The Baltic Sea Region faces enormous challenges including growing transport, new installations, fishery declines, severe marine pollution, excessive nutrient input, and the effects of climate change. But novel technologies and growing knowledge also provide opportunities for new uses of marine ecosystems, which should not only be valued for their commercial appeal but for their potentially significant contribution to solving its environmental problems: macroalgae cultivation, blue biotechnology, innovative fish and mussel mariculture solutions, and wave energy are among such new possible uses.
These new 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 will do so by focusing its efforts along 3 lines of activity:
- Production of a compendium: describing current and potential future marine uses by developing a comprehensive inventory of innovative sustainable uses, analysing the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities to the Baltic Sea Region, assessing their environmental and socioeconomic impacts, estimating the market opportunities, assessing the availability and status of necessary technologies, and describing the gaps and obstacles in the legal framework.
- Development of a roadmap: recommending necessary policy steps to promote beneficial uses and mitigate against negative impacts, including suggested legal changes (e.g. spatial plans), environmental regulations and/or economic incentives.
- Implementation of regional development activities: testing new uses in real conditions, conducting feasibility studies for new uses in specific areas, assessing technological and financial needs, estimating impacts on environmental and socieconomic conditions, and evaluating specific legal constraints.
- Building a network: stimulating cooperation among best possible users by connecting currently disjointed constituencies through virtual and real networking, information exchange and cooperation event.
The project is funded by the Baltic Sea Region Programme 2007-2013. It has a total budget of €3.6 million, of which €2.8 million are ERDF co-finance and €0.8 million are partners’ contributions. It runs from October 2010 to December 2013.