A call for a blue degrowth: Unravelling the European Union's fisheries and maritime policies
Terms like blue growth (as well as the blue economy) have become the new buzzword inscribing a new era where the seas are recognized as potential drivers for the European economy. It is nevertheless, through this same logic of limitless economic growth, marine resources have been unsustainably exploited despite numerous institutional attempts to tackle overfishing. The aim of this paper is to point at the contradictions inherent in the objectives of the blue economy, and question the belief that ecological, social and economic targets can be achieved under (blue) growth-centred policies. An analysis of the (failing) policies for a ‘sustainable use of marine resources’ will be conducted and exemplified through an analysis of the main tools the EU has promoted as solutions to the fisheries crisis (sustainable consumption, privatisation of fish, fishing in waters of third countries and marine aquaculture). Additionally, the sectors promoted by the EU's Blue Growth strategy (marine aquaculture, coastal tourism, marine biotechnology, ocean energy and seabed mining) will also be evaluated in order to question this new vision for the seas and the coast. Through the introduction of the concept blue degrowth, this article aims to open up a more critical discussion around the blue growth strategy by highlighting the inherent dangers which lie in such economic strategies.