BARCELONA – The city council of Barcelona has announced plans to allocate more than €40 million between now and 2025. This is to give the ‘blue economy’ an economic boost as part of a broader package of measures for economic growth.
“Blue economy” includes all economic activities associated with oceans, seas, and coasts. In an overarching strategy, the municipality has formulated 43 measures and 15 projects to increase the current share of the ‘blue’ sector in the local economy.
Jaume Collbonil, Councilor for Economic Affairs in Barcelona, is pleased with the new approach: “We are aware that the sea is an economic engine and a valuable asset for Barcelona. It gives us an advantage over other cities. Therefore, it would be a shame not to use it to further expand the city’s economic model. Especially with a view to more innovative and sustainable economic growth.”
Lisbon, Rotterdam and Marseille
By creating quality jobs and investing in innovation and sustainability, the city wants to compete with other port cities. According to Collboni, when determining the strategy, an example has been taken of Lisbon, Rotterdam, and Marseille. In these cities, the ‘blue economy’ has been used for some time as a city-wide revenue model. They have already successfully applied similar strategies before and we can of learning”.
Port Olímpic as new maritime hub
One of the plans is to make the Port Olímpic, currently an entertainment area, the new maritime hub where emerging companies from the sector can establish themselves. The Faculty of Nautical Sciences will also have a head office there. A total of 52,000 square metres will be made available. And, furthermore, the municipality estimates this will create 200 new jobs.
More sustainable model
Another important pillar within the strategy is sustainability. According to the municipality, the restoration and preservation of the maritime ecosystem are a precondition for further growth. Measures have therefore been included in the plan to ensure the environmental health of the maritime ecosystems. These are aimed at both the survival of the more traditional sectors (such as maritime shipping, fishing, and tourism) and the emergence of new sectors (such as biotechnology and maritime energy). With this, the municipality is taking the first step towards a more sustainable blue model and achieving the sustainable goals of the European Agenda 2030.