Priorities for sustaining ocean economy

Underwater view of shallow water looking upwards to surfaceASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes professor of practice and senior director of the blue production program for Conservation International’s Center for Oceans, Jack Kittinger, and ASU-CI former postdoctoral research associate Elena Finkbeiner, co-authored a new Nature publication titled “Towards a sustainable and equitable blue economy.” Blue economy is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth. This concept has recently gained much attention due to the growing concern about the future state of the ocean as human exploitation and ocean-based industries continue to increase. "The global rush to develop the ‘blue economy’ risks harming both the marine environment and human wellbeing. Bold policies and actions are urgently needed," the authors explain. These concerns prompted scientists from around the world to formulate a publication encapsulating five key priorities to form a socially-equitable and environmentally-friendly blue economy. The list includes (1) prioritizing sustainability and equity; (2) effective regulations and comprehensive legislation; (3) guidelines distributed by national governments for equitable treatment and the share of wealth generated by the blue economy; (4) inclusive governance of the blue economy at all scales; and (5) investments in interdisciplinary ocean science for monitoring, international negotiations, policies and the blue-economy initiative. These guidelines can pave the way to a more sustainable ocean, directly increasing human wellbeing and prosperity.