Module 1

Unit 1.3

Introduction to the Blue Economy

University of Malta
Institute for Tourism, Travel & Culture

The Blue Economy
and economic factors & dynamics

Blue Economy and Sectors Overview

The state of the Blue Economy is many times analysed for the following economic sectors, the economic value of  which is mainly based or supported by marine natural ecosystems and maritime resources, particuarly the following:

Tourism (coastal), Fisheries and Aquaculture, Maritime Transport and Port activities, Shipbuilding and Recycling, Energy (offshore), Bioprospecting, Deep-sea Mining

Compared to the other sectors of the Blue Economy, tourism in coastal areas has by far the highest Gross Value Added (83% of the total EUR 169 bn BE GVA) and the highest employment (79% of the total 4.2 million BE jobs) as shown in the figures in the next slide.

Note: Gross Value Added (GVA): value of the amount of goods and services that have been produced, less the cost of all inputs and raw materials that are directly attributable to that production.

Sector interlinkages & integration

There are clear links between the different sectors. For instance, tourists require maritime transport and enjoy traditional fish or sea food; offshore wind energy may interfere with fishing activities; shipbuilding and recycling depend largely on demand from the transport sector. Some innovative activities (e.g. fishing tourism) further emphasise the importance of integration between different sectors. For this reason, the adoption of a cross-sectoral approach is crucial to analysing and developing strategies.

One key example for the importance of a cross-sectorial approach in a sustainable Blue Economy is the implementation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that have beneficial repercussions on several economic sectors such as coastal tourism or fisheries.


MedPAN, UNEP/MAP-RAC/SPA (2016), The 2016 Status Of Marine Protected Areas In The Mediterranean.

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European Environment Agency (2015), Marine Protected Areas in Europe’s seas.

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Mangos A., Claudot M.-A. (2013). Economic study of the impacts of marine and coastal protected areas in the Mediterranean. Plan Bleu.

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Further references

Brander, L. et al. (2015), The Benefits to People of Expanding of Marine Protected Areas, IVM Institute for Environmental Studies, Amsterdam.

The study found that the total ecosystem service benefits of reaching 10% coverage of MPAs would be USD 622-923 billion over the period 2015-2050.

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García-Charton, J.A., Lorenzi, M. R., Calò, A., Treviño Otón, J., Irigoyen A., Hernández Andreu, R., Muñoz Gabaldón, I., Marcos, C., Pérez Ruzafa, Á. (2013) Estudios de seguimiento de la reserve marina de Cabo de Palos – Islas Hormigas.

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Mangos A., Claudot M.A. (2013), Economic study of the impacts of marine and coastal protected areas in the Mediterranean

Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)

Considering closely the links between the different sectors, the Barcelona Convention adopted in 2008 the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) protocol, that came into force in 2011. ICZM is defined as “a dynamic process for the sustainable management and use of coastal zones, taking into account at the same time the fragility of coastal ecosystems and landscapes, the diversity of activities and uses, their interactions, the maritime orientation of certain activities and uses and their impact on both the marine and land parts”.

Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean.

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European Union (2009), Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean, Official Journal of the European Union

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In a similar way, recognizing that the “high and rapidly increasing demand for maritime space for different purposes such as installations for the production of energy from renewable sources, oil and gas exploration and exploitation, maritime shipping and fishing activities, ecosystem and biodiversity conservation, the extraction of raw materials, tourism, aquaculture installations and underwater cultural heritage, as well as the multiple pressures on coastal resources, require an integrated planning and management approach”, the European Parliament and the Council adopted in 2014 a directive to create a common framework for Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) in Europe. The expected benefits of this initiative are the reduction of conflicts between sectors, an increased cross-border cooperation, as well as the protection of the environment thanks to the early identification of impact and opportunities for multiple use of space.

European Union (2014), Directive 2014/89/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning, Official Journal of the European Union

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European Commission, Maritime Spatial Planning

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End of Unit 1.3

Unit 1.2
Module 2