The Need for Sustainable Blue Recovery

In a recent UNCTAD release, global ocean resources are assessed as the world’s seventh largest economy based on GDP, valued at around $3 trillion annually, supporting more than 3 billion people. The total “asset” base of the ocean is estimated at $24 trillion, excluding intangible assets such as the ocean’s role in climate regulation, the production of oxygen, temperature stabilization of our planet, or the spiritual and cultural services the ocean provides. With 80% of the world’s goods transported along maritime routes, the value of marine space in human civilization should not be understated. 

However, ocean resources are in severe decline and extraction is unsustainable. 34% of all fish stocks of the 94% total being fully utilized, are being over-exploited and degraded. Rising water temperatures have killed up to half of the world’s coral reefs, and by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean. This is ominous for the 30-50% of SIDS' economies dependent upon ocean-based tourism.

UNCTAD has identified the pillars of such an approach: economic growth, conservation and sustainable use of the ocean, inclusive social development, science and innovation, as well as sound ocean governance. UNCTAD claims areas of opportunity include marine bio-prospecting, ocean science, sustainable aquaculture, renewable energy, low-carbon shipping, blue finance as well as ecotourism and blue carbon.

Please visit the link below for additional resources on improving regulation, ending fisheries over-exploitation, decarbonizing shipping, and deploying finance to support necessary ocean research.