Time to reap from blue economy

BLUE economy is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem.

It is about all economic activities related to oceans, seas and coasts. It covers a wide range of interlinked established and emerging sectors. It is an emerging concept that encourages better stewardship of our ocean or ‘blue’ resources.

In Tanzania the concept has been received well and both governments; Union and Zanzibar have embarked on reaping from it, having planned to invest in the same – a process that has already started.

The blue economy in the country has received a mega boost, following the official launch of a master plan for technical assistance to develop the fisheries sector in Tanzania.

The robust plan that was launched yesterday by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa will be implemented in a period of 15 years from 2021/22. The launch of the much awaited plan stands as a clear testimony of the continued efforts by the government to improve contribution of the blue economy to national and individual level.

Blue economy also includes economic benefits that may not be marketed, such as carbon storage, coastal protection, cultural values and biodiversity. It is now a widely used term around the world with three related but distinct meanings- the overall contribution of the oceans to economies, the need to address the environmental and ecological sustainability of the oceans, and the ocean economy as a growth opportunity for both developed and developing countries

Speaking during the event, Mr Majaliwa said the government is taking all measures to ensure that the contribution of the fishing sector to the national economy hits 10 per cent by 2037, up from the current 1.8 per cent.

The master plan has a vital role to play in the fishing sector and growth of the blue economy. It is essentially the right time that the public rally behind this idea, support the government in its plan, so as to start reaping from it.

The government has clear determinations to ensure all people are benefiting from this valuable sector that brings potential at individual and national level. The launched programme is in line with the vision of the sixth phase government under President Samia Suluhu Hassan on the fishing sector.

We thank the government for being open to receive suggestions that will land the docket to the next level. Putting in place a number of strategies and plans will enable proper protection of marine resources for sustainable use as a result of creating employment and guarantee availability of nutritious food.

An important challenge of the blue economy is to understand and better manage many aspects of oceanic sustainability, ranging from sustainable fisheries to ecosystem health to preventing pollution. Secondly, the blue economy challenges us to realize that the sustainable management of ocean resources will require collaboration across borders and sectors through a variety of partnerships, and on a scale that has not been previously achieved.

This is a tall order, particularly for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) who face significant limitations. The United Nations (UN) notes that the blue economy will aid in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, of which one goal, 14, is ‘Life Below Water’.

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