Blue growth and blue justice: Ten risks and solutions for the ocean economy

Nathan James Bennett, Jessica Blythe, Carole White, Cecilia Campero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The oceans are increasingly viewed as a new frontier for economic development. Yet, as companies and governments race to capitalize on marine resources, substantial risks can arise for people and the environment. The dominant discourse that frames blue growth as beneficial for the economy, developing nations, and coastal communities risks downplaying the uneven distribution of benefits and potential harms. Civil society organizations and academics alike have been sounding the alarm about the social justice implications of rapid and unchecked ocean development. Here, we review existing literature to highlight ten social injustices that might be produced by blue growth: 1) dispossession, displacement and ocean grabbing; 2) environmental justice concerns from pollution and waste; 3) environmental degradation and reduction of ecosystem services; 4) livelihood impacts for small-scale fishers; 5) lost access to marine resources needed for food security and well-being; 6) inequitable distribution of economic benefits; 7) social and cultural impacts; 8) marginalization of women; 9) human and Indigenous rights abuses; and, 10) exclusion from governance. Through this critical review, we aim to stimulate a rigorous dialogue on future pathways to achieve a more just and inclusive ocean economy. We contend that a commitment to ‘blue justice’ must be central to the blue growth agenda, which requires greater attention to addressing the 10 risks that we have highlighted, and propose practical actions to incorporate recognitional, procedural, and distributional justice into the future ocean economy. However, achieving a truly just ocean economy may require a complete transformation of the blue growth paradigm.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104387
JournalMarine Policy
Volume125
Early online date6 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

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