GAPS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH IN BLUE BIOTECHNOLOGY IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

A key challenge in the Mediterranean addressed by PANORAMED is innovation. In particular, blue biotechnology hides great innovation potential in terms of new technology development, new end products/services and new business models. This sector is expected to see substantial economic growth in the following 5 years (revenue generation, new high-end jobs, employment increase, high value-added specialized products), so this is one area of intervention which PANORAMED aims to address.

In order to develop the terms of reference and launch a strategic project focused on significant societal impacts in blue biotechnology sector, a comprehensive and detailed analysis of gaps and opportunities for growth of blue biotechnology in the MED area was carried out at international and national level. The main findings of the Gaps and Opportunities analysis were divided into the categories presented in the picture below.

 

 

The analysis showed that a certain mismatch exists between blue biotechnology economic potential and political, legal, R&I, educational, infrastructural framework in the MED area to harness this potential for the benefit of MED population. One type of this mismatch is non-harmonized legislation among countries in MED area and in relation to EU; for example, Novel Food (innovation) may be legal in France but illegal in Greece, which means that innovation in blue biotechnology in certain MED countries is hindered. Another type of this mismatch or gap is the lack of valorisation of by-products from marine origin materials as presented in the example.

 

EXAMPLE
Discards of fishery by-catch are up to 25%, while discards in the fish processing industry amount to 75% hides great opportunities for new technology development, new business models and consequently new end products/service in MED area. For example, huge discards of fishery could be much better used for production or consumption purposes (also in line with the concept of circular economy, no waste) by using some emerging and enabling technologies and developing new business models of how to extract societal and market value from these discards. Advanced robotics and innovative ICT based solutions related to food security are emerging, enabling technologies that could be used in this example of discards in fish processing. Such opportunities for growth also imply a necessary up-skilling of employees (new educational/training programmes), regulatory adjustment, better and more focused political support, better access to financing for innovation projects, higher consumer awareness/acceptance, more efficient research infrastructure.