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EU Blue Economy Observatory

EU Blue Economy Sectors

[Image of algae seaweed in test tubes ]

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.

Image showing the coast of Procida island in Italy.

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.

[water in glass]

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

a robot inspecting a sunken ship

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

Ariel view of farm salmon fishing in the Mediterranean Sea.

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.

Ariel view tanker ship loading in port at night,

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.


Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) focuses on Offshore Wind Energy. Other sources of energy are detailed on Ocean Energy.


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.

Image of containers being shipped.

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.


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.

[people with ideas]

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.


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.