The ‘Blue Economy’ is a term that has emerged in the past decade, in response to environmental, resource and social challenges in ocean and coastal use and management. Whilst a contested concept, most interpretations embrace the opportunities associated with the ocean, whilst recognizing, accounting for and addressing its threats. The Blue Economy is therefore an idea, which recognizes the multiple benefits of marine and coastal ecosystems for current and future generations and the need for sustainable use and development of these resources.
Key components of the blue economy are generally considered to include:
- ecosystem based management of fisheries,
- restoration and maintenance of blue carbon elements including mangroves,
- salt marshes and sea grass,
- sustainable sea transport,
- environmentally responsible aquaculture development and
- the production of ocean renewable energy from offshore wind, waves, currents and tides.
ANCORS staff and fellows have a wide range of professional expertise and research experience across all aspects of the blue economy. This includes exploration of integrated approaches to blue economy governance, and methods of ensuring socially equitable and inclusive blue economy development. Current research projects within ANCORS also encompass diverse aspects of the blue economy including sustainable development of fisheries in the Pacific, the viability of deep seabed mining in the Pacific and the restoration and maintenance of blue carbon elements in the Asia Pacific. In addition, ANCORS has an established reputation for high quality professional training courses and capacity building in all aspects of the blue economy.
A key Blue Economy initiative for the University of Wollongong is the keystone project, ‘Blue Futures’, led by ANCORS and funded by the Global Challenges program. This interdisciplinary program brings together more than 35 UOW researchers from all UOW faculties, including at least six ANCORS staff and students, and five external partners. ANCORS staff are involved in all aspects of the project, which is exploring how can develop a ‘blue future’ for the NSW South Coast in the wake of the impact of fires, floods and COVID19 on local economies. The innovative, collaborative and community based approach at the centre of the Blue Futures program will provide insights into how a sustainable and equitable Blue Economy might be developed in other parts of the Australia and the world.
Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council
NSW Department of Primary Industries
Illawarra Shoalhaven Joint Organisation
University of New South Wales
University of Technology, Sydney