Some forty percent of the global population lives within 100 kilometers [60 miles] of the ocean. Many of these people, especially those who live in coastal communities, are dependent on the ocean for their livelihoods, particularly in the fishing, transportation, tourist and recreation industries.
Indeed, the ocean is a crucial engine of the global economy. But today it is in serious trouble, much of it due to human activities that degrade the ocean ecosystem. Pollution, over-fishing, climate change and loss of coastal habitats are all damaging the health of the ocean. And when the ocean is in trouble, so are the people who make their living from it.
The United States supports the sustainable blue economy, an emerging concept that encourages sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs, while at the same time preserving the health of ocean ecosystems for future generations.
“A blue economy is an economy that supports marine conservation, but also supports jobs, jobs that are derived from seafaring activities,” said Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Jose Fernandez.
“A blue economy is an economy that supports fishing, but also supports conservation activities, an economy that takes into account communities that benefit from fishing, but also understands that in order for us to continue those activities, we have to preserve the ocean.”
“One of the projects that I'm very excited about is our partnership with four countries in Latin America,” said Under Secretary Fernandez.
“We've entered into a partnership with Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador to help them … to preserve their seas … from Costa Rica, all the way to the Galapagos. That's 500,000 square kilometers. And we're going to help them … prevent illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, to look for ways to make sure that the marine environment is preserved for generations to come.”
“The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that the value of ocean-based industries could double by 2030, could be as much as $3 trillion going forward,” said Under Secretary Fernandez. “That will only happen [if] we're able to preserve the ocean and we're able to regulate fishing and to work with communities … and help them to understand that they can both exploit their marine resources, but also conserve them.”