The Blue Economy describes the sustainable use and conservation of aquatic resources in both marine and freshwater environments. This includes oceans and seas, coastlines and banks, lakes, rivers and groundwater.
It comprises activities that exploit aquatic resources (fisheries, mining, petroleum, biotechnologies, etc.) or use aquatic environments (maritime transport, coastal tourism, etc.), once they are done in an integrated, fair and circular manner. These activities help to improve the health of aquatic ecosystems by establishing protective and restorative measures.
Contributions of the Blue Economy vary by sector. For example, about 80% of the world’s international trade is transported by water, 50% of international tourists travel to coastal destinations, and around 30% of the world’s oil and gas production comes from offshore.
The Blue Economy concept includes recognition that the productivity of healthy freshwater and ocean ecosystems is a pathway for aquatic and maritime-based economies and can ensure that islands and other coastal countries, as well as land-locked States, benefit from their resources. It also requires an integrated, holistic and participatory approach that includes sustainable use and management of Blue Economy resources for societal progress in a diverse Africa.
The Blue Economy promotes the conservation of aquatic and marine ecosystems and sustainable use and management of associated resources and builds on principles of equity, low carbon development, resource efficiency, and social inclusion. The concept integrates the Blue Economy sectors through a socially inclusive process aimed at triggering structural transformation, promoting integrated development, and improved regional cooperation and coordination.
The EAC endeavors to ensure sustainable use of water resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of water ecosystems through economy coping with global water crisis; innovative development economy and development of marine economy.
Currently, the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO), an institution of the EAC based in Kisumu, Kenya, is implementing the E€OFISH programme in the EAC region in Lake Victoria. The overall objective of the E€OFISH programme is to enhance equitable economic growth by promoting sustainable fisheries in the East African-South African-Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO) region.
The specific objective of the project is “to support sustainable management and development of fisheries in order to contribute to poverty alleviation, food and nutrition security while addressing climate change resilience and enhancing marine biodiversity ”, thereby contributing to sustainable fisheries for the blue economy of the Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean regions.