Blue economy | WWF

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BLUE ECONOMY

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We want the natural riches of the Mediterranean Sea to remain the source of wellbeing and prosperity for future generations. A sustainable blue economy means ensuring development doesn’t come at the expense of marine and coastal environments, but maintains and enhances their long-term value.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

The sea has always been central to the economies of the Mediterranean. Tourism, fishing and other industries that depend on the Mediterranean Sea generate at least US$450 million a year and support millions of jobs. And this maritime economy is still growing fast.

It’s been called the “blue gold rush”: tourism, coastal development, shipping, aquaculture, oil and gas production, mining and offshore wind power are all set to increase dramatically in the Mediterranean Sea over the coming years.

If these activities aren’t properly regulated and responsibly managed, they could do untold damage to the natural assets that the economy and people’s livelihoods ultimately rest on.

That’s why WWF is leading the movement for a sustainable and inclusive blue economy where the health of the sea and the wealth of the people go hand in hand.

Did you know?

If the Mediterranean Sea itself was an economy, it would be the 5th largest in the region (after France, Italy, Spain and Turkey).

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WHAT WE’RE DOING

Creating a truly sustainable, inclusive blue economy requires joined-up thinking from governments across the Mediterranean. We’re engaging with policy-makers at various levels to make that happen.

Within the EU and regionally through the Barcelona Convention, we support ecosystem-based maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal zone management. These tools offer the opportunity to better coordinate different activities at sea and along the coast, ensuring they don’t damage marine and coastal ecosystems.

We’re also working with banks and other investors to put our Blue Economy Finance Principles into practice in the Mediterranean. And we’re working with business champions in various sectors to demonstrate sustainable business models and practices that can be replicated.

The Mediterranean Sea: a trillion economy at risk

Ocean–related activities in the Mediterranean Sea generate an annual economic value of US$450 billion, representing about 20% of the annual global GDP.

Urgent action is needed to transform the status quo of resource exploitation and managing dwindling resources to a sustainable approach which will increase economic security, improve livelihoods and preserve Mediterranean species and habitats for future generations. 

WWF's report "Reviving the Economy of the Mediterranean Sea: actions for a sustainable future" makes the case on the need to achieve a truly sustainable blue economy that will put us on the path to achieving the ambitions of the SDGs. The study presents strategic priorities requiring urgent action to avoid the collapse of the ecosystem and ensure a sustainable future for the Mediterranean Sea and the 150 million people depending on it.

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Our coasts and seas provide the foundation for future growth in the Mediterranean. Let’s look after them.

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