News: "Great opportunities for UK from oceans"

The Government Office for Science has today published its Foresight Future of the Sea research.

Delivered for the Government Chief Scientist, with the ministerial forward co-signed by minsters from the Foreign Office, BEIS, DfT and DEFRA, the report recognises that “The UK is a leading maritime nation. We have a proud history of exploration, innovation, and marine science that dates back to the expeditions of Captain James Cook aboard the HMS Endeavour. In many ways the UK’s accomplishments at sea have helped to build our modern world.”

In looking to the future, the report identifies four key areas for future growth in the “blue” or “ocean” economy.

  • Science and innovation
  • Improved understanding of the sea
  • Greater coordination and more long-term decision making
  • Global opportunities

The report recognises the UK’s established role in maritime, including in the development of autonomous vessels, robotics and other emerging technologies.

Industry is currently developing its maritime sector deal with government, which is designed to capitalise upon the opportunities set out in the report, amongst others. One proposal within the draft deal is for the UK to use the Government’s ambition to map the seabed of its Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ) to catalyse growth in autonomy.  

The proposal, based on seabed mapping, would have dual benefits. First, the creation of a comprehensive data set to help unlock and fuel economic activity in the ocean economy, and second, the creation of demand for cutting-edge UK autonomous vessels to collect the data. 

British technology, innovation, thought-leadership and regulatory know-how creating future of maritime autonomy.

David Dingle CBE, Chairman of Maritime UK, said:

“We welcome government’s focus on the maritime sector and the significant opportunities that we must realise together.

“Already a sector worth £40bn and supporting 1,000,000 jobs, the report shows that there are significant opportunities for future growth, building upon our heritage, expertise and competitive advantage.”

“We are developing a sector deal to capitalise upon these opportunities, and look forward to government’s commitment to help deliver that sector deal.

“Whilst recognising those opportunities, the sector is also committed to playing its part in ensuring a sustainable future. Clean growth is possible and indeed presents further growth opportunities.”  

Read more about the maritime sector deal