“Blue Economy” and Albania’s stance

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 7, 2019 20:12

“Blue Economy” and Albania’s stance

Story Highlights

  • In economics the term relates to the exploitation and preservation of the marine environment, for which Albania offers many potential sectors to be exploited in favor of economic advantages.

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TIRANA, May 5- Daniel Guce who is expert on small and medium enterprises, writes in the business and economy magazine “Monitor” that the newest concept for the development of coastal and oceanic areas is that of the “Blue Economy,” according to the World Bank and the European Commission, which seeks to promote economic growth and social inclusion, while ensuring environmental sustainability. He makes an argument in favor of the concept and economic exploitation.

In economics the term relates to the exploitation and preservation of the marine environment. The blue economy has various components, including traditional sea industries such as tourism, fishing, sea transport, but also new and emerging activities, such as offshore renewable energy, aquaculture, sea-digging activities, underwater tourism, etc.. Like “Green Growth,” which focuses on efficient growth in the use of natural resources, the “Blue Economy” can also be developed into a common strategy in its ecosystem.

But where does Albania stand in relation to the concept in question? Albania has a coastline of 362 km. Referring to the data from the line ministries for the activities listed below, it results that:

 

  • Coastal tourism is the largest contributor to Albania’s “Blue Economy.”
  • The Tourism and Travel Industry is reported to have a direct contribution to GDP by 8.5 percent (in 2017) and 7.7 percent of employment, or 93.500 jobs.
  • Coastal tourism in Albania comes in many forms, including diving tourism, marine archeology, ecotourism, recreational fishing, etc..
  • Regarding the fishing sector the exported value was 42.14 million euros for 2018. Meanwhile, compared to 2017 the fishing exports have increased with 16.2 percent.
  • In 2018, the number of employees in this sector was 1,094.

 

Boats repairment

Our country counts about 450 fishing boats. Currently, the repair of Albanian fishing boats is mostly done in Italy. It is thought that this emerging sector will rely on private entities to have access to repair services in our ports. Maritime transport is carried out in the four main ports of Durres, Vlora, Shengjin, Saranda, and also the Port-Romano and Petrolifera fuel ports are also an important pillar of our economy.

Given the above mentioned and many other activities related to the “Blue Economy,” or even untapped potential such as offshore renewable energy, underwater archeology guides, etc., of which there are social and economic benefits , protect and preserve the diversity of the marine ecosystem, should be developed in a common strategy.

 

A cross-sector strategy of Albania’s Blue Economy

Albania is part of the Adriatic-Ionian EUSAIR initiative, which focuses on “Blue Economy,” Regional Liaison, Quality of Environment and Sustainable Tourism. But this remains an initiative of the European Commission, within the framework of integration policies for the Western Balkan countries. Inclusion and implementation of such policies at the micro level is a task of member countries in this initiative, up to the establishment of special structures at executive levels for the implementation of this strategy.

A success story regarding the interaction in the “Blue Economy” concept for 2018 was the Vigo Port in Spain. Port Authority, Free Economic Zone and Vigo University’s commitment achieved in managing over 45 projects co-financed by the EU and 300 experts engaged in the implementation of these projects. The result of the above-mentioned consortium was: Building a Fish Mark 4.0, Studies and Training, National Marine Training Center Training Center, Vocational Training Center for Ports, Multifunctional Marine Monitoring Platform, etc.

Bringing it to the Albanian reality, the “Blue Economy” concept could develop and apply to the Free Zone in Spitalle, very close to the commercial port of Durres, that of the hydrocarbons, main national roads and Rinas International Airport, which have a significant presence of the fishing culture and the respective fleet; it could develop and apply to the specialized fish processing and conservation companies too, as well as many vocational high schools, to a qualified and competitive workforce. Lack of exploitation of the above potentials would be an economic damage.

Therefore, cross-sectoral integration into a national “Blue Economy” strategy, based on all the economic activities that take place in the largest natural asset of Albania, the Ionian and Adriatic Sea, is a task not only of the Albanian Government but also of other actors such as educational institutions, the private sector and civil society, which should initiate the projection process to identify the challenges, projects and actions to be carried out, and the models of EU countries for the strategies of the concept in question.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 7, 2019 20:12