Friday, June 28 • 08:30 - 10:00
Free Diving Session: What viable alternatives are there to the hegemonic blue economy agenda?

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This session aims to explore the use of regional and historical analysis to locate and examine socially and culturally-embedded economic relations with the sea from different parts of the world (ocean basins, regions, countries). The aim is to inform the development of alternative visions or models of governance that are able to challenge the blue economy discourse that increasingly aligns the world’s business leaders, conservation organizations, major philanthropists and the marine (natural) science community behind a set of reforms that is set to transform humanity’s relationship with the sea.
Although there are multiple and ill-defined conceptions of ‘blue growth’ and the ‘blue economy’, the clearest and most powerful global discourse stems from three related premises:

i) Opportunities to generate new capital from the land are slowing; the sea represents a frontier to galvanize the next major phase of capitalist growth

ii) Private investment in emergent areas of the ocean economy is limited by weak rights regimes. In order to make substantial capital investments in the ocean; private capital investors will require much stronger bundles of property rights, and are pressurizing states to grant them

iii) Marine spatial planning is a a necessary prerequisite to the delineation of ocean space in ways that can support the allocation of property rights to blue economy investors.

While there is a lot of attention in this blue economy discourse to the need to balance economic growth with environmental conservation – and indeed some blue economy definitions explicitly link growth to maintaining and building ocean ‘ecosystem services’ – equity dimensions are neglected, with the risk that existing ocean users – notably small-scale fishers – will be excluded. The model also risks being a ‘blueprint’ that overrides existing historically, culturally and geographically-constructed relationships with the sea. We want to surface these relationships and evaluate their potential against that of the acultural, ahistorical and depoliticized ‘blue economy’.

The discussions in this session will help us to formulate arguments that will be included in a ‘blue paper’ commissioned by the High Level Panel of Experts on the Future Ocean Economy – an initiative of 14 states, led by the Governments of Norway and Palau. (www.oceanpartnership.org). The paper’s recommendations will be presented in plenary at the 2020 UN World Ocean Summit in Lisbon.
Your assistance will be acknowledged in the paper. Join us for an opportunity to have a direct influence on future ocean policy. We are looking for representation from all over the world!

Eddie Allison


Eddie Allison

Professor, University of Washington
Fish and human nutrition, blue economy controversies, climate change, maritime and coastal livelihoods

Friday June 28, 2019 08:30 - 10:00
REC A1.07 Roeters Eiland Complex, University of Amsterdam