The North Sea is one of the world's most important commercial and environmental areas. The North Sea Marine Cluster (NSMC) offers the opportunity to capitalise on the wealth of regional marine experience across sectors and represents a geographic concentration of inter-connected interests and expertise. It provides a significant missing component of English regional maritime capacity and capability in this highly important coastal and offshore area.

The North Sea Marine Cluster is a not-for-profit organisation, self-funded by its members and founded on the principle that combining the expertise from the academic, private and public sector is an effective mechanism to share experience and expertise on the protection and sustainable use of the marine environment.

The NSMC brings together the strengths and experience of its partner organisations: the University of East Anglia, Norfolk County Council, Marsh Ltd and the Gardline Group. It combines academic excellence with real marine experience acquired in the North Sea and worldwide.  Capabilities are enhanced by the many other organisations that work with the Clusters partners, with expertise in renewables – in particular wind farms, offshore oil and gas, environmental monitoring, planning, surveillance, fabrication and construction.


A concept used across European and UK institutions, a "Blue Economy" encompasses the broad range of increasingly specialised activities at sea and the challenges of utilising and conserving the marine resource in a sustainable manner.

'Marine activity' ranges from the most traditional and well known businesses such as fishing, tourism and pleasure-boating, to modern industries such as aquaculture, oil and gas exploration, shipping operations, and extracting gravel for concrete.  The future of our economy will also be at sea in decommissioning energy infrastructure, developing renewable energy technology, marine bioengineering and in particular through the challenges of maintain good environmental quality and biodiversity in the face of climate change.

Working and building infrastructure at sea requires skills, infrastructure, knowledge and suppliers that are shared across all sectors. It has become increasingly difficult in policy and in practice to recognise how closely marine activities are linked together.

By promoting East Anglia's Blue Economy, NSMC wish to highlight that all of the resources are here to develop a globally important marine economy. We can create job opportunities, attract inward investment, and realise the region's aspirations by looking to the sea and using the available marine resources.

For more information, read our pamphlet (available in pdf) Realising the Potential: East Anglia's Blue Economy.

Marine Conservation Zones: Who Pays?

Marine conservation is critical to both the environment and the economy and somehow we must pay for the protection and rescue of this crucial resource. The traditional model of ‘the tax payer pays’ is no longer a viable solution. Marine Conservation: Who Pays? will focus on these topics and the scale of their importance. The conference featured a keynote speech by Minister for Fisheries Richard Benyon MP and more information can be found by downloading the Executive Summary and final reports in pdf.


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2014-12-01 NSMC proposal for Mapping the Land under the Sea

The UK is a maritime nation with an undersea real-estate over three times its land area – but only 30% of which has been systematically mapped with modern methods. There could be important economic gains (business opportunities and private and public spending efficiencies) to be had by accelerating the mapping of the UK seabed and producing a comprehensive data library. The aim would be to complete the programme by 2025. Initial estimates suggest that this would require an additional £15 -20m a year investment over and above that which could be achieved at recent spend. The return on investment could be 4:1 or more, from an independent review of a similar programme in Ireland. A study costing £75k is proposed to examine the economic case in detail.

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