ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, June 1, 2018 (CMC) – Caribbean countries are yet to fully leverage the blue economy as a driver of growth, despite the fact that the ocean plays a significant role in the lives of, at least 40 percent of the world’s population that lives in coastal areas, according to a new study, released by the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
It said that the blue economy is made up of economic activities that either take place directly in the ocean, or use outputs from the sea, for consumption or as a source of income.
The study, titled “The Blue Economy: A Caribbean Development Opportunity”, explores the potential of the ocean-based economy for the Caribbean, and also presents financing options that can allow policymakers to explore blue economy strategies, at a national and regional level.
It was presented at the 48th annual board of governor meeting of the CDB that ended here, yesterday.
“New and high-value blue economy growth industries, such as aquaculture, marine biotechnology, deep seabed mining, and ocean renewable energy, remain under-developed in our region,” said CDB President, Dr. William Warren Smith.
“Development of the blue economy should be accompanied by intelligent management and protection of coastal and marine resources,” he added.
The CDB’s Director of Economics, Dr. Justin Ram, said while a number of blue economy initiatives can be highlighted within the Caribbean, the scope and scale remain below the potential, mainly because the blue economy has not been formally recognised as an important economic driver.
“Leveraging a blue economy strategy will allow Caribbean countries to more effectively drive the triple bottom line of sustainable development: Growing the economy, protecting the environment, and advancing social well-being.”
The study was produced in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It identifies four key industries, which could be targeted for further growth under a blue economy strategy.
These are fisheries and aquaculture; coastal and marine tourism; marine renewable energy; and marine transport.
The study also notes that a blue economy strategy cannot be applied, uniformly, across all countries in the region, but can provide an opportunity to collaborate with regional peers to achieve greater efficiency and output.
According to the CDB, the study explores the enablers required for an effective blue economy growth strategy: regional policy for economic sharing; regional agency for ocean governance and management; efficient regulatory framework for doing business and supportive infrastructure; advocacy and participatory development; a regional knowledge hub for efficient information sharing; and potential innovative financing mechanisms for the development of the blue economy.