Blue Economy is the sustainable exploitation of sea, ocean, and coastal resources for the improvement of the economy, livelihoods, and job creation while at the same time adhering to environmental conservation policies (Smith-Godfrey, pp.58-64). The blue economy is a theory that is evolving, and most nations are eager to exploit the idea to boost their economies. The world's ocean is vital to life on Earth. The largest source of oxygen and protein is from marine resources. A blue economy involves climate change, the sea, and the welfare of people all over the world.
Economist suggests that the blue economy has an enormous potential to create a more excellent and quicker growth domestic product of nations. Blue economy ensures the realization of sustainable development goals (SDGs). Food, transport, and energy are some of the products and services that can be harnessed from seas, oceans, and coastal areas (Smith-Godfrey, pp.58-64). Blue economy identifies the necessity for determined, organized programs to sustainably manage, safeguard, and preserve the ocean now to protect the present and future generations.
Constituents of Blue Economy
Traditional sectors, such as fisheries, water transport, and tourism, constitute a blue economy. Current segments include the exploitation of renewable energy, marine biotechnology and bioprospecting, aquaculture, and the exploitation of seabed resources (Silver, pp. 135-160). Environmentalists are more concerned about the preservation of the ecosystem of water bodies. Marine undertakings are divergent and also include coastal protection, waste disposal, carbon sequestration, and the survival of biodiversity.
The blue economy provides economic and social benefits to the people. Such benefits transcend generations. The exploitation of aquatic resources and their preservation helps in restoring, maintaining, and protecting universal diversity (Silver, pp. 135-160). Besides, it generates renewable energy, clean technologies, and waste reduction, and recycling.
Significance of Blue Economy
Most nations have witnessed the growth of their ocean financial prudence through the exploitation of marine and maritime resources such as commercial fishing, shipping, and the mining of minerals, oil, and gas (Sakhuja, p. 39). Small island countries have massive ocean resources that offer them an opportunity to enhance their economy and create employment, handle food security, and eradicate poverty.
The blue economy seeks to enhance human wellbeing and improve social equity while minimizing ecological dangers and environmental shortages. The exploitation of marine resources helps in the provision of food security through fishing of seafood. Fishing activities enhance the livelihoods of many people across the globe (Sakhuja, p. 39). The conservation of water bodies ensures the safeguarding of aquaculture. Research and development of chemicals and pharmaceuticals through biotechnology offers growth to industries and the healthcare sector. Oil and gas, minerals, and renewable energy are extracted from the ocean leading to economic growth.
People require fresh water, and the fact that groundwater, rivers, and lakes cannot provide adequate freshwater, the exploitation of freshwater from seas and oceans offers a solution to people. Desalination of ocean waters has the potential of supplying fresh water to the increasing population of the world (Sakhuja, p. 39). The development of port infrastructure and services has led to growth in ocean trade and international regulations.
Nations investing in the blue economy argue that such moves ensure the development of the global tourism industry and coastal urbanization. Tourism offers employment opportunities to a large population around the world and provides foreign exchange to countries. Policies on safeguarding and conservation of the marine ecosystem enable carbon sequestration, habitat safety and reinstatement, and the acclimatization of nutrients and wastes (Spalding, p.8). Scientists claim that oceans help in regulating pollution caused by anthropogenic emissions by absorbing a large quantity of carbon dioxide. The mangrove forests, seagrass beds, and other aquatic plants ensure mitigation of climate change through carbon sequestration. The coastal ecosystem is a habitat for many species, providing safe shelter from natural hazards, rising sea levels, and coastal erosion.
The blue economy provides for an inclusive framework in which coastal countries can assist the world through their aquatic resources. Such motives encourage the inclusion and involvement of all affected social entities and segments. Environmentalists argue that the blue economy provides more than just market opportunities, but offers protection and growth of more imperceptible 'blue' resources (Spalding, p.8). The intangible 'blue' resources include conventional methods of living, carbon sequestration, and coastal resilience to assist the susceptible nations to mitigate the overwhelming paraphernalia of climate change.
Factors that Impact on Blue Economy
The exploitation of marine and maritime resources without realizing the effects of such activities poses a threat to future health and output of those same assets. The degradation of marine resources is also a threat to the future exploitation of ocean resources (Barbesgaard, pp. 130-149). Most countries face numerous challenges when it comes to realizing the full potential of implementing the blue economy blueprint. Issues such as unregulated and unlawful fishing, robbery and piracy, and terrorism as factors that negatively affect the blue economy. Also, illegitimate business, smuggling of weapons and drugs, and human trafficking have posed a threat to the implementation of the blue economy.
Furthermore, dumping of wastes, illicit sand harvesting, oil spillage, and the destruction of coastal forests and coral reefs has led to the ruin of the marine ecosystem. Human-made pollution continues to threaten the marine ecosystem (Barbesgaard, pp. 130-149). Most pollutants such as discharge from pesticides, industrial chemicals, and discarded plastics and other domestic wastes always find their route into the sea and ocean affecting aquatic life and their habitat. Border disputes have also been a significant challenge for most nations. Since the sea is accessible to everyone, the utilization of maritime and marine resources is prone to depletion through overexploitation and degradation (Barbesgaard, pp. 130-149). Such overexploitation results in the diminishing population of fish in oceans.
The blue economy is vital for the economic growth of countries and the livelihoods of people across the globe. Sustainable development is achievable through inclusivity and environmentally suitable policies on the exploitation of ocean resources. It is apparent that the exploitation of maritime and marine resources, if done in a manner that does not deplete the available natural resources, the society relies upon the resources. It has the capability of sustaining life for an extended period.
There is a critical need to balance social, economic, and environmental aspects of sustainable growth with regards to marine in the implementation of the blue economy. Overexploitation and degradation is a threat to both life and its habitat. Policies that regulate the utilization of marine resources is vital in securing the future of the coming generation and marine life and their habitat. Such systems have the capability of ensuring that the blue economy contributes to its full potentiality without negative consequences.
Barbesgaard, Mads. "Blue growth: savior or ocean grabbing?" The Journal of Peasant Studies 45.1 (2018): 130-149. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03066150.2017.1377186
Sakhuja, Vijay. "Harnessing the blue economy." Indian Foreign Affairs Journal 10.1 (2015): 39. Retrieved from http://www.associationdiplomats.org/publications/ifaj/Vol10/10.1/10.1-ARTICLE%201_P-VS.pdf
Silver, Jennifer J., et al. "Blue economy and competing discourses in international oceans governance." The Journal of Environment & Development 24.2 (2015): 135-160. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1070496515580797
Smith-Godfrey, Simon. "Defining the blue economy." Maritime affairs: Journal of the national maritime foundation of India 12.1 (2016): 58-64. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09733159.2016.1175131
Spalding, Mark J. "The new blue economy: the future of sustainability." Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics 2.2 (2016): 8. Retrieved from https://cbe.miis.edu/joce/vol2/iss2/8/
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