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Seizing the blue economy

Over the past decade, Malta and Gozo witnessed marked progress in research and development, propelling our small island nation’s economic players to compete effectively in regional and global markets.

This transformation has been driven by highly skilled teams of workers engaged in innovative manufacturing processes. As we continue to move forward, it’s crucial to explore the vast potential of the blue economy, leveraging our island’s historical connection to the sea.

In the current European context, where economic challenges persist, our seas hold the promise of job creation. However, seizing these opportunities requires equipping our workforce with the necessary skills and a steadfast commitment to environmental protection – on land, in the air and at sea.

Malta’s maritime sector, which encompasses shipbuilding, dry docking, ship repair, and oil and gas services, has already attracted international players. Our ship registry, yachting industry and tourism sector further contribute to our maritime prowess. Yet, to sustain this growth, investing in a sustainable blue economy is essential.

The blue economy not only promises economic prosperity but also embodies a sustainable approach to utilising and conserving our ocean resources. We are already attracting innovative investment in this field, with R3Vox’s €4 million investment in hydrographic solutions at Mrieħel being a prime example. These investments encompass innovative technologies such as robotics, specialised services for the energy sector and the repurposing of discarded food parts into new products.

To establish a robust blue economy, Malta Enterprise is offering a range of support schemes, from start-ups to established companies.

To establish the blue economy as a strong economic pillar, we set up the Blue Med, an initiative that will serve as a catalyst for the blue economy’s growth. This initiative encompasses diverse opportunities for traditional blue economy sectors and, importantly, for emerging domains like biotechnology, offshore renewables and digital ocean surveillance.

Collaboration between the government and the private sector is crucial for the realisation of the Blue Med, which aligns blue economy sectors with our nation’s socio-economic and environmental needs.

The Blue Med will serve as a focal point for the blue economy under Malta Enterprise’s umbrella. This milestone is testament to our commitment to a sustainable future, aligning with the pledges of our 2022 electoral programme.

The Blue Med will serve as a focal point for investors and businesses, offering guidance and support to navigate available opportunities and relevant programmes.

Our seas hold the promise of job creation- Miriam Dalli

Malta Enterprise has conducted a comprehensive assessment of our blue economy’s state, identifying emerging sectors compatible with our nation’s needs. Through the Blue Med, businesses will gain access to mentorship and collaboration with international organisations such as the OECD, the World Ocean Council and Sustainable Ocean Alliance. This initiative aims to accelerate ocean-based technologies and nurture innovative blue champions in Malta and beyond.

The SDG14 Challenge is an exciting initiative within the Blue Med, allocating €4 million to support ventures that can revolutionise our economy and our relationship with the marine environment. Our seas, if managed wisely, can provide not only job opportunities but also solutions to pressing issues like climate change.

Maintaining a balanced blue economy is paramount, as rapid growth should not come at the expense of environmental well-being.

Investors are increasingly drawn to blue economy sectors such as blue renewable energy, water management and blue biotechnology. This trend is expected to intensify in the coming years, further bolstering innovation, economic growth and sustainable job opportunities. It means that innovation is the linchpin of the blue economy’s success. Emerging sectors such as ocean observation and blue biotechnologies are rapidly evolving, delivering products and services that meet essential needs. Moreover, blue renewable energy, especially wind and solar, is a critical investment to meet the growing energy demand.

Malta’s unwavering political commitment is evident through legislative and policy frameworks that incentivise offshore renewable energy investments and sustainable port operations. We aim to make the Mediterranean region a green energy hub, with offshore renewables and subsea interconnections at its core.

Miriam DalliMiriam Dalli

The Blue Med beckons and, together, we can chart a course towards a prosperous and sustainable global blue economy.

Miriam Dalli is Minister for Environment, Energy and Enterprise.