Bringing the Ocean to Society
26 Jul 2018
2018 annual economic report on the EU blue economy launched
With a turnover of € 566 billion, the sector generates € 174 billion of value added and creates jobs for nearly 3.5 million people.

The Annual Report on the EU Blue Economy aims to describe the scope and size of the blue economy in the European Union, creating a baseline to support policymakers and stakeholders in the quest for sustainable development of oceans, seas and coastal resources. It will monitor developments in the EU blue economy annually and examine the drivers behind trends.

The report examines not only established sectors (meaning, for the purposes of the report, those that have traditionally contributed to the blue economy) but also emerging and innovative sectors, which bring new opportunities for investment and hold huge potential for future development. It describes the most recent trends in several socioeconomic indicators and analyses the drivers behind such trends.

Analyses are provided for the EU as a whole and by sector and industry for each Member State. Reflecting the availability of comparable datasets across all Member States, the focus of this first report is primarily on the established sectors. While there are still many challenges to be met, this report aims to serve as a first step to assessing the drivers and potential for oceans and coasts to provide for sustainable economic growth and to support the development of management policies that will ensure that growth is sustainable.

European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said: "The EU’s blue economy is consistently growing over the last decade and the potential for the future is promising. With investments in innovation and through responsible ocean management, integrating environmental, economic and social aspects, we can double the sector in a sustainable way by 2030."

The UK, Spain, Italy, France and Greece have Europe's biggest blue economies. Spain accounts for one fifth of total employment, followed by Italy, the United Kingdom and Greece. Combined, these four Member States account for more than half of the total blue economy-related jobs.

Among the different sectors, that of the "living resources" (i.e. fisheries, aquaculture and processing) has grown by 22% between 2009-2016. Increased sustainability, thanks to the EU common fisheries policy, plays an important role in this positive development. Also the emerging sectors are booming. The biotechnology sector marks double-digit growth in member states such as Ireland, and employment in the offshore wind industry has jumped from 23.7 thousand in 2009 to 160 thousand in 2016, outnumbering employment of the EU fishing sector.

Key facts of the EU blue economy:

  • Turnover: EUR 566 billion
  • Gross value added Blue Economy:  EUR 174.2 billion
  • Gross profit:  EUR 95.1 billion
  • Gross profit margin: 16.8%
  • Employment: 3.48 million
  • 1.6% of EU’s total employment
  • Net investment: EUR 22.2 billion
  • Net investment to GVA: 29%
  • Average  annual salaries: EUR 28.3 thousand
  • Blue Economy represents 1.3% of total EU GDP (2016)

The full report is waiting for you here.