© Vinci Tan
© Vinci Tan

EU expects 130,000 bioeconomy jobs

The EU is expecting a bioeconomy market worth €45bn, creating around 130,000 jobs by 2025, according to a manifesto of the Dutch presidency.

The bioeconomy comprises agriculture, aquaculture, forestry and horticulture, food production and paper, as well as some areas of the chemical, energy and biotechnology industries. The EU Bioeconomy Strategy was launched on 13 February 2012 to address renewable biological resources and their conversion into bioenergy.

Designed to ensure fossil fuels are replaced with sustainable alternatives, the strategy promotes and calls for innovative scientific and technological leadership to improve the social, economic and environmental welfare of Europe. Additionally, the EU provides bioeconomy research through the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Aquaculture and fisheries, which currently comprises around 9% of the total EU bioeconomy, are leading the way in renewable biological resources innovation, sustainability and environmentally friendly practices.

Speaking at the fifth meeting of bioeconomy experts in Brussels, Belgium, Javier Garat, president of Europêche and secretary general of the Confederación Española de Pesca (CEPESCA), said: “Working in collaboration with scientists and universities, the fisheries sector has to make the most of the species that the new EU fisheries policy forces us to land, and that can not be used for human consumption. Marine waste is collected daily from the bottom of the seas by our vessels, especially trawlers, in order to recycle them sustainably and give the best possible use. In this way, we will contribute to creating new sources of biomass generating a sustainable bioeconomy.”

With methods such as these, the Dutch presidency’s manifesto calling for EU leadership in promoting the development of a sustainable bioeconomy, while proposing investment of around €5bn per year during the period 2017-2025 under Horizon 2020, the strategy aims, amongst other things, to address challenges such as increasing populations, the depletion of natural resources, increasing environmental pressures and climate change.