• Several of the projects being developed within the framework of the HUB Oarsoaldea Urdina initiative for the promotion of the blue economy are presented.
  • The Oarsoaldea is defined by the Basque Government as a Preferential Action Area (PAA) and as such has a strategic plan to reactivate its economy.

Pasaia, 12 January 2023. This morning in Pasaia, several of the key projects hat are going to be launched for the reactivation of the region. The initiative, called HUB Oarsoaldea Urdina, aims to create a competitive technological space—institutional and business—to identify the challenges and opportunities of the Blue Economy, boosting economic activity and social development through projects that advance the more sustainable exploitation of the seas and their resources. The initiatives developed within the framework of this strategy have a budget of more than two million euros.

The conference held this morning at the Pasaia Port Authority building was attended by a large representation of all the bodies related to coastal development and agents from the different industrial sectors linked to the blue economy, including the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Policy of the Basque Government, Bittor Oroz, and the Managing Director of AZTI, Rogelio Pozo.

HUB Oarsoaldea Urdina. Blue economy to reactivate the economy

The HUB Oarsoaldea Urdina initiative is part of the PAA (Preferential Action Areas) strategy that the Basque Government has identified to pay special attention to the most disadvantaged areas of the territory, in collaboration with the main economic and social agents of the regions. The Oarsoaldea region in Gipuzkoa is part of this strategy and has a general plan within the framework of the Berpiztu programme to reactivate the area’s economy, generating employment and furthering its social development, with a budget of more than 20 million euros.

The aim of the PAAs is to seek out key projects in the region, selected by consensus among all the parties and agents involved, and which have a high impact on the sustainable development of the regions and their financing.

Thus, in Oarsoaldea, the aim is to promote the economy linked to the sea as a differentiating element of the regional economy due to the presence of the sea, the Bay of Pasaia and all the traditionally linked sectors in which this traditional activity can be reinvented, making the most of the unique opportunities it has compared to other territories. The idea is to create a business park (technological-industrial), based on local companies, but also with a view to other companies in the Basque Country that may see in this initiative and in the space that is generated an opportunity to extend and diversify their activity in view of the opportunities that are opening up in the development of the so-called “Blue Economy”, as well as to attract start-ups with disruptive innovations for the challenges of this sector of the economy.

The objective of this initiative is to bring together the agents of the different industrial sectors linked to the blue economy, and within it the most relevant to face the challenges of the future such as digitalisation or the ecological transition of the maritime sector. Companies will have opportunities for diversification and development and improvement of the portfolio of innovative and high-value products. For this reason, the definition of cross-cutting cooperative projects will be key to the success of the initiative. The projects will be aimed at generating new high-value products and services, but will also serve to attract talent and develop the training plans of the training centres and universities involved, aligning training with the real needs of the company.

Submitted projects

AZTI is coordinating various actions within the framework of this Blue Economy strategy and has presented three projects:

  • The implementation of an advanced oceanographic observatory in the port of Pasaia and its nearby coastal area that will enable the port to become a Smart Bay, with data and services connected and adaptable to different applications, in an oceanographic Observation pole on an oceanic scale.
  • The design and installation in the Oarsoaldea of a pilot area for experimentation in the production of ingredients of marine origin by fermentation. The aim is to drive new biotechnology activities, promote employment and the development of new business activities (start-ups) and R&D projects, as well as the launch of new products on the market (human or animal food, cosmetics, fertilisers, nutraceuticals).
  • The development of a plant for the production of seafood products with high added value for the catering market and the food industry as new ingredients for the development of new products. In the exploration phase.

For its part, the company Branka presented its project for the creation of a marine robotics centre in Pasaia for the development of the autonomous vessel: Action plan for the development of the marine robotics centre for Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs), including the design of a business plan, the implementation of the modular control centre for USVs and the definition of the technological roadmap for testing with USVs.

The engineering company Lasa Naval, has explained its action plan  for the development of a centre for the electrification and decarbonisation of ports where work will be carried out along the lines of re-motorisation and electrification of vessels (sport, professional (non-passenger), passenger and professional fishing boats).

Finally, the company specialising in bluefin tuna, Balfegó, presented the “Itsas Balfegó” project, which focuses on the development of a pilot aquaculture facility for bluefin tuna fattening. Proof of concept to validate the submersible cage technology and operational conditions for catching and fattening bluefin tuna. There is a future projection of installation of up to 5 cages. The cage will be built and installed at sea with local companies (local employment) based on Itsas Balfego’s patent.


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