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Spain sector report – Ocean technologies

Executive summary

The ocean technology sector is a cross cutting and high-technology sector focused on products and services that help us better understand the ocean and draw on its resources. The sector is part of the modern ocean economy and serves various wealth generating ocean industries including, marine transportation; defence and security; coastal and ocean management; fisheries and aquaculture; offshore oil and gas exploration, development and production; seabed mining and ocean renewable energy.

Spain has over 7,880 kilometres of coastline along highly trafficked parts of the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Spain’s Blue Economy is the largest in Europe, with over 944,000 jobs and 32.7 billion euros in gross added value to the country’s economy. Spain accounts for 21% of the European Union’s (EU) aquaculture sales volume; it has the highest number of fish processing facilities in the bloc, and is its main shellfish producer.

Spain is also home to the two largest ports in the Mediterranean (Valencia and Algeciras) and is among the world’s largest shipbuilding nations. The shipbuilding sector in Spain had an estimated annual revenue of 7.5 billion euros in 2018. In 2019, the sector employed 33,730 full time workers (69,694 when including indirect labour).

The naval-defense sector is the most technologically advanced segment of Spain’s ship building industry. In fact, nearly 9% of its annual revenues are reinvested into R&D+I compared with 4.26% in the overall shipbuilding industry and 7.58% in the aerospace industry. By far the most important player in Spain’s naval-defense sector is Navantia, which builds almost all vessels for military use produced in Spain.

The EU has ambitious plans for its development of ocean renewable energy. The objective is to produce 100,000 megawatts (MW) over the next 30 years, creating 400,000 jobs.

The Spanish National Energy and Climate Integrated Plan 2021-2030, PNIEC, sets a target of 25 MW of installed capacity from ocean energy by 2025 and 50 MW by 2030.

Canadian Ocean Clusters have a good reputation in Spain and Canadian companies are well known for its engineering products and services that can stand up to extremely harsh ocean environments; marine remote sensing technologies; and, ocean observing systems.

Blue growth, blue biotechnology, ocean energy, internet of the seas and marine environment are the subsectors offering more opportunities that are relevant for Canadian Ocean Tech companies.

Spain and Canada both have a great innovation ecosystem, with active funding agencies, many cooperation agreements, and relevant public and private R&D focused organizations. Funding offered by several research initiatives such as Eureka and Eurostars allows Canadian and Spanish companies to develop joint business-oriented innovation projects with a focus on taking them to market.

These initiatives and the aforementioned opportunities make Spain a very attractive market for Ocean Tech companies worldwide and we encourage Canadian clients to explore this interesting market.

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