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Blue growth - unlocking the potential of seas and oceans

Time for a sea change in ocean management

02 Jul 2014 - Today’s fisheries sector hosts a multibillion dollar industry that is a vital source of food, employment, trade, economic wellbeing and recreation.

What is blue growth?

The concept of a "blue economy" came out of the 2012 Rio+20 Conference and emphasizes conservation and sustainable management, based on the premise that healthy ocean ecosystems are more productive and represent the only way to ensure sustainable ocean-based economies.

To support a shift to this new approach, FAO established a new Blue Growth Initiative, through which it will assist countries in developing and implementing blue economy and growth agendas.

Why blue growth?

Blue growth looks to further harness the potential of oceans, seas and coasts to:

  • Eliminate harmful fisheries subsidies that contribute to overfishing and instead incentivize approaches which improve conservation, build sustainable fisheries and end illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing
  • Develop those sectors with a high potential for sustainable jobs such as aquaculture, tourism, marine biotechnology
  • Ensure tailor-made measures that foster cooperation between countries
  • Act as a catalyst for policy development, investment and innovation in support of food security, poverty reduction, and the sustainable management of aquatic resources.

How will it be implemented? 

  • Aquaculture – farming of fish, shellfish and marine plants in a responsible manner
  • Blue biotechnology – exploring the sea’s biodiversity which could enable us to develop new pharmaceutics or industrial enzymes that can withstand extreme conditions and have a high economic value
  • Coastal and maritime tourism – developing and implementing maritime spatial plans and coastal management strategies
  • Mineral resources – providing the economic incentive to explore the mineral resources of the seabed
  • Blue energy – tapping into the next generation of offshore renewable energy to create opportunities for the creation of jobs and energy security