“From a few nascent ocean activities, new ocean-friendly industries will emerge”

The ocean is full of surprises. It has been long known that the ocean covers 71% of the planet’s surface. It has been more recently shown that the ocean plays an important role in climate regulation. And it is now becoming more and more obvious that the ocean will participate in the development of the next decade sustainable economy.

Until a few years ago, the oceans appeared to interest only a handful of specialists and small groups of experts dispersed around the world.

Today, oceans are taking up an ever-increasing share of the public debate. The United Nations have organised the Ocean Conference in June 2017 with a relevant motto “Our Oceans, Our Future”.

The European Union will host the fourth “Our Ocean” conference in Malta on 5 and 6 October 2017 aiming at commitments to actions for safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans. After its fascinating and informative report entitled “ The Ocean Economy in 2030”, the next OECD two-year project “ The Ocean Economy and Innovation” will be undertaken through a series of expert workshops in October and November 2017.

Ocean now features on the agendas of major global forums, such as the COP21, COP22 climate change conferences and also G7’s.
The European Union has actually the oceans on its policy agenda for a long time contributing to the increasingly vast scientific knowledge of our oceans, to marine technology research and supporting decision-makers to take adequate actions. Copernicus is one of the two European Union flagship program. It is the European Union Earth Observation program, including the oceans within the so-called Copernicus Marine Service. The latter innovative service covers all the world’s oceans and provides open and free oceanic valuable information for downstream applications.

The Copernicus Marine service is a real asset for boosting the EU Blue Growth agenda towards Sustainable Oceans : off shore energy, ports, fishing, aquaculture, transport, insurance sectors now benefit from free ocean products and information ranging from meteo ocean conditions (temperature, ocean currents, surface wind and waves) to sea water quality information (turbidity, concentration in nutrients).

The Copernicus Marine Service is designed to serve many public, for commercial and scientific purposes including major EU policies such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, combating pollution, protection of marine species and their protected areas, maritime safety and routing, sustainable exploitation of ocean resources, marine energy resources and climate monitoring.

It serves the needs of all Member States committed to sustainable oceans. Many concrete examples of the use of the Copernicus Marine Service are already available and showcased on its web portal. To name a few, flooding prevention along the Portuguese Coast, monitoring oil spills in the North Sea, supporting aquaculture farms in the Mediterranean Sea, monitoring met-ocean conditions around wind mills farms or monitoring nearshore bathing water quality, are applications where the Copernicus
Marine Service already makes a difference. Moreover, as a real user-driven service, the Copernicus Marine Service portfolio is regularly enriched by products expected by the markets, such as wave data launched in April 2017. Tomorrow, Ocean Monitoring Indicators will contribute even better to o shore industrial development.
The EU Copernicus Marine Service is opening the way for the development of the next decade sustainable ocean economy. e private sector, counting for about 20% of the service uptake and a few Copernicus Marine Service “champion users” in each EU Member states, has already grabbed this opportunity and will more and more strengthen the blue growth in the coming years.
The EU Copernicus Marine Service supports the development of a blue market in the different Member States. Considering the relevance of marine and maritime activities in the Maltese arena, the Copernicus Marine Service is organising an event on the 27th of June to meet and inform Maltese experts, national and regional users, in the private, public and scientific sectors, about its capabilities and its innovative services.
For more information on the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service please visit http://marine.copernicus.eu.