Blue Growth - Introduction to the Special Theme
by the guest editors Alberto Gotta (ISTI-CNR) and John Mardikis (EPLO - Circular Clima Institute)
Ocean-based industrial development and growth are important to the economic and social development of many countries, and both the EU and the US agree on the urgency of implementing an integrated maritime strategy with the aim of coordinating policies for the different sectors of the sea. The growth of the maritime economy (blue growth) is an opportunity that Europe cannot wait to seize  to create new job opportunities, support systemic competitiveness, and strengthen social cohesion. This approach is also fully aligned with the objectives of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, in particular, Objective 14 (SDG 14): “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”. International strategic documents  define the areas of blue growth as: coastal and maritime tourism, blue energy (renewable energy from offshore wind farms, onshore/offshore wave energy, salinity gradient, marine current, ocean thermal energy, biomass), marine environment and coastal strip preservation, abiotic and biotic marine resources, fisheries and blue biotechnologies, shipbuilding and marine robotics, smart ports, sustainable maritime transportation, maritime surveillance and safety, sustainability and economic uses of the sea.