The Baltic region is biased towards the sea: the maritime economy is one of the strongest driving forces in our region. For hundred years we have been using our Baltic for various purposes: fishing, mining, transportation, tourism, etc. The pressures on the marine ecosystem have concurrently increased and we now face a situation in which marine resources are limited while their demand remains high.
New scientific and technological developments provide opportunities for innovative uses of marine resources that have the potential to bring positive environmental benefits, offering at the same time new employment possibilities. If we can guide future development toward these uses, we may be able to proactively contribute to the development of a healthy Baltic Sea while at the same time promoting sustainable economies. It is high time for such an approach: without a clear sense of future direction, the region faces the risk of further degrading the marine ecosystem on which it so tightly depends, which would likely result in economic decline.
The SUBMARINER Project is about assessing the environmental impacts of new marine uses, their economic feasibility and regional applicability. We believe that among the new marine uses that are more or less rapidly or intensively developing in other parts of the word, there are some which could benefit both our marine ecosystem and the economy of our region.
We are elaborating a ‘Compendium of Innovative Marine Uses’, which may serve as a support tool for decision-makers as it will present development pros and cons for each new use analysed as well as the potential combination of them. We also aim to elaborate a first ‘Baltic Sea Region Roadmap for Development of New Marine Uses’, in which we will present recommendations for how to promote those uses which are most desirable.
SUBMARINER is also taking the first step towards integrating the constituencies behind these new uses: those who already make use of marine resources in innovative ways as well as those who are interested in investing in or implementing these new opportunities. To this end, SUBMARINER is gathering interested actors through a series of thematic cooperation events devoted to the most promising innovative uses. The Algae Cooperation Event in Trelleborg, Sweden is the first in such a series.