Blue Growth stands for creating sustainable economic growth at sea, in which the economy and ecology go hand in hand and marine ecosystems are disturbed as little as possible.
The economic opportunities for optimal use of the sea are numerous. However, new economic activities at sea are often still in their infancy and require a concerted effort in cross-sectoral cooperation. For example, we can learn from offshore wind in shallower water to realize floating wind turbines and solar panels for deeper water.
Aquafarming and seaweed farming have the potential to become an important source of food and raw material for medicines. However, the existing systems are often developed for sheltered water and not suitable for use in the North Sea. Adapting to the rougher North Sea conditions will initially make the systems more expensive, making it important to develop cost-effective systems in conjunction with other activities at sea.
Due to the rapidly growing world population, the number of large ports is increasing. At the same time, the sea level is rising, which means that there will be less space in port cities and densely populated coastal areas. This pressure on space will translate into the construction of artificial islands at sea, including in deeper water.
The development of these floating islands is still in a concept phase, but the Dutch maritime sector can create a lot of economic value from this. In addition to providing living space, floating islands can also serve as work islands for offshore energy development or as ‘energy hubs’ where sustainable energy generated at sea can be stored locally in the form of, for example, hydrogen. The energy can be transported from these locations or used for zero-emission ships.
Ultimately, all activities at sea must take place in conjunction, so that sufficient space remains for nature, sea transport, food production and all other existing functions. At the same time, safety must be guaranteed. Marine Spatial Planning is therefore a discipline that must be strongly linked to all Blue Growth activities.