Conference: Blue economy on the islands of Western Estonia

Saaremaa Development Center invites all marine economy enthusiasts and experts to a conference Blue economy on the islands of Western Estonia.



  • Attendance is for FREE
  • Registration for participation is required until June 17 from HERE



The conference maps the current situation and development options in major Blue economy sectors of Estonian western archipelago and aims to find the synergies, international experience adoptions, nature based sustainable no-waste business models, paths to energy-independent welfare islands. 



08:45 welcome coffee and local origin vitamins

09:15 Blue economy welcoming address - Moderator Sander Loite 


09:25 Maritime economy new governmental perpsective - Kaupo Läänerand, Deputy Secretary General for Maritime Economy, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications Kaupo Läänerand.png

What are the innovative plans that would consolidate Estonia's strength as a maritime state to the whole world? We need to gain momentum and move more broadly on the sea in the winds of ambitious climate goals, which require a strong coastal sector, maritime education, and innovation. Where in the picture stands Saaremaa?



09:30 Estonian aquaculture perspectives - Knut Senstad, Norwegian expert; Jonne Kotta and Georg Martin, Estonian experts (marine biologists) 

Knut Senstad.pngWorldwide they often say the Baltic Sea is too polluted for aquaponic solutions. Some argue the taste of less known rainbow trout is not competitive on the markets. Authorities doubt whether open net fish farming can be allowed. Have these fears any justifications and what is the aquaculture potential around West-Estonian islands? What is our value proposition to investors?



10:30 Offshore energy - Edwin van de Brug, Van Oord (shareholder at Saare Wind Energy), Holland Edwin van de Brug.png

Is there an alternative to the wind energy achieving EU and Estonia’s climate and energy goals? Why is the biggest production capacity foreseen offshore everywhere in Europe? How offshore wind parks are constructed and what is the impact to the sea? What are the benefits to islandic community? Once the turbines are up, the production should be sold … 


Märt Helmja.png

11:00 Renewable energy cooperative – why now? – Märt Helmja, Energy Society, CEO

Working as a cooperative does technically complex and expensive green energy projects feasible and financially affordable for local people. How to increase the will of the local community? How to save on expensive grid fees? Incentives for establishing local green energy parks across Estonia. Can anyone contribute to the green revolution? 



11:30 Small craft sustainable construction – DSc Kristjan Tabri, Senior researcher, Member of the Supervisory Board at Small Craft competence sector Kristjan Tabri.png

How sustainable can small craft industry be? How to survive in one of the most innovative sectors in Europe? How can small craft industry benefit the Blue economy sectors? What are the developments needed for maximum benefit? Latest news talk about different renewable energy applications while at the sea. What is the symbiosis with technological development, offshore energy, and aquaculture? What about the digital sea? 


12:00 lunch


13:00 Blue economy model for Estonian islands – Gunter Pauli, innovator, entrepreneur, writer 

Gunter Pauli.pngBelgian entrepreneur Gunter Pauli, the creator of the blue economic model: the idea of the blue economy is to meet people's basic needs with the resources available on the ground, while minimizing emissions. Gunter believes that companies in many countries need new business models today. Innovation, which aims to produce a lot and cheaply, can only work in selected countries. It is necessary to rethink innovation and create business models that create greater added value for the whole community. What are the best blue economy projects in West Estonia? How are the described sectors interconnected?



14:30 Bioeconomy perspectives for islands – Siim Tiidemann, Deputy Secretary General for Fisheries Policy and Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Rural Affairs Siim Tiidemann.png

The transition to a bioeconomy will be far-reaching. It will involve much more than replacing fossil-based raw materials and introducing new technologies; society will need to change in a way that clashes with the status quo in some cases. The global economic system will change. New dependencies may arise. Countries with an abundance of farmland may gain a firmer power base compared with oil-producing nations. How long in Estonia agriculture will dominate over aquaculture, if so? How to turn islands on smart examples of biomass utilization?



15:00 – 16:00  Panel: which blue economy applications deserve to become priorities? – Gunter Pauli, Siim Tiidemann, Kaupo Läänerand, Mart Mere (the only producer of the unique furcellaran from the red seaweed)


The conference is part of the PATEE (Regional Initiatives for Employment and Entrepreneurship) project and is funded by the European Union's European Regional Development Fund.

Saaremaa Development Center

Saaremaa Development Center belongs to the network of county development centers. We provide free of charge consultations for potential, start-up and operating companies, non-governmental organisations and local authorities.

Open hours:

Monday to Thursday: 9AM - 4PM

Friday: 9AM - 12PM


For consultation, please make an appointment in advance:



Torni street 1, Kuressaare 93812

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