Seas and oceans are essential to human life in more ways than one. They regulate our climate and through the centuries have given us food, transport and recreation. Now, thanks to technological progress, they can also give us pharmaceuticals, minerals and possibly infinite energy — as long as our exploitation is responsible, our methods are safe and our trading is cautious and fair. Equally crucial is the economic value of the sea in our society. The European Commission works to ensure that our exploitation remains rigorously sustainable and the rich maritime heritage of Europe grows... nonetheless. The premise is that the two — environmental protection and economic growth — are intertwined and interdependent rather than opposed. This publication is a part of a series that explains what the EU does in different policy areas, why the EU is involved and what the results are.