Print map - Maritime-related activities in the sea and land, 2012

Maritime-related activities in the sea and land, 2012


  • Marine development implies growth and employment opportunities on land as well as environmental pressures and flows at sea
  • The European core of intensive maritime activities covers the English Channel and southern parts of the North Sea. Other important areas with high shares of employment in maritime related industries can be observed in Iceland, Norway, Estonia or Latvia, just to name a few
  • Environmental pressures are mostly concentrated around the Atlantic, North Sea, and Baltic coastlines while other hot-spots are quite evident along the northern shores of the Mediterranean and Black Sea

Observations for policy

Land sea interactions are two-way and dynamic processes with the fortunes of marine and landward areas closely interwoven. Although linkages may be most apparent in coastal regions and inshore waters interdependencies stretch far inland as well as across the oceans.

A growing capitalisation on maritime resources leads to new and more intensive development pressures. The maritime economy is changing, as traditional activities mature and eventually decline, whilst new activities reach the development phase. This will have spatially differentiated implications that as yet are poorly understood.

The typology illustrated suggests that it is difficult to prescribe a particular characteristic or label to individual seas, as there are considerable variations within the regional seas as well as between each other. The traditional European core is predominant, particularly due to the intensive maritime activities in the English Channel and southern parts of the North Sea.

Policy context

There is a growing awareness that seas constitute an opportunity to governments achieve development aspirations, particularly regarding transportation, energy, and environmental policies. However, increasing opportunities for human use of the sea involve risks that the new focus on marine areas pose to both ecological and human well-being.

Map interpretation

The map combines important marine features on the land and sea. On the one hand, the economic significance of maritime-related industries on total employment is particularly high in Iceland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia and the UK, just to name some few. In many of these regions, local economies appear to be most strongly related to their maritime setting. On the other, offshore energy production and supply lead to significant socio-economic land-sea interactions. Here, offshore oil and gas industry constitutes a major source of direct and indirect employment that has led to economic growth, industrial clusters and population growth in certain coastal areas, particularly in the North Sea region. However, the importance of maritime industries is less significant in the overall make-up of employment due to urbanisation and population density.

At the sea level, environmental pressure and flows reflect the presence of major ports as these are focal points for invasive species. Besides, it shows where land-based organic and inorganic pollution is most intensive, especially those associated with farming and industrial activity.

In general, environmental pressures are concentrated in the Atlantic, North Sea, and Baltic Sea coastline while other hot-spots are particular striking along the Northern shores of both Mediterranean and Black Sea. These flows reflect the activities on the sea. This includes, for instance, southern parts of the North Sea and English Channel as major focus for marine transport in Europe. Other hot-spots perform well around major ports of the Mediterranean and Baltic Sea. The same applies to the Danish Straights and the Gulf of Finland.

Concepts and methods

The map brings together three different composite maps on maritime employment, environmental pressure and flows.

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