University of MaltaInstitute for Tourism, Travel & Culture
The Blue Economy may be described as “the set of human activities depending on the sea and/or underpinned by land-sea interactions in the context of sustainable development, and notably including industrial and service sectors such as aquaculture, fisheries, blue biotechnologies, coastal and maritime tourism, shipping, ship-building/repair, ports, ocean energy and marine renewable energy, including offshore wind, which are among the main traditional and emerging economic maritime sectors in the Mediterranean Sea basin”.
Union for the Mediterranean (2015), Ministerial Conference on Blue Economy
UN Environment defines the Blue Economy as a “green economy in a blue world”, since “a global transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient Green Economy will not be possible unless the seas and oceans are a key part of these urgently needed transformations”.
Therefore, one may describe the goal of the Blue Economy as that to face the global, environmental, economic and social crises of the last decades, while looking at the ocean resources as development spaces that, used sustainably, may enable economic prosperity.
As you may see, this is quite an ambitious goal, full of tensions.
Another definition of the Blue Economy is provided by the World Bank, which in its “The Potential of the Blue Economy” report (2017) says: ” it is understood here as comprising the range of economic sectors and related policies that determine whether the use of oceanic resources is sustainable“.
Since even before Classical times and for many centuries, the Mediterranean Sea has played a key role in the economy of coastal communities and states. Today, arguably more than ever, those sectors associated with the Blue Economy are an important stimulus for any maritime region’s economy, with great potential for innovation and for sustainable and inclusive prosperity.
The economic opportunities provided by the Mediterranean are accompanied by an increasing need for a style and practice of management that is respectful of its ecosystems and is able to maintain and safeguard, as well as augment, their value over time.
The sustainable conversion of economic sectors, such as fisheries and coastal tourism, that have often and still adversely affect the health of ecosystems, on the one hand, as well as the development of new clean and technologically advanced activities, for instance through renewable energy, on the other, represent important opportunities for innovation and employment for the benefit of all Mediterranean countries.
Close collaboration between all these territories and their stakeholders, as well as neighbouring areas, is important for realising a common objective: the sustainable use and conservation of a major common resource, the Mediterranean Sea.