Are Europe’s seas productive?

At present, Europe’s seas are very productive, but current and expected future levels of maritime activity could threaten this productivity. The productivity of a sea can be understood as its capacity to contribute to the production of goods and services that are necessary to maintain socio-economic systems over the long term.

European societies depend on seas and coasts to provide food, building materials, transport, energy, and recreational and cultural benefits. These resources support the livelihoods of all Europeans — sustaining life, providing jobs and contributing to economic growth. Europe’s seas are expected to play a significant role in the future of the regional and global economies. Both the Europe 2020 strategy and the Blue Growth strategy set out to guide sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors.

Maritime activities today contribute significantly to the European economy, accounting for about EUR 467 billion in GVA and 6.1 million jobs.

The majority of these activities have a direct effect, meaning that a specific maritime activity directly impacts the marine ecosystem (e.g. transport and shipbuilding). Climate change, however, is an indirect effect, as broad changes in the atmosphere caused by human activities have certain influences on marine ecosystems that then affect marine life.

© Pawel Kazmierczyk, 2004

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