Published on: 12/5/2020 2:59:57 AM

The “blue economy” concept seeks to promote economic growth, social inclusion, and the preservation or improvement of livelihoods while at the same time ensuring environmental sustainability of the oceans and coastal areas. At its core it refers to the decoupling of socioeconomic development through oceans-related sectors and activities from environmental and ecosystems degradation. It draws from scientific findings that ocean resources are limited and that the health of the oceans has drastically declined due to anthropogenic activities. These changes are already being profoundly felt, affecting human well-being and societies, and the impacts are likely to be amplified in the future, especially in view of projected population growth.

The blue economy has diverse components, including established traditional ocean industries such as fisheries, tourism, and maritime transport, but also new and emerging activities, such as offshore renewable energy, aquaculture, seabed extractive activities, and marine biotechnology and bioprospecting. A number of services provided by ocean ecosystems, and for which markets do not exist, also contribute significantly to economic and other human activity such as carbon sequestration, coastal protection, waste disposal and the existence of biodiversity.

A SUSTAINABLE BLUE ECONOMY is a marine-based economy that . . .

  • Provides social and economic benefits for current and future generations by contributing to
  • food security, poverty eradication, livelihoods, income, employment, health, safety, equity, and political stability.
  • Restores, protects, and maintains the diversity, productivity, resilience, core functions, and intrinsic
  • value of marine ecosystems—the natural capital upon which its prosperity depends.
  • Is based on clean technologies, renewable energy, and circular material flows to secure economic and social stability over time, while keeping within the limits of one planet.

Is governed by public and private processes that are . . .

  • Inclusive
  • Well-informed, precautionary, and adaptive
  • Accountable and transparent
  • Holistic, cross-sectoral, and long-term
  • Innovative and proactive

To create a SUSTAINABLE BLUE ECONOMY, public and private actors must:

  • Set clear, measurable, and internally consistent goals and targets for a Sustainable Blue Economy.
  • Assess and communicate their performance on these goals and targets.
  • Create a level economic and legislative playing field that provides the Blue Economy with adequate incentives and rules.
  • Plan, manage, and effectively govern the use of marine space and resources, applying inclusive methods and the ecosystem approach.
  • Develop and apply standards, guidelines, and best practices that support a Sustainable Blue Economy.
  • Recognize that the maritime and land-based economies are interlinked and that many of the threats facing marine environments originate on land.
  • Actively cooperate, sharing information, knowledge, best practices, lessons learned, perspectives, and ideas, to realize a sustainable and prosperous future for all.

The Blue economy aims to use locally available resources and renewable inputs to achieve its developmental goals. There is an enormous potential in the currently untapped resources in different marine zones of the world, upon the utilization of which the future growth of economics around the world is dependent.

Type of Activity

Activity Subcategories

Related Industries/ Sectors

Drivers of Growth

Harvesting and trade of

marine living resources

Seafood harvesting

Fisheries (primary fish pro- duction)

Demand for food and nutrition, especially protein

Secondary fisheries and related activities (e.g., processing, net and gear making, ice production and supply, boat construction and maintenance, manufacturing of fish-processing equipment, packaging, marketing and distribution)

Demand for food and nutrition, especially protein

Trade of seafood products

Demand for food and nutrition, especially protein

Trade of non-edible sea- food products

Demand for cosmetic, pet, and pharmaceutical products


Demand for food and nutrition, especially protein

Use of marine living re- sources for pharmaceutical products and chemical ap- plications

Marine biotechnology and bioprospecting

R&D and usage for health care, cosmetic, enzyme, nutraceutical, and other industries

Extraction and use of marine non-living resources (non-renewable)

Extraction of minerals

(Seabed) mining

Demand for minerals

Extraction of energy sources

Oil and gas

Demand for (alternative)

energy sources

Freshwater generation


Demand for freshwater

Use of renewable non-exhaustible natural forces (wind, wave, and tidal energy)

Generation of (off-shore) renewable energy


Demand for (alternative)

energy sources

Commerce and trade in and around the oceans

Transport and trade

Shipping and shipbuilding


Maritime transport

Growth in seaborne trade; transport demand; inter- national regulations; maritime transport industries (shipbuilding, scrapping, registration, seafaring, port operations, etc.)

Ports and related services

Coastal development

National planning minis- tries and departments, private sector

Coastal urbanization, national regulations

Tourism and recreation

National tourism authorities, private sector, other relevant sectors

Global growth of tourism

Indirect contribution to economic activities and environments

Carbon sequestration

Blue carbon

Climate mitigation

Coastal Protection

Habitat protection, resto- ration

Resilient growth

Waste Disposal for land-

based industry

Assimilation of nutrients, solid waste

Wastewater Management

Existence of biodiversity

Protection of species, habitats