Saaremaa Pilot Region discussed Vision 2035 for Blue Bioeconomy in Saaremaa
On July 6th, BlueRev Estonian team from Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonian Marine Institute of the University of Tartu Estonia and local blue bioeconomy stakeholders held a workshop to develop a Blue Bioeconomy Vision 2035 for Saaremaa Island.
The meeting took place in Kõiguste village, Saaremaa Island at the research station of Estonian Maritime Institute of the University of Tartu. The workshop was a follow up to the meeting that was held in Kuressaare, Saaremaa in February 2023 which included brainstorming for preliminary ideas for the future developments of blue bioeconomy in Saaremaa Island and July workshop provided an opportunity to validate the ideas and integrate those with the overall development strategy of Saaremaa region. The present development strategy of Saaremaa region was prepared in the end of 2022 and facilitation of blue economy is part of the goals for economic development and entrepreneurship. The workshop in Kõiguste focused specifically on blue bioeconomy and valorization of marine resources.
The participants agreed that that the vision should relate to creation of high value added and sustainable blue bioeconomy that provides benefits to local community. The main keywords mentioned included circularity, ecosystem services, carbon neutrality, nature conservation and tourism, knowledge transfer, education and innovation, biological diversity, benefits for the locals, decision making power at local government level. Actual benefits for local community are one of the topics that has come up at local workshops. If the local community members feel that their interests are ignored and community does not receive any kind of benefit from development of facilities in the sea and, they are likely to oppose any kind of developments related marine resources and bioenergy.
The workshop also included discussion on the opportunities and obstacles for blue bioeconomy in Saaremaa, discussion of funding opportunities for blue bioeconomy projects and the discussion on the development of value chain related to algae and its challenges. The meeting was organized in cooperation of BlueRev and BlueBioCluster projects that are both funded by the European Union through Horizon Europe Framework Programme.