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Improving governance of the marine space: an opportunity
for Blue Growth in the Mediterranean sea
A new study presented by the European Commission finds that
the establishment of maritime zones, including Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs),
in the Mediterranean would benefit the EU's Blue Growth and wider sustainability
The study looks at the costs and benefits of establishing
maritime zones in the Mediterranean and provides an analysis of the impacts of
establishing EEZs on different sea-based activities.
EEZs could allow for a more effective spatial planning policy,
which in turn could help attract investments and further economic activities.
Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and
"There are huge untapped opportunities in the Mediterranean
Sea, which could come to fruition by establishing Exclusive Economic Zones
The proclamation and establishment of maritime zones remains
the sovereign right of each coastal State.
It is our joint EU responsibility to ensure that the right
conditions are in place for the blue economy to flourish.
Mediterranean coastal states could agree on their maritime
zones on the basis of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
The study focuses on the opportunities which EEZs and other
similar zones would bring in terms economic costs and benefits, sustainability
and governance of marine space and should be viewed in the context of the
European Commission's Blue Growth agenda.
The EU Blue Growth Strategy aims at creating sustainable
economic growth and employment in the marine and maritime economy to help
Europe's economic recovery.
These economic sectors provide jobs for 5.4 million people and
contribute a total gross value added of around 500 billion euros.
By 2020, these should increase to 7 million and nearly 600
billion euros respectively.
It highlights the five areas with the greatest potential for
blue energy, aquaculture, maritime, coastal and cruise tourism, marine mineral
resources and blue biotechnology.
In the Mediterranean as in other sea-basins, coastal states
have a responsibility to regulate human activities and to further develop their
blue economy in a sustainable manner.
A large part of the Mediterranean sea surface is currently
beyond the jurisdiction or sovereignty of coastal States. It remains therefore
largely unprotected as far as living aquatic resources and the marine
environment are concerned.
At the same time, proper economic development is difficult in
an uncertain regulatory framework.
In 2002, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in
Johannesburg, the global community committed to maintain the productivity and
biodiversity of important and vulnerable marine and coastal areas, both within
and beyond national jurisdiction.
However, there is no specific legal regime for implementing
the relevant provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),
particularly in relation to the protection of the marine environment in the
areas beyond national jurisdiction.
This issue has been discussed at the UN since 2006.
The coverage of a greater portion of the Mediterranean Sea
under the jurisdiction of the EU Member States would ensure that in such areas,
EU regulations concerning fisheries, environment and transport would apply and a
higher level of protection would follow.