Blue Bioeconomy in the Arctic Region
Canada, Kingdom of Denmark, Iceland
A new project initiated under the Icelandic Chairmanship (2019-2021)
Target Completion Date:
The objective of the project is to consider opportunities and possible challenges for the development of the Blue Bioeconomy in the Arctic region. With a focus on balancing economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection, the project links to the priority area of Sustainable Business Involvement and Development in SDWG’s Strategic Framework.
Utilization of living marine resources is a major economic factor in coastal communities in the Arctic region. However, it has been estimated that only about half of all marine biomass captured or cultivated globally gets processed for human consumption. The other half is either discarded or used to produce low-value products. Innovative methods to improve the utilization of aquatic raw materials and create higher-value products may therefore have considerable potential for driving sustainable economic growth in Arctic coastal communities. For instance, the development of novel products from parts of the catch that were previously thrown away as waste – like fish heads, bones and skin – may enable producers to maximize the value per unit and simultaneously minimize biowaste.
The Blue Bioeconomy is based on the sustainable and intelligent use of renewable aquatic natural resources, with a focus on improving utilization and creating higher-value products. Examples of such products include novel foods and dietary supplements, animal feeds, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and even energy. Fisheries and other businesses that catch or cultivate the raw materials for these products, or that extract, refine, process and transform the biological compounds, all form part of the Blue Bioeconomy, as well as companies that work to develop the required technologies and equipment.
The project aims at mapping opportunities in the Arctic region for the development of the Blue Bioeconomy, collecting success stories and best practices, as well as identifying obstacles that could hamper progress. Findings and conclusions will be brought to the SDWG, including recommendations on possible measures to create a favourable environment for sustainable Blue Bioeconomy growth in the Arctic.