Our oceans are a crucial asset: a precious habitat to millions of species, the Blue Economy is "the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystems."
Society's growing need for ocean-derived food, materials, energy, and knowledge is fueling growth in next-generation maritime or "blue" technologies. Industries such as ocean observation, for example, are moving further offshore to take advantage of and capture data across the vast scale of the ocean.
ThePrinciples for a SustainableBlueEconomy aims to briefly outline the concept of the Blue Economy to ensure the economicdevelopment of the ocean contributes to true prosperity. The Blue Economy is determined to initiate appropriate programs for: the sustainable harnessing of oceanresources; research and development; developing relevant sectors of oceanography; stock assessment of marine resources; introducing marine aquaculture, deep sea/long line fishing and biotechnology; and human resource development; and mining among others.
The prioritypillars in the blue economy are
- Fisheries and Aquaculture
- Renewable Ocean Energy
- Seaports and Shipping
- Offshore Hydrocarbons and Seabed Minerals
- Marine Biotechnology, Research and Development
The Blue Economy as an ocean-based economic model calls for discussion of the role of a social license to operate. The article argues that social license, through the approval by local communities and stakeholders, affects a project's profitability relative to the Blue Economy.
The seabed currently provides 32% of the global supply of hydrocarbons with exploration expanding. Advancing technologies are opening new frontiers of marine resource development from bio-prospecting to the mining of seabed mineral resources. The sea also offers vast potential for renewable "blue energy" production from wind, wave, tidal, thermal and biomass sources.Human development activities, however, have seriously taxed the resilience of the marine and coastal resource base. The data indicates that 87% of global fish stocks are fully or overexploited. Increasing pollution and unsustainable coastal development further contribute to the loss of biodiversity, ecological function and the decline in provision of environmental services.
Blue Economy approach is founded upon the assessment and incorporation of the real value of the natural (blue) capital into all aspects of economic activity (conceptualisation, planning, infrastructure development, trade, travel, renewable resource exploitation, energy production/consumption). Efficiency and optimisation of resource use are paramount whilst respecting environmental and ecological parameters. This includes where sustainable the sourcing and usage of local raw materials and utilising where feasible "blue" low energy options to realise efficiencies and benefits as opposed to the business as usual "brown" scenario of high energy, low employment, and industrialised development models. The Blue Economy approach recognises and places renewed emphasis on the critical need for the international community to address effectively the sound management of resources in and beneath international waters by the further development and refinement of international law and ocean governance mechanisms. (Source-cbei.blog)
Mineral Exploitation Deep-sea mining is the process of retrieving mineral deposits from the deep sea
Fisheries: Sustainable fisheries can generate more revenue, more fish and help restore fish stocks.
Maritime Transport: Over 80% of international goods traded are transported by sea.
Tourism: Ocean and coastal tourism can bring jobs and economic growth.
Climate Change: Oceans are an important carbon sink (blue carbon) and help mitigate climate change.
Waste Management: Better waste management on land can help oceans recover.
Sustainable exploitation of Marine resources
Renewable Energy: Sustainable marine energy can play a vital role in social and economic development.
NEED FOR BLUE ECONOMY
- Oceans cover three-quarters of the Earth's surface, contain 97% of the Earth's water, and represent 99% of the living area on the planet.(Source- bluegrowth.org)
- Oceans protect biodiversity, keep the planet cool, and absorb about 30% of global CO2 emissions.
Source : United.com - At least 3-5% of global GDP is derived from oceans.
- Blue economy, through sustainable use of oceans, has great potential for boosting the economic growth by providing opportunities for income generation and jobs etc.
- It can support food security, and diversification to address new resources for energy, new drugs valuable chemicals, protein food, deep sea minerals, security etc.
BLUE ECONOMY-INDIAN INITIATIVES
India's blue economy is understood as a subset of the national economy comprising an entire ocean resources system and human-made economic infrastructure in marine, maritime, and onshore coastal zones within the country's legal jurisdiction. It aids the production of goods and services that have clear linkages with economic growth, environmental sustainability, and national security. The blue economy is a vast socio-economic opportunity for coastal nations like India to utilize ocean resources for societal benefit responsibly.
With a coastline of nearly 7.5 thousand kilometer, India has a unique maritime position. Nine of its 29 states are coastal, and the nation's geography includes 1,382 islands. There are nearly 205 ports, including 12 major ports (2021) that handle approximately 1,400 million tons of cargo each year. Moreover, India's Exclusive Economic Zone of over 2 million square kilometers has a bounty of living and non-living resources with significant recoverable resources such as crude oil and natural gas. Also, the coastal economy sustains over 4 million fisher folk and coastal communities. With these vast maritime interests, the blue economy occupies a vital potential position in India's economic growth. It could well be the next multiplier of GDP and well-being, provided sustainability and socio-economic welfare are kept centre-stage. Therefore, India's draft blue economy policy is envisaged as a crucial framework towards unlocking country's potential for economic growth and welfare.(Source-ec.asia.in)
It is becoming increasingly evident that the concept of Blue economy - straddling principles of marine-led economic growth, protection of marine environment, and enhanced maritime security in all national and regional manifestations - would have profound implications on regional foreign policy in the coming decades. Therefore, the concept holds particular relevance to the Indian Ocean since the region is defined by "maritime regionalism", in pursuit of similar geopolitical goals With nearly half the world's population projected to be residing in the Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) countries by 2050, the region is making a geopolitical shift from its identity as the 'Ocean of the South' to the 'Ocean of the Centre', and further to the 'Ocean of the Future' as its core position in terms of global trade, industry, labour, environment and security is likely to shape the 21st-century world, The IOR is of high economic, strategic and environmental significance. Half of the world's trade already traverses through this region. In addition, the Rim possesses a variety of natural resources, both marine and terrestrial, which are vital for the well-being of its inhabitants, trade and environmental stability. The scope for the development of such resources - including food, livelihoods, tourism, minerals resources, bio-prospecting, the mining of seabed resources and 'blue energy' - is being realized especially by coastal and island developing states who are at the forefront of Blue Economy advocacy.
In the Indian Ocean, fish production increased drastically from 861,000 tons in 1950 to 11.5 million tons in 2010. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report states that while other world oceans are nearing their fisheries limit, in certain areas, the Indian Ocean?s resources have the potential to sustain increased production. Polymetallic nodules and polymetallic massive sulphides are the two mineral resources of commercial interest to developers in the Indian Ocean. Typically found at four to five km in water depth, polymetallic nodules are golf-to-tennis ball-sized nodules containing nickel, cobalt, iron, and manganese that form over millions of years on the sediment of the seafloor. India had received exclusive rights for the exploration polymetallic nodules in 1987, in the Central Indian Ocean Basin. Since then, it has explored four million square miles and established two mine sites.A strong impetus on Research and Development, and Innovation in the areas of Ocean Energy, Marine Biology and Biotechnology must be provided for the nation to achieve significant market shares in these sectors. It is necessary for India to tap the enormous potential of the Ocean based Blue Economy, which will propel the nation into a higher growth trajectory. The development of Blue Economy can serve as a growth catalyst in realizing the vision to become a $10 trillion economy by 2032. Additionally, the Indian Ocean Region is of strategic importance to India?s economic growth as the most of the country?s oil, and gas is imported through the sea. Further, this dependency is expected to rise by 2025 exponentially.
Source: Times Of India (18 Feb,2020)
Deep Sea Mission
The Union Cabinet approved the Deep Ocean Mission, which among other things involves developing a submersible vehicle that will allow a crew to plunge 6,000 metres into the ocean and hunt the floor for precious metals. India would be among a handful of countries able to launch an underwater mission at such depths.
In the works since 2018, the mission is expected to cost ?4,077 crore over the next five years. The estimated cost for the first phase of three years (2021-2024) would be ?2,823.4 crore. The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) will be the nodal Ministry implementing this multi-institutional mission.
Sagarmala Mission The Sagarmala project, launched by the Ministry of Shipping, is the strategic initiative for port-led development through the extensive use of IT enabled services for modernisation of ports. It tackles the issue of underutilized ports by focussing on port modernization, efficient evacuation, and coastal economic development. The government has allocated over Rs. 3 lakh crore to fund 199 projects under the Sagarmala programme to be implemented in the next three years. Of these identified programmes, projects of more than Rs. 1 lakh crore are already under implementation .
OCEAN RESOURCES CONSERVATION
Threat to marine Habitats
1) Climate change. Climate change arguably presents the greatest threat to ocean health. Climate change poses a serious threat to life in our seas, including coral reefs and fisheries, with impacts on marine ecosystems, economies and societies, especially those most dependent upon natural resources. The risk posed by climate change can be reduced by limiting global warming to no more than 1.5oC.
2) Plastic pollution.The most visible and disturbing impacts of marine plastics are the ingestion, suffocation and entanglement of hundreds of marine species. Marine wildlife such as seabirds, whales, fishes and turtles, mistake plastic waste for prey, and most die of starvation as their stomachs are filled with plastic debris.
3) Carbon-dioxide-driven warming and acidificationThe acidity of sea surface water has increased by almost 30 per cent since the year 1900. ... Increased temperatures and acidification will amplify the impacts on biodiversity at large, overfishing, pollution and habitat destruction.
4) Shipping, As we know, tens and thousands of ships are responsible for more than 90 per cent of world trade. Apart from other pollutants such as oil and gas, the waste and garbage generated on board ships poses a significant threat to the marine ecosystem. Both solid and liquid waste in form of ballast water, grey water, food waste, dunnage and packing material, paper products and cleaning material and rags etc.
5) .Oil and gas pollution,Oil destroys the insulating ability of fur-bearing mammals, such as sea otters, and the water repellency of a bird's feathers, thus exposing these creatures to the harsh elements. Without the ability to repel water and insulate from the cold water, birds and mammals will die from hypothermia. Juvenile sea turtles can also become trapped in oil and mistake it for food. Dolphins and whales can inhale oil, which can affect lungs, immune function and reproduction. Many birds and animals also ingest oil when they try to clean themselves, which can poison them.
Ocean protection consists of protecting and preserving ecosystems in the ocean through planned management to avoid overexploitation of these resources. Marine protection is based on the study of marine plant and animal resources and ecosystem functions, and is driven by responding to obvious negative impacts on the environment (such as species loss, habitat degradation and changes on ecosystem functions ), with a focus on limiting man-made destruction of marine ecosystems, restoring damaged marine ecosystems, and protecting vulnerable species and ecosystems of marine life. Marine protection is a relatively new discipline developed in response to biological problems such as extinction and changes in marine habitats.
Marine conservation strategies and technologies tend to combine theoretical disciplines (such as population biology) with actual conservation strategies (such as the establishment of protected areas, marine protected areas (MPAs), or voluntary marine protected areas). The reasons for the establishment of these protected areas can be varied and aimed at limiting the impact of human activities. These protected areas operate in different ways, including seasonally closed and permanently closed areas, as well as multi-level zones that allow people to carry out different activities in different areas; including speed zones, restricted zones and multi-use zones.
Other technologies include the development of sustainable fisheries and artificial means to restore populations of endangered species.
Another approach of conservationists is to reduce human activities harmful to ecosystems or marine species through policies, fishing quotas and other technologies.
Blue economy, as a macro economy concept, involves every aspect of national and global governance, economic development, environmental protection and sustainability and international communication. Blue economy is an integration of sustainable development and green growth. It highlights an overall-planning and coordinated development between marine ecosystem and ocean and coastal zone economic system. Considering the above features, we define the blue economy as sustainable productive, service and all other related activities using and protecting coastal and marine resources. There are many challenges in doing this which involve all sectors in the economy from private/industrial to research and development to NGOs (Non profit and Civil society organisation)to government policy. The complexity mentioned above offers both opportunities and barriers. The following sections address this from the perspective of selective use cases and experience moving forward. These perspectives are integrated near the end of the paper with approaches toward the balance of growth and ecosystem sustainability.
Indian Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD) provides the Research and Consultancy and Other various Knowledge Support Services related to Blue Economy and Ocean Resources Conservation. We at IISD a Public Policy Think tank and a Scientific Research Institute have been working with Department Of Ocean Development, Antarctica Mission, CSIR Laboratories and many Other Research and Development (R&D) Programmes Of Government Of India on Blue Economy, including RIS, an autonomous Government Of India, Ministry Of External Affairs Institute and National Maritime University at Chennai.
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