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.
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’.