Against the backdrop of the great recession in 2007, the Commission of the European Communities (2007) introduced the concept of blue growth which was discussed in the context of using marine resources as regional competitive advantages in European waters. In 2012, the European Commission (2012) first defined blue growth as “an initiative to harness the untapped potential of Europe’s oceans, seas and coasts for jobs and growth” (European Commission, 2012, p. 2). At that time, blue growth focus areas encompassed five main sectors with high growth and scalability potential: 1. Blue energy, 2. Aquaculture, 3. Maritime, coastal and cruise tourism, 4. Marine mineral resources, and 5. Blue biotechnology.
The European Commission (2012) realised that driving blue growth could help address sustainable development across the Member States. Furthermore, the Commission recognised that technology development is a vital part of unlocking blue growth potential. European Member States were encouraged to identify and develop commercial and economic opportunities to realise their full marine potential.
Since then, blue growth has evolved to encompass all emerging marine sectors that ensure sustainable development, increase wellbeing and ensure livelihoods in regions that depend on the utilisation of marine resources. This means that blue growth is context dependent and thus will be applied in different ways across coastal regions and islands, depending on available resources and commercial opportunities.
In the context of the Northern Periphery Area, innovative solutions, such as aerial uncrewed vehicles or drones were used to monitor and effectively utilise marine resources. This provided coastal regions with one avenue to unlock their blue growth potential.
Commission of the European Communities. (2007). EU BLUE BOOK - An integrated maritime policy for the European Union. Brussles
European Commission. (2012). Blue Growth: Opportunities for Marine and Maritime Sustainable Growth. Brussels