Blue bioeconomy is defined as any economic activity associated with the use of renewable aquatic biological resources to make products. Examples of such products include novel foods and food additives, animal feeds, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, materials (e.g. clothes and construction materials) and energy. Businesses that grow the raw materials for these products, that extract, refine, process and transform the biological compounds, as well as those developing the required technologies and equipment all form part of the blue bioeconomy. Blue bioeconomy is separate from ordinary maritime economic sectors, such as aquaculture and fisheries, where the fish or shellfish are caught or produced for human consumption.
In the context of the upcoming Finnish EU Presidency and the EU's new Strategic Agenda for the period 2019-2024, the EESC was requested by a letter dated on 7 February 2019 and signed by the Finnish Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport, Mr Sampo Terho, to prepare an exploratory opinion on the topic "Blue bioeconomy". Clean water and aquatic resources represent great business opportunities and can provide innovative solutions for achieving many sustainable development goals (SDG2, SDG6, SDG7, SDG14). According to the request the opinion should look at how the EU could boost development of blue bioeconomy and consider what could be the prioritized actions.