Marine and coastal ecosystems provide a range of goods and services
The OSPAR maritime area provides the basis for a wide range of goods and services including food, transport, energy and amenities for millions of people. Marine-related industries and services contribute roughly 1.8% to the Gross Domestic Product and 2.1% to employment opportunities in the OSPAR area Figure 2.2. More than a third of the value of the maritime sector in the North-East Atlantic is generated by coastal tourism and shipping, with tourism and the fishing industry being the largest employers. Fishing is a key industry for some of the economies in Region I (Iceland, Norway, Faroe Islands, Greenland) and is also highly significant in certain parts of other OSPAR countries. Norway’s offshore oil and gas industry ranks among the largest in the world. Economically, oil and gas production in the North Sea is also important for Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK. Some of the main European seaports are situated along the eastern coast of the North Sea with world-leading shipbuilding and shipping related industries. The maritime transport and seafood sectors are important for Ireland (Region III), and in France, Portugal and Spain (Region IV) coastal tourism is the largest employer of the maritime industries. The low-lying areas of the southern North Sea maintain an important coastal engineering industry, especially in the Netherlands. Across the OSPAR area new industries are also developing, with marine renewable energy (wind, wave and tidal energy production) the fastest growing activity in coastal and offshore waters. The intense human activities in the OSPAR area place considerable pressure on the marine environment.