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Oceans and fisheries
News announcement16 July 2018Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries2 min read

EU and China sign landmark partnership on oceans

On 16 July, the European Union has signed a unique ocean partnership agreement with China. Two of the world’s largest ocean economies will work together to improve the international governance of the oceans in all its aspects, including by combating illegal fishing and promoting a sustainable blue economy.

The partnership also contains clear commitments to protect the marine environment, tackle climate change in accordance with the Paris Agreement and implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in particular the Sustainable Development Goal 14 on oceans.

Across the world, I see growing awareness of the need for joint solutions to the challenges facing our oceans and seas. From cleaning up plastic pollution to tackling overfishing, no one country or continent can shoulder these colossal tasks on their own. With the partnership signed today, the European Union and China are stepping up their joint efforts, towards a more sustainable future for our oceans and the millions that make their living from them,

said EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for the environment, maritime affairs and fisheries.

Cooperation on global ocean governance

This partnership is a major step forward and sets out general lines for future collaboration in areas such as

  • the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in the high seas
  • the fight against marine pollution including marine plastic litter and micro-plastics
  • the mitigation of and adaption to climate change impacts on oceans, including the Arctic Ocean
  • the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources
  • the fisheries governance in regional and global fora and the prevention of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

EU and China have also agreed to support the development of a thriving and sustainable blue economy by exploring possibilities to foster closer business-to-business interaction and exchanges of information between stakeholders such as enterprises, research institutes, financial institutions and industry associations. In particular, they will promote the circular economy within the blue economy based on clean technologies and best available practices. Cooperation will also extend to improving knowledge of the oceans through better ocean literacy, enhanced ocean observation and open science and data.

Ocean partnerships: a new tool

International ocean governance is an important priority for the EU, which it aims to realise through international and bilateral cooperation. The EU and China have a longstanding cooperation on ocean affairs and the organisation of the EU-China Blue Year in 2017 has created further momentum to strengthen bilateral cooperation. The signature of this ocean partnership, the first in its kind, opens the door for further ocean partnerships with other key ocean players.

More information

EU-China summit, Beijing, 16/07/2018


Publication date
16 July 2018
Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries