Blue Economy – What is it and what you need to know
What is Blue Economy and how it is important to the future development of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
What is Blue Economy
The “Blue Economy” is an emerging concept which encourages better stewardship of our ocean or “blue resources”. At its simplest, “blue economy” refers to the range of economic uses of ocean and coastal resources – such as energy, shipping, fisheries, aquaculture, mining, and tourism. It also includes economic benefits that may not be marketed – such as carbon storage, coastal protection, cultural values, and biodiversity.
It supports all of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG14 ‘Life Below Water’, and recognizes that this will require ambitious, coordinated actions to sustainably manage, protect and preserve our ocean now, for the sake of present and future generations.
Why is the Blue Economy so Important?
The blue economy goes beyond viewing the ocean economy solely as a mechanism for economic growth. Similar to the “Green Economy”, the blue economy model aims for the improvement of human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.
The blue economy is not just about market opportunities: it provides protection and enables development of more intangible ‘blue resources’ such as traditional ways of life, carbon sequestration, and coastal resilience to help vulnerable states mitigate the often devastating effects of climate change.
- The worldwide ocean economy is valued at around $1.5 trillion US per year
- Eighty percent of global trade by volume is carried by sea
- 350 million jobs worldwide are linked to fisheries
- Aquaculture provides about 50% of fish for human consumption
Challenges to the Global Blue Economy
The ocean is one of the big economic frontiers right now; almost all of the global trade is moved by shipping, offshore oil, gas and mining providing precious resources and, Aquaculture is providing sustainable protein.
As technology advances, humans are able to go to – and exploit – places unreachable in the past. Accountability and responsibility around extraction, plastics, fishing, chemicals, shipping, and farming is a must.
The enormous potential of the ocean to provide major solutions for feeding the growing population, and to provide clean energy and jobs is at risk if these resources are not harnessed responsibly. Having a global and collective mindset about the importance of the Blue Economy is a challenge.
Threats to Global Blue Economy
How can we use the resources that are in our oceans with a more sustainable approach that we didn’t have with our land-based resources? It is a second chance for us to do things properly. The ocean is an abundant resource and therefore has the potential to expand existing sectors as well as nurture entirely new ones – if we manage it appropriately.
- More than 220 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year
- Research suggests that the amount of discarded plastic will outweigh the amount of fish in the ocean by 2050
- There are now close to 500 dead zones covering more than 245,000 square kilometers
- Ocean acidity will increase by 170% by 2100 if present CO2 emissions continue
The Opportunity to Overcome & Succeed
This week in San Diego, California, a group of industry experts from across academia, industry and government are gathering as part of Blue Tech Week. This event is organized by The Maritime Alliance and is designed to bring together the people and companies driving the Blue Economy.
The week includes, conferences, a summit and tech expo as well as a series of expert panels, all geared to creating dialogue around the assessing the threats and risks of the Blue Economy and tackling long terms solutions – including the mitigation of exploitation and brainstorming technological advancements to support blue resources.
Deep Trekker is participating in Blue Tech Week as a member of The Maritime Alliance, but also to offer our ROVs as solutions to important factors such as surveillance, monitoring, and underwater inspections to ensure environmental sustainability and compliance. As part of this week’s important activities, the Deep Trekker line of submersible ROVs and Crawlers will be showcased as tools that can offer solutions to sustainable aquaculture, plastics and ghost gear clean up, unexploded ordnance disposal and aging infrastructure inspections.
Corals are dying, waters are warming, and sea levels are rising. Ultimately, the ocean is our shared resource, but time will tell whether it turns into our shared failure or the greatest comeback story humanity has ever staged. Ocean advocacy and being a part of a long term solution in the assistance of the Blue Economy is a driving factor in Deep Trekker’s creation and continued model of business.