The European Maritime Day is being celebrated with a conference titled “Putting People First”. Around 1000 participants have gathered in the Polish coastal city to discuss the challenges currently facing maritime sectors in Europe.

The European Maritime Day is being celebrated with a conference titled “Putting People First”. Around 1000 participants have gathered in the Polish coastal city to discuss the challenges currently facing maritime sectors in Europe.

The main focus of the conference was the potential of Europe’s oceans and seas to generate economic growth and more jobs. Several sections were therefore dedicated to education of seafarers, maritime transport, and other maritime economic sectors. Wide attention has also been given to marine spatial planning initiatives, which are seen as a means to provide legal certainty for investors and improve the economic climate.

In her keynote address, Commissioner Maria Damanaki emphasised that the Integrated Maritime Policy can contribute to overcome current difficulties and to bring along “blue growth”. She emphasised the need to share scientific and technical knowledge about the seas, to fight illegal activities, and to encourage innovative options for jobs in the maritime sector. She also mentioned spatial planning as being key to reduce conflicts between economic activities, improve the effectiveness of public policies and advance environmental protection.

The Executive Director of Seas At Risk, Dr. Monica Verbeek, has delivered a speech at the conference, focusing on the implementation of the ecosystem-based approach to the management of human activities at sea. In her presentation, Dr. Verbeek highlighted that in order to benefit people, it is in fact necessary to put the health of the marine environment first – as economic activities depend on clean, healthy and productive seas for their profitability. In addition, environmental impacts such as overfishing, air pollution, marine litter, or loss of biodiversity in fact impose a heavy toll in terms of unemployment, human health, economic costs, and lost well being.

Commission's European Maritime Day official webpage

Seas At Risk's presentation at the European Maritime Day 2011

 

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