) support activities for the extractive industry.

Maritime defence

This section covers the Maritime Defence sector and the Maritime Security and Surveillance Sector. These sectors are expanding with a growing number of technological innovations and applications for both military and civilian uses.

Maritime transport

Maritime transport plays a key role in the world's economy and is expected to make a crucial contribution to the EU decarbonisation challenge.
The sector includes: Passenger Transport, Freight Transport, Services for transport such as renting and leasing of water transport equipment.

Ocean energy

This sector comprises: Floating Offshore Wind, Wave and Tidal Energy, Floating Solar Photovoltaic Energy and Hydrogen Generation Offshore.

Port activities

Port activities continue to play a key role in trade, economic development and job creation in Europe. They comprise:
Cargo and warehousing: cargo handling and warehousing and storage.
Port and water projects: construction of water projects and service activities incidental to water transportation.

Research and innovation

This section focuses on European research programs concerning the Blue Economy as well as technological development enabled through EU Research and Innovation (R&I) funding.

Shipbuilding and repair

The Shipbuilding sector includes:
Shipbuilding: building of ships and floating structures, building of pleasure and sporting boats including repair and maintenance.
Equipment and machinery: manufacturing of cordage, rope, twine and netting, textiles, sport goods, engines and turbines.