Greening the Blue Bioeconomy and Transition to Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture
Unsustainable use of the oceans and their resources leads to severe problems, like depletion of fish stocks, biodiversity loss, habitat degradation and increased pollution, among other negative impacts. With a scoping study, awarded by the European Environment Agency (EEA), Ecologic Institute, together with Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), analyses the potential of the blue bioeconomy to become more sustainable by transforming to more sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.
The blue bioeconomy encompasses economic activities dealing with the conversion of living marine resources into a variety of services and products, like food, feed, bioenergy or bio-based materials. In other words, it is the marine food chain interacting with an array of value chains and human well-being. An essential part and focus of the EU blue bioeconomy is therefore fisheries and aquaculture.
This scoping study focuses on the blue bioeconomy in relation to three interdependent topic areas: (1) biodiversity, (2) circularity / circular economy, and (3) economic (policy) instruments. It tackles the question of how these topic areas are affected by or affect the transition of traditional fisheries and aquaculture to sustainable activities.
- Biodiversity: Marine biodiversity is essential for blue bioeconomy. However, traditional fisheries and aquaculture bring certain pressures for the respective ecosystems. A transition to more sustainable fisheries and aquaculture could lower these ecosystem pressures and provide resources to blue bioeconomy.
- Circularity / circular economy: The circular economy concept offers a way to transition the blue bioeconomy into a more sustainable approach.
- Economic (policy) instruments: Policy instruments that address market failure issues, externalities and societal concerns could support the transition to more sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.
The scoping study will inform the EEA in which areas it can provide added value to the transformative changes needed in the EU fisheries and aquaculture sectors to support marine biodiversity and ecosystems, and what actual changes it should do. This will be done in a form of a roadmap aiming to green the blue bioeconomy and transition to more sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. It will identify the needed skills and know-how to help fill the existing gaps in policy design, implementation, and knowledge.