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The blue economy in the Highlands and Islands

  • Posted By Pamela Reid

A new research report commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprises and developed by ekosgen identifies transformational opportunities presented by the blue economy for Highlands and Islands and Scotland more widely. 
The Blue Economy in the Highlands and Islands is a far-reaching report aimed at developing the strategic understanding of marine related industries and activities in Highlands and Islands. It identifies key areas of substantial and sustainable growth potential and sets out proposed strategic priorities for HIE and its partners. 
The ekosgen team undertook detailed research and in-depth analysis of the current performance and potential of each of the blue economy’s constituent sectors, the assets in the region, the global market opportunities and the strategic opportunities to maximise the value for Scotland. It identified that HIE should take a strategic lead in Aquaculture; Offshore renewables; and Marine Environmental Services. They reflect where the Highlands and Islands has a particular advantage that will lever significant opportunities. It also highlighted others sectors that are important for the region and that HIE will be involved in but not lead. 
The report places sustainability at the heart of the development of blue economy sectors and the enabling infrastructure must support this. It highlights the importance of technology in retaining and building competitive advantage and the continued need for innovation aligned to sector requirements – an area where the Highlands and Islands has a strong track record.  
To fully capitalise on these and other blue economy opportunities, our recommendations include stronger collaboration between industries, the public sector, academia and communities. 
The research will inform the development of a Regional Delivery Plan for the Blue Economy, to help target resource where it can have the greatest impact.  

Read the Executive Summary 

Read the full report 

The Blue Economy in the Highlands and Islands