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On the road to Sustainable Uses of Baltic Marine Resources

The project “Submariner - Sustainable Uses of Baltic Marine Resources” will turn the Baltic Sea into a model region by fostering both sustainable economic development and improved environmental conditions through new maritime products and technologies.

19 partners from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Sweden will build up a regional network for cross border cooperation and develop environmentally friendly as well as economically appealing innovative uses of marine resources in the Baltic Sea. The project begins on September 9th, 2010, and is lead by the Maritime Institute in Gdansk, Poland. It runs for three years and has a budget of 3,6 Mio EUR.

The Baltic Sea Region (BSR) faces enormous challenges including growing transport, new installations, fishery declines, severe marine pollution with excessive nutrient input and the effects of climate change. But the future is not all bleak: novel technologies and growing knowledge provide opportunities for new uses of marine ecosystems, which may in the future not only have commercial appeal but also contribute to solve environmental problems. Algae and mussel cultivation reduce nutrient inflow while providing a source for bioenergy; offshore wind farms can smartly be combined with mariculture or wave energy installations; blue biotechnology utilises substances from marine organisms for development of new products that can improve overall BSR health. All these uses and technologies have, however, not been tested sufficiently within the fragile conditions of the Baltic Sea and their cumulative impacts on the environment, economic feasibility and regional applicability are not yet fully understood.

It is thus currently difficult for decision-makers to judge which uses are most desirable and what actions are necessary to create a framework beneficial to their development while discouraging potentially damaging uses. Submariner builds the road for furthering those environmentally friendly as well as economically appealing innovative uses within the BSR, thus contributing toward its aim to become a model region for sustainable sea management. It does so by:
• Selecting “best possible” future uses: conducting a comprehensive inventory of new uses, estimating their chances and resources needed across the BSR, conducting economic and environmental impact assessments, assessing the gaps and obstacles in the legal framework, investigating market and technology aspects, and conducting an overall multi-perspective evaluation
• Encouraging "best possible" future uses on a regional scale: developing plans and roadmaps for implementation of one or more uses in several BSR regions
• Stimulating cooperation among best possible users: connecting currently disjointed constituencies through virtual and real networking, information exchange and cooperations events
• Promoting "best possible" uses: developing economic and legal instruments, joint standards and criteria, developing incentives for wanted uses, discouraging environmentally damaging uses, developing recommendations for regional, national and transnational support programmes and structures

Submariner will fulfil these goals through the work of a consortium of strong partners from all BSR countries which offer all expertise necessary for the project from their own sources. It combines centres of excellence for all new uses under discussion, regional development agencies and innovation centres as well as national environmental decision-makers. Submariner is already well known to many of its target groups, including the transnational BSR networks involved in creating the path for a sustainable BSR, who have recognised Submariner as a potentially important reference for their future decision-making.

Joanna Przedrzymirska
Maritime Institute
Dlugi Targ 41/42
80-830 Gdansk, Poland.
Tel: +48 58 301 87 24
BioCon Valley GmbH
Dr. Gudrun Mernitz
Walther-Rathenau-Straße 49 a
17489 Greifswald
T +49 3834-515 304
F +49 3834-515 102

Dr. Heinrich Cuypers | idw
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