Better waste and fishing practices could have a massive impact on the global economy, according to a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.
Green Economy in a Blue World also highlights how better management practices can lead to decreased pollution, job creation and reduced poverty.
The main findings are as follows:
Fisheries and aquaculture:
• The global fishing stock is overexploited creating an insecure food source and worsening world poverty. If fishermen were to reduce fishing stock to an equilibrium where supply= demand, this would restore fishing stock by US$50 billion each year.
• Non-destructive fishing techniques would create larger, longer-living fish that will be less vulnerable to depletion.
• Aquaculture is the fastest growing food-production sector and has an optimistic outlook for further growth.
• Shipping is considered the safest, most efficient and environmentally friendly means of bulk transportation.
• Environmental practices are around the regulations regarding CO2 emissions under the MARPOL Convention 2011.
• Shipping creates wealth and jobs and provides an affordable means to transport exports and imports. Shipping helps to moderate the price of exported goods, reducing inflation and the affect this has on household incomes.
• However, the challenge for the industry is continuing the practices in place and implementing further practices to reduce pollution. New practices would include those governing the use of alternative fuel and ensuring this is both safe and environmentally sound.
Maritime-based renewable energy:
• There is a high potential for renewable energy to be created from wind, waves and tidal range leading to reduced carbon emissions. However, little of this energy is currently utilised by the industry. More R&D investment is needed to build the technology.
• This would lead to job creation through the higher labour intensity required. The lack of skilled labour is one of the main barriers to the use of renewable energy.
• To overcome technical and cost barriers, there’ll need to be long-term, consistent and targeted financial support from the government.
• Industrially produced fertilisers are essential to global food security, and have been the driving force behind improved agricultural food yields over the last 60 years.
• However, excess nutrients from inefficient use in farming and untreated sewage has made its way into rivers, aquifers and oceans.
• New policies around nutrient removal from wastewater, enhanced regulation of manure and taxes on fertiliser and wastewater emissions need to be put in place.
• Globally, coastal tourism is one of the main sources of income for the developed world and is continuing to grow.
• However, the sustainability of global tourism is at risk from reduced energy-intensive activities increasing CO2 emissions.
• Other factors threatening its sustainability include waste, loss of socio-cultural identity and water pollution.
• There has not been any profit generated so far. However, they could provide income from foreign investment, increase export earnings and government revenue.