Saturday, 7 November 2020

'Blue' growth: It's not just about the NGOs.


Here are the conclusions of the study published by the Transnational Institute in October 2018 and translated into French. An interesting reflection to consider in the debate on marine spatial planning and the development of wind farms.

"The millions of people who until now depend on the marine space for their lives and livelihoods - especially small-scale artisanal fishermen - have for the most part not been invited to the blue party."

The concept of Blue Growth is broad and ambiguous, the site of many visions and ideologies. This vagueness has made it possible to attract a motley coalition of actors, who can all project their own interpretations on these political programs. For some it is about conservation and renewable energies, while in practice offshore drilling remains intact. Wrapping blue growth with a layer of sustainability helps alleviate growing concerns about global warming, and becomes profitable through sustainable tourism and large-scale Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). This is the conservation formula.

For others, it is a transition to aquaculture, which transfers ocean space to other uses and avoids having to deal with the problem of declining fish stocks, and the growing need for food derived from peaches or other ingredients such as soybeans, rapeseed, sunflower and wheat. This is the protein formula.

Finally, maritime spatial planning at the national level concretely prioritizes the sectors that generate the greatest profit, in particular oil, gas, maritime transport and mining. This approach also offers more possibilities to take advantage of existing infrastructure and expertise in the development of alternative energies and aquaculture. This is the energy / extractive formula.

As understandable as the Blue growth agenda is, irreconcilable ecological and social contradictions remain. And environmental and social conflicts will be accentuated, as long as these contradictions remain. As with previous historic instances of enclosures and changes in regulatory regimes, heads of state appear to primarily see blue growth as a means of resolving conflicts between competing ocean industries. And this is happening against the backdrop of the coercive imperative to ensure that the components of growth rates are needed by all means.

Blue Growth thus manifests itself as a balancing act which consists in defining these attempts as 'sustainable' and in the interest of all. However, it is important to highlight that the millions of people who so far depend on the marine space for their lives and livelihoods - especially small-scale artisanal fishermen - have for the most part not been invited to participate. blue party. This poses very complicated political questions for the fishing movements and their allies. Some are trying to get an invitation to join the blue economy, believing that this is the safest way to secure their rights to their fishing grounds. Others on the contrary are more skeptical,

Coexisting with the ever greater development of ocean industries is not easy for fishermen: the spaces on which they depend for their livelihoods are quickly overrun with plans for new ports, tourist facilities, waterways. maritime transport, and new aquaculture operations. And if they can defend a particular area, the combined impact of construction, contamination and climate change means that it is less and less likely that that area will be full of fish. To survive, they have to go farther and farther out to sea, which increases their fuel costs as well as their exposure to the dangers of the ocean and possible conflicts with industrial fishing fleets. For many, the fishery is no longer viable.

In view of the already collapsing fishing stocks, the need for an approach to fishing with environmental and social sensitivity will increase. This is more obvious to small-scale artisanal fishermen than to others, but the terms of entry into the Blue Growth Festival make it impossible for fishermen to survive and meet such standards. This is where the terrible secret lies at the heart of blue growth: the appetite for the oil, gas, minerals, protein, and conservation that feed and shape this agenda is inherently unsustainable. The tripartite contract with conservation formulas,

The Blue Formula: 
Saturday November 7, 2020 Fisheries and Development Bulletin n ° 182, November 2020