Communiqué de presse | 15 Oct, 2019

Charting a course to sustainability and equity in the blue economy

CEESP News: By Dr. Nathan Bennett, Chair of the 'People and the Ocean'  CEESP Specialist Group.

The global rush to develop the ‘blue economy’ risks harming both the marine environment and human wellbeing. Bold policies and actions are urgently needed. This paper outlines five priorities to chart a course towards an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable blue economy.

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Small-scale fishing boats on the beach in Thailand

Photo: Nathan Bennett

"Concerns about the state of the world’s oceans are widespread. At the same time, interest in the economic potential of the oceans is escalating, with their contribution to the global economy projected to double from US$1.5 trillion in 2010 to US$3 trillion by 2030.

economic development in the oceansPhoto: Nathan Bennett
Numerous governments and corporations herald ocean sectors as lucrative frontiers for investment, including fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, bio-prospecting, seabed mining, oil and gas, renewable energy, and shipping. The blue economy — a term that originally implied socially equitable and sustainable development but has come to encapsulate international interest in the growth of ocean-based economic development — has been a central theme of recent global ocean policy conferences.

Many coastal countries and small-island developing states (SIDS) also see promise in ocean-based growth6,7. Indeed, SIDS were among the first to advocate for attention to the blue economy, which, in their vision, features social equity and environmental sustainability as core tenets7,8 (Fig. 1). We are concerned that the push for economic growth through ocean development is sidelining these tenets in policy and practice. Unbridled ocean development risks producing substantial harms for both the marine environment and human wellbeing." (Bennett et al., 2019). 

To continue reading this paper, click here

To read a summary of this paper's recommendations for the 'blue economy,' click here.

About the Author: Dr. Nathan Bennett (web: is currently a Research Associate at the University of British Columbia (Canada) and with the FishMPABlue2 Project at the Université Côte d’Azur (France). In addition, Dr. Bennett is affiliated with the Center for Ocean Solutions (Stanford), the OceanCanada Partnership, the Community Conservation Research Network, and the Too Big To Ignore Project and has consulted for various organizations such as the Canadian Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy (Mexico), and the UN FAO.

He is also an active member of the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and the Chair of the Oceans and People Specialist Group of the Commission on Ecological, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).


Nathan Bennett Headshot