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Monday, 10 March 2014

Top EU maritime official warns against ocean ‘gold rush’

The European commissioner for maritime affairs, Maria Damanaki, has called at the World Ocean Summit for businesses to see the oceans as an economic resource but has warned against a “frenzied gold rush”.
The oceans' vast amount of untapped energy and resources hold great potential for economic development, which can in turn create jobs both at sea and on land, the Commission says.
The EU executive estimates that ocean resources account for some 5.4 million jobs within the EU and some €500 billion a year of economic turnover.
Damanaki sees space for further development of the ocean economy.
“As we struggle out of the recession and as we run out of resources on land, it is only natural that we should turn to the oceans,” she told attendees of the World Ocean Summit gathered in Half Moon Bay, California, from 24 to 26 February. “Cultivation at sea does not require land or freshwater. Harnessing the wind and waves does not produce greenhouse gases.”
EU research suggests that the oceans have the capacity to provide three quarters of the EU’s energy needs by 2030, through a mixture of wave, tidal, ocean thermal, and salinity gradient power.
Last month Damanaki and the energy commissioner, Günther Oettinger, released an “action plan” for the development of ocean-related energy.
The plan identified the difficulties preventing the sector’s development, including the high costs of technology, infrastructure barriers such as grid connection and port facilities, and administrative hurdles such as complex licensing.

Source: EurActiv.com