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Oceans and fisheries
News announcement26 November 2020Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries1 min read

Why does money keep flowing into activities that harm the ocean?

The blue economy is growing fast and attracting investment worldwide. Its potential for sustainable economic growth, in line with the European Green Deal, is enormous. Unfortunately, not all economic activities at sea contribute to a healthy marine environment. A new report by the European Commission analyses why that is, and how we can turn the tide.

The blue economy plays a pivotal role in the European and global transition to a carbon neutral, sustainable future. Offshore energy and the blue bioeconomy are only two examples of how to reach the goals of the EU Green Deal. However, some economic operators do not yet subscribe to that forward-looking agenda. Illegal fishing, excessive tourism, polluting shipping or poorly designed port activities: these are all examples that threaten marine eco-systems and jeopardise the biodiversity at sea. If left unchecked, one third of investments in the global blue economy could be unsustainable by 2030. This means at least 250 billion euros could be invested in activities harmful to the oceans and ultimately the planet.

But why do businesses keep on damaging the environment on which they so heavily depend? No future for fishing without healthy fish stocks. No tourism without pristine beaches and rich sea life to explore. A new study, “Unsustainable finance in the blue economy: Where does the money come from?” examines why money flows into damaging activities and – more importantly – how to shift investments worldwide to activities that preserve the ocean and ensure long-term prosperity.

While development banks are leading the change, they are unable to make significant changes alone. The European Commission stresses that all financial players should be involved, including private equity funds, impact investors and policymakers. A sustainable blue economy is a global challenge that requires swift and coordinated global action. With this in mind, this report is a must-read for policymakers and investors dealing with the blue economy.

More information

The full recommendations report

The executive summary

The case studies

Have your say: Maritime sector – a green post-COVID future

Boosting Offshore Renewable Energy for a Climate Neutral Europe

Sustainable ocean finance


Publication date
26 November 2020
Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries