Coastal wetlands have been valued for a variety of ecosystem services including carbon sequestration and long term storage. The carbon sequestered and stored in coastal habitat including mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrass beds is termed as blue carbon. However, these systems are threatened mainly due to sea level rise, limited sediment supply, edge erosion, and anthropogenic influences. These habitats require restoration and conservation to continue providing ecosystem services. The incentive for emission reductions, referred to as carbon offsets, is well established for other ecosystems like forestry and agriculture. Some blue carbon offset methodologies or protocols have been certified by various voluntary carbon markets; however to date, a few wetland restoration carbon offset in the US has been transacted. Thus, the goal of this paper is to discuss the existing carbon market and carbon market methodologies applicable to coastal wetland restoration and conservation in the US. Currently, four wetland carbon offset methodologies have been approved in the carbon market. These methodologies are site and/or project-specific depending on the type of the wetlands, vulnerability to loss, and restoration need. The appropriate carbon stock and Green House Gas (GHG) emission assessment is the basis of determining carbon offsets. Simplification of the existing methodologies and development of new site and project-specific methodologies could potentially help to realize blue carbon offsets in practice. The slowly growing demand for carbon offsets in the carbon market could potentially be fulfilled from the blue carbon pool. While this carbon offset is in the early stages, this review may help the inclusion of carbon offset component in the coastal restoration and conservation projects in United States and potentially across the globe.
Since 2011, when the first European ocean literacy (OL) project was launched in Portugal, the number of initiatives about this topic in Europe has increased notoriously and their scope has largely widened. These initiatives have drawn from the seven “OL Principles” that were developed by the College of Exploration OL Network in 2005. They represent a source of inspiration for the many endeavors that are aiming to achieve a society that fully understands the influence of themselves – as individuals and as a population – on the ocean and the influence of the ocean on them. OL initiatives throughout the past years, globally, have resulted in the production of countless didactic and communication resources that represent a valuable legacy for new activities. The OL research community recognizes the need to build up the scope of OL by reaching the wider Blue Economy actors such as the maritime industrial sector. It is hoped that building OL in this sector will contribute to the long-term sustainable development of maritime activities. The ERASMUS+ project “MATES” aims to address the maritime industries’ skills shortages and contribute to a more resilient labor market. MATES’ hypothesis is that through building OL in educational, professional and industrial environments, it is possible to build a labor force that matches the skills demand in these sectors and increases their capacity to uptake new knowledge. The MATES partnership will explicitly combine OL and knowledge transfer by applying the “COLUMBUS Knowledge Transfer Methodology” as developed by the H2020-funded COLUMBUS project.
With the anticipated boom in the ‘blue economy’ and associated increases in industrialization across the world’s oceans, new and complex risks are being introduced to ocean ecosystems. As a result, conservation and resource management increasingly look to factor in potential interactions among the social, ecological and economic components of these systems. Investigation of these interactions requires interdisciplinary frameworks that incorporate methods and insights from across the social and biophysical sciences. Risk assessment methods, which have been developed across numerous disciplines and applied to various real-world settings and problems, provide a unique connection point for cross-disciplinary engagement. However, research on risk is often conducted in distinct spheres by experts whose focus is on narrow sources or outcomes of risk. Movement toward a more integrated treatment of risk to ensure a balanced approach to developing and managing ocean resources requires cross-disciplinary engagement and understanding. Here, we provide a primer on risk assessment intended to encourage the development and implementation of integrated risk assessment processes in the emerging blue economy. First, we summarize the dominant framework for risk in the ecological/biophysical sciences. Then, we discuss six key insights from the long history of risk research in the social sciences that can inform integrated assessments of risk: (1) consider the subjective nature of risk, (2) understand individual social and cultural influences on risk perceptions, (3) include diverse expertise, (4) consider the social scales of analysis, (5) incorporate quantitative and qualitative approaches, and (6) understand interactions and feedbacks within systems. Finally, we show how these insights can be incorporated into risk assessment and management, and apply them to a case study of whale entanglements in fishing gear off the United States west coast.
The term ‘Blue Economy’ is increasingly used in various marine sectors and development frameworks. For it to be a truly useful approach, however, we argue that social benefits and equity must be explicitly prioritized alongside environmental and economic concerns. This integration of social dimensions within the Blue Economy is required to ensure that marine economic sectors contribute to achieving sustainable development goals. We review what an equity-focused ‘Blue Economy’ might mean for some established and emergent marine sectors and note existing guidelines that may be used for incorporating these aspects into planning. Moving towards a Blue Economy does not only imply developing emerging sectors in undeveloped areas; larger challenges will be found in transforming industries that already have significant economic and livelihood contributions despite concurrent social and environmental concerns. A ‘marine industrial revolution’—as the Blue Economy has sometimes been understood—cannot achieve sustainable development and well-being if it does not avoid the widespread negative social and ecological impacts of historical development pathways. A concerted effort is therefore necessary to design and implement inclusive and equitable policies as an integral part of a Blue Economy that is transformative and not only expansive.
Carbon offsetting—receiving credit for reducing, avoiding, or sequestering carbon—has become part of the portfolio of solutions to mitigate carbon emissions, and thus climate change, through policy and voluntary markets, primarily by land-based re- or afforestation and preservation [1, 2]. However, land is limiting, creating interest in a rapidly growing aquatic farming sector of seaweed aquaculture [3–5]. Synthesizing data from scientific literature, we assess the extent and cost of scaling seaweed aquaculture to provide sufficient CO2eq sequestration for several climate change mitigation scenarios, with a focus on the food sector—a major source of greenhouse gases . Given known ecological constraints (nutrients and temperature), we found a substantial suitable area (ca. 48 million km2 ) for seaweed farming, which is largely unfarmed. Within its own industry, seaweed could create a carbon-neutral aquaculture sector with just 14% (mean = 25%) of current seaweed production (0.001% of suitable area). At a much larger scale, we find seaweed culturing extremely unlikely to offset global agriculture, in part due to production growth and cost constraints. Yet offsetting agriculture appears more feasible at a regional level, especially areas with strong climate policy, such as California (0.065% of suitable area). Importantly, seaweed farming can provide other benefits to coastlines affected by eutrophic, hypoxic, and/or acidic conditions [7, 8], creating opportunities for seaweed farming to act as ‘‘charismatic carbon’’ that serves multiple purposes. Seaweed offsetting is not the sole solution to climate change, but it provides an invaluable new tool for a more sustainable future.
There is currently no generally accepted definition for the “blue economy,” despite the term becoming common parlance over the past decade. The concept and practice have spawned a rich, and diverse, body of scholarly activity. Yet despite this emerging body of literature, there is ambiguity around what the blue economy is, what it encapsulates, and its practices. Thus far, the existing literature has failed to theorise key geographical concepts such as space, place, scale, and power relations, all of which have the potential to lead to uneven development processes and regional differentiation. Previous research has sought to clarify the ontological separation of land and sea or has conceptualised the blue economy as a complex governmental project that opens up new governable spaces and rationalises particular ways of managing marine and coastal regions. More recently, geographers have called for a critical—and practical—engagement with the blue economy. This paper critically examines the existing literature of the geographies of the blue economy through a structured meta‐analysis of published work, specifically its conceptualisations and applications to debates in the field. Results offer the potential to ground a bottom‐up definition of the blue economy. In so doing, this paper provides a clearly identifiable rubric of the key geographical concepts that are often overlooked by researchers, policymakers, and practitioners when promoting economic development and technological innovation in coastal and marine environments.
The so-called blue growth is gaining importance in European policy making since it is expanding its relevance beyond traditional economic sectors to new and rapidly developing ones that present significant potential of innovation. This paper seeks to identify the most important factors that can be driving forces of blue growth, taking the example of Greece that being currently in a post-memorandum era, is obliged, in order to meet its engagements, to accelerate with economic growth in general, by untapping also local and regional blue growth potentials and by using MSP to facilitate the growth of its maritime economy. With the aim to put forward concrete policy proposals to boost and make operational blue growth in Greece in a multi-actor perspective, a field survey was designed and conducted with participating representatives of 24 “development companies” operating at local and regional level, all over the country. The method used was the one of environmental scanning (SWOT analysis, etc.). The survey highlighted the strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities, the risks and the many challenges that outline prospects and practical aspects of blue growth in the Greek regional space. The results and key findings of the primary research are discussed, highlighting the most important areas of strategy for promoting blue growth at a local level by the development companies including balancing he protection of the marine environment (ecosystem-based management) and economic growth, safeguarding maritime jobs, promoting entrepreneurial discovery through the Regional Strategy for Smart Specialisation, enforcement of maritime law, promoting biotechnology research and the creation of maritime clusters. Finally, policy proposals are presented to support blue entrepreneurship, which may be one of the cutting edges of the country’s new development model.
As Zhejiang is situated in China’s coastal areas and the T-shaped Yangtze River economic belt and at the estuary of the Yangtze golden waterway, Zhejiang enjoys unique abundant marine resources and a superior advantage for its location. Zhejiang is an important province of marine resources in China’s coastal areas; it abounds in such marine resources as ports, fishery, scenery, oil, tideland, energy and islands. Since ancient times, thanks to the advantage of its geographical location in the coastal area, Zhejiang has a long history of a marine economy. The traditional marine industries, including fishery, salt and shipping, began to take shape before the founding of new China. In the late 1980s, especially since the beginning of the 21st century, the successive Party Committees and governments of Zhejiang Province, have been attaching great importance to the development of the marine economy and have put forward the basic strategy of Zhejiang’s development of a marine economy. After many years of continued efforts, Zhejiang has gradually marched from a large province of marine resources to a strong province with a marine economy.
Sustained ocean observations provide an essential input to ocean scientific research. They also support a wide range of societal and economic benefits related to safety; operational efficiency; and regulation of activities around, on, in, and under seas and the ocean. The ocean economy is large and diverse, accounting for around US$1.5 trillion of global gross value-added economic activity. This is projected to more than double by 2030. Delivering this growth in economic activity is dependent on ocean observations. This review paper summarizes the projected changes in the scale and scope of the ocean economy and the role that observations, measurements, and forecasts play in supporting the safe and effective use of the ocean and ocean resources, at the same time as protecting the environment. It also provides an overview of key future work being planned to develop a better understanding of the present and likely future ocean economy and the role and value of ocean observations in its sustainable realization.
A suite of recent international commitments and aspirational targets related to ocean conservation and sustainable fisheries management suggest growing consensus among states regarding the urgency of action. Yet, securing adequate financial resources to achieve these goals will be a crucial hurdle for many countries and will depend on financing mechanisms that go beyond traditional official development assistance (ODA) and philanthropy. An expanding and diversifying universe of financing mechanisms, however, risks generating confusion, incoherence, and uneven outcomes. This Special Issue on “Funding for ocean conservation and sustainable fisheries” was conceived to gain insights into current and emerging trends in the rapidly evolving world of ‘blue’ finance. While one emphasis of the Special Issue is on ODA and philanthropy, additional contributions also cover new and emerging financing mechanisms. Throughout the Special Issue, authors reflect on important gaps, future perspectives and prospects for greater impact. Two relevant topics for the Special Issue, for which dedicated manuscripts are not available, are also briefly addressed: China's growing role as a provider of development finance and a shift to overtly transactional use of aid by the current US administration.