Firm backing for the blue economy

The new government measure to drive the blue economy aims to create a new economic hub for the city, combining economic competitiveness and environmental sustainability in the maritime sector. To achieve this, a strategy with 43 measures and 15 projects is intended to turn Barcelona into an international leader in innovation, sustainability and quality employment.

15/10/2021 15:13 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

The main challenge for the government measure to drive the blue economy is to preserve the maritime ecosystem so that it continues to be an economic motor for the city. This means maintaining classic sectors (transport, port logistics, nautical activity, fishing, industry, science, blue tourism etc.) and fostering new sectors linked to the sea (biotech, maritime energy etc.) for a transition towards a more sustainable model, in line with the goal of the 2030 Agenda.

The strategy includes driver projects, notably the creation of a blue economy hub at the new Olympic Port, managed by B:SM. This project will radically change the space, gearing it towards companies and initiatives in emerging sectors of the blue economy and turning it into a hub for innovation at the forefront for generating new economic activity and quality employment, with over 200 new jobs linked to the sea and its sustainability.

Transformation of the port

To make this possible, over 40,000 square metres of space will be transformed by the sea wall and the Gregal and Mestral wharfs at the Olympic Port, 8,121 of which will be for the blue economy, with premises for companies, storage units and sports space for the Municipal Sailing Centre. The project includes a new maritime sports centre, with the Municipal Institute for Sport.

The measure also provides strong backing for education and research with the Nautical Training and Technology Node, a new facility of 12,000 square metres specialising in higher training, professional skills acquisition and research, with professional recycling courses geared towards the blue economy and offering free open-access training for citizens. This will be the responsibility of Barcelona Activa, which also has agreements with companies and foundations to jointly carry out training in the port sphere with the Barcelona Education Consortium.

Barcelona Activa will also implement an entrepreneurial programme to help create, support and accelerate between 12 and 15 companies in this section in each edition

The new measure also aims to create an innovative environment for emerging sectors, by the name of InnovaBlue. This programme will be conducted in collaboration with the Port de Barcelona, the UPC, Marina Barcelona 92, the BCN Clúster Nàutic and others, to prepare the KIC candidacy for the EU in this sphere in 2025.

The Blue Economy Observatory will be tasked with assessing and monitoring the social, economic and environmental impact with solid data.

Barcelona’s Blue District

Barcelona has got 16.67 kilometres of coastline along three of its districts: Sant Martí, Ciutat Vella and Sants-Montjuïc. Between them they form the Blue District, responding to new challenges and in line with the goals from the Paris agreement and the UN’s 2030 Agenda, which establishes the goal of a 50% reduction in emissions at ports by 2030. The Blue District must also achieve the city’s goals for maintaining excellence in its bathing waters at over 98% during high season and its ecological health rating for reefs below 1.6.

The blue economy sector in Barcelona accounts for 15,806 workers and generates an annual turnover of 3,826 million euros, representing 4.3% of GDP and 1.4% of jobs in the city.