Earth is a Blue Planet, as more than 70% of its surface is covered by water. Half the world’s population lives within 60 km of the sea and around 75% of all large metropolis are located along the coasts. Inland and marine ecosystems provide food security, livelihoods and employment to millions of people, particularly in the developing world. Blue economy is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem
The concept of Blue Economy integrates an innovative approach to development and economic exploitation of the resources of the earth’s ‘blue realm’ – inland, coastal and marine waters. Alongside the “green economy”, it represents a basis for balanced, responsible and sustainable use of both renewable and non-renewable resources on earth. Sustainable Blue Economy aims to consider economic development and aquatic ecosystem health as compatible propositions. As healthy oceans, seas and inland water bodies can greatly contribute to inclusiveness and poverty reduction, they are highly essential to ensure a sustainable future for developing and emerging economies around the world.
However, several challenges hinder the development of a Blue Economy including the need to overcome the current economic and developmental trends that are rapidly degrading and depleting aquatic resources through unsustainable exploitation, habitat loss and destruction of coastal, near-shore and oceanic habitats through pollution, shipping and tourism. The notion of Blue Economy is founded on the principles of sustainable use and conservation of aquatic ecosystems, and based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” and Goal 14 to “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” respectively
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of United Nations outlines strategies to protect the aquatic ecosystems and communities that are dependent on it.The Blue Economy is estimated to contribute about US$ 1.5 trillion per annum globally (3 per cent of global GDP) and can create approximately 350 million jobs in fishing, aquaculture, coastal and marine tourism and research activities, besides the huge potential of economic gains through exploitation of renewable energy, hydrocarbons, and bioprospecting. The complexities revolving around the enormous opportunities and challenges of Blue Economy regime require a wide range of expertise and investment strategies.
Fisheries is a major component that contributes to global food and nutritional security withthe marine sector alone contributing a whopping US$ 270 Billion to the global GDP annually. There is an urgent need for revitalizing the inland and blue economy sectors by analyzing the present status, problems, sustainable exploitation strategies, policy and management. It is also imperative to address the direct and indirect consequences of the Blue economy regime of the marine ecosystem including loss of fisheries, taking into account their role in sustainable development and human well-being.
Ø Harnessing the potential of the oceans, seas, lakes and rivers to improve livelihoods, particularly in developing countries adjoining the Indian Ocean.
Ø Leveraging the latest innovations, scientific advances and best practices to build prosperity while conserving aquatic ecosystems for future generations.