Seas At Risk works to ensure that environmental protection is at the heart of any long-term economic agenda and in full compliance with the EU's Good Environmental Status 2020 objective.
The EU’s Blue Growth agenda for economic growth and employment has identified five priority areas for future creation of growth and employment, i.e. ocean renewable energy, aquaculture, maritime and coastal tourism, exploitation and mining of marine mineral resources and blue biotechnology. For most of these sectors, the magnitude and scope of environmental impacts are highly uncertain and partly unknown. Seas At Risk is therefore advocating a precautionary approach that respects the constraints to growth that are set by the EU's Good Environmental Status 2020 goal.
While the Blue Growth Communication recognises marine ecosystems and their protection as ‘an important element for sustainable development’, Seas At Risk’s view is that healthy marine ecosystems should be central to the sustainable development of maritime activities, rather than a mere ‘green pillar’.
Another challenge is to ensure that technology and efficiency gains are not outstripped by growth, i.e. by focusing on sustainable economic activities that meet the needs of current and future generations, and generate prosperity for society, rather than focus on growth for the sake of growth. The precautionary principle must be adhered to by avoiding the build-up of activities (such as deep sea mineral mining) that deplete finite marine resources and risk irreversibly damaging ecosystems.