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.
The vast developmental opportunities offered by the world’s coasts and oceans have attracted the attention of governments, private enterprises, philanthropic organizations, and international conservation organizations. High-profile dialogue and policy decisions on the future of the ocean are informed largely by economic and ecological research. Key insights from the social sciences raise concerns for food and nutrition security, livelihoods and social justice, but these have yet to gain traction with investors and the policy discourse on transforming ocean governance. The largest group of ocean-users – women and men who service, fish and trade from small-scale fisheries (SSF) – argue that they have been marginalized from the dialogue between international environmental and economic actors that is determining strategies for the future of the ocean. Blue Economy or Blue Growth initiatives see the ocean as the new economic frontier and imply an alignment with social objectives and SSF concerns. Deeper analysis reveals fundamental differences in ideologies, priorities and approaches. We argue that SSF are being subtly and overtly squeezed for geographic, political and economic space by larger scale economic and environmental conservation interests, jeopardizing the substantial benefits SSF provide through the livelihoods of millions of women and men, for the food security of around four billion consumers globally, and in the developing world, as a key source of micro-nutrients and protein for over a billion low-income consumers. Here, we bring insights from social science and SSF to explore how ocean governance might better account for social dimensions of fisheries.
The worlds’ oceans and seas have tremendous potential to contribute to the provision of food, feed, energy and natural resources. The emerging concepts of “Blue Growth” and “Blue Economy” have put the development of new marine industries on the political agenda. As marine industries expand, spatial interconnections and industry boundaries are being drawn and the potential for the combined use of marine space is being explored. The aim of this paper is to provide a single source document that summarizes the probable boundaries of marine growth industries, namely aquaculture; offshore wind energy with fixed foundations; floating offshore wind energy; tidal and wave energy; marine biotechnology, seabed mining; and tourism and recreation, based on depth and distance from the shore. This is an important first step in developing a single source document for marine industry boundaries that will help marine spatial planners and researchers develop innovative industry combinations to foster growth in the marine sector. This paper explores marine industry overlaps in four basins: European Atlantic, Baltic/North Sea, Mediterranean/Black Sea and the Caribbean/ Gulf of Mexico. By describing the geographical characteristics of different sea basins, this paper helps to focus marine governance strategies for stimulating combinations of marine industries towards the most promising areas. The methodology developed in this paper was also used to generate 72 country-specific maps and corresponding tables to support marine spatial planning processes at a national level.
In this article, we track a relatively new term in global environmental governance: “blue economy.” Analyzing preparatory documentation and data collected at the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (i.e., Rio + 20), we show how the term entered into use and how it was articulated within four competing discourses regarding human–ocean relations: (a) oceans as natural capital, (b) oceans as good business, (c) oceans as integral to Pacific Small Island Developing States, and (d) oceans as small-scale fisheries livelihoods. Blue economy was consistently invoked to connect oceans with Rio + 20’s “green economy” theme; however, different actors worked to further define the term in ways that prioritized particular oceans problems, solutions, and participants. It is not clear whether blue economy will eventually be understood singularly or as the domain of a particular actor or discourse. We explore possibilities as well as discuss discourse in global environmental governance as powerful and precarious.
While the global rush to control land resources is well established, ‘power-grabs’ in relation to marine and coastal resources are less well researched. Under the banner of ‘blue growth’, such power-grabs are taking shape through global policy processes that purportedly align the needs of the poor with profit interests and climate change concerns. This contribution critically interrogates these policy proposals and situates them within broader neoliberalization of nature debates. It is argued that the policy proposals fail on their own terms and are a form of ‘antipolitics’ that precludes more radical visions of addressing environmental and climate change issues. In an attempt to challenge this, small-scale fishers’ movements are increasingly framing their opposition in terms of the broader struggle for ‘food sovereignty’.
In recent years the European Union has firmly committed itself to energy from oceans as a means of decarbonising the European energy system. Despite a favourable political landscape, the development of offshore renewables still faces economic and technological barriers, which are coupled with the inherent difficulties of an increasingly industrialised marine environment, such as complex evolving regulation, lack of knowledge regarding the possible environmental impact of such an activity, as well as spatial conflicts with other traditional and emerging uses. Most of the coastal Member States have adopted Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) as a fundamental tool for integrated and sustainable management of human activities in the marine environment. MSP is capable of definitively driving the use of offshore renewable facilities. Its proper application supports decision making, simplifies and accelerates the process of obtaining permits, improves compatibility of uses, integrates stakeholders in planning, prevents environmental deterioration of sensitive areas, enhances the availability of information and promotes cross-border co-operation. This paper aims to evaluate the influence of maritime spatial planning processes on the advance of blue energy within the framework of the European Union. The results show positive relationships between MSP and the development of offshore renewable energy in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
The development of the Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) industry is part of the EC Blue Growth Strategy. It brings together a range of relationships across people, sea, and energy, from developers to local communities and policymakers. This calls for diverse approaches, moving beyond an oppositional mindset to one that can establish an inclusive community around MRE development. Ownership of the marine environment is a legal issue, but MRE devices operate within a cultural and emotional sense of place. Early, sustained community engagement and advocacy is crucial to developing an industry whose impacts are likely to be felt before its social benefits materialise. Crucially, local communities could be supported by Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) research in creating new mythologies and imaginaries through which MRE technologies become an integral part of their culture, as well as part of their biophysical environment. A complex physical, political, and legal environment provides the context for these new marine energy technologies, and its development provides opportunities for SSH research to address issues around the sea and to integrate into the design of new marine energy seascapes.