To complement the recent and interesting post ( on linkedIn) of my friend Pierre Rousseau from BNP Paribas on the definition of the blue economy, I wanted to rewind back to the pre-historic period of the blue bio economy.

Back in 2007, we were in the Blue! The European commission only had “a task force” working on maritime issues and  Commissioner Joe Borg fought to expand ocean policies beyond the realm of fishing. It was the time where we launched BioMarine  as a  business and industry platform to bring together the pioneers of the blue bio-based industry. It was a time where biotechnology was green, white and red and anything related to the sea was not of interest. Securing funding for a blue project was not an option unless it could fit in the existing squares of the white, green, and red sectors.

During the first five years we struggled to build this international network and explain how our mosaic of blue SMEs was a worthwhile sector. We quickly realized that our blue vision was a disruptive trans-sector innovation that could serve and improve traditional industry segments.

This blue bio based economy encompasses the harvesting, the cultivation, and the processing of all marine species and ingredients to produce feed, nutrition, cosmetics, nutraceuticals, biomaterials, pharmaceuticals, bio plastic, and environmentals (understanding marine ecosystem services and bio remediation). Estimates indicate that the entire industry is worth a few trillion USD but I would prefer to say that we are in the range of 250 billion USD.

BioMarine draws on a strict definition of this blue bio based economy by mainly focusing on low trophic species and their valorization in the entire value chain. 12 years after our first launch, we have the feeling that the world is becoming more blue.

Our industry is sustainable, but there is still a lot to improve when it comes to circularity and social economic development. The best example is seaweed: despite many projects, discussions, and declarations, only a few practical developments have emerged. Seaweed is the perfect carbon sink that could drive future investments and encourage job creations. Regulatory bottlenecks however give a competitive advantage to the Asian markets and drive the demand towards a commodity market price!

This situation must be avoided, especially if we want high quality products and socio-economic returns: increased cultivation, more coastal protection, more biodiversity, more jobs and more innovation.

I am convinced that there is only one way to  address this key challenge and it’s together. Competition is safe and we support challenges and innovation. Nevertheless we need to team up and prepare the grounds for this important societal change.

Join our BioMarine community and participate in the many projects that we are supporting and conducting: International Blue Cooperative, Blue Bio Plastic Consortium, Cellular Mareculture Project, Blue Forward Fund, BioMarine Convention.


Pierre Erwes

BioMarine Chairman,

Blue Forward Fund Venture Partner

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