Scotland’s ambition for a world-leading ‘Blue Economy’ has been set out in a vision document.
The Blue Economy is sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, while preserving the health of marine and coastal ecosystem.
The document recognises that Scotland’s seas and waters have a key role to play in contributing to the nation’s future economic prosperity, especially in remote, rural and island communities – and that a healthy marine environment is essential to supporting this ambition.
The Vision identifies six outcomes acting as focal points to ensure the marine environment supports ecosystem health, improved livelihoods, economic prosperity, social inclusion and wellbeing.
The outcomes also recognise the ambition for Scotland to be a global leader in providing healthy, high-quality and sustainably harvested “blue foods”.
Publication of the Vision marks the start of the work to deliver a collaborative approach for marine related activity in Scotland. The next step is to develop the programmes and policies to deliver the six outcomes in a blue economy action plan.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Together, we can achieve an ambitious transformation of the value of Scotland’s seas as we move from blue economy theory into delivery, driving forward innovative solutions to deliver bold and ambitious change, helping to tackle the twin crises of nature and climate change, bringing real benefits to people and communities throughout Scotland and globally.
“Scotland’s seas and coasts support vital jobs across our economy, especially in coastal and island communities providing many goods and services as well as contributing to our overall wellbeing.
“There is potential for an ambitious and inclusive blue recovery for people and nature and the blue economy vision starts us on that journey.”
Scotland has 617,000 square kilometres of marine area – seven times greater than the size of the land – and 18,743 kilometres of coast line. The marine economy supports nearly 75,000 jobs – a sector that generated £5 billion in GVA in 2019.
The blue economy approach recognises that “our economies, livelihoods and well-being all depend on our most precious asset: Nature”, where nature provides a flow of benefits to people and the economy, called natural capital.
The paper sets out the Scottish Government’s long-term goal for the blue economy to 2045.
The blue economy approach requires a transition from ‘environment versus economic growth’ (the prevailing status quo in Scotland and globally) to ‘shared stewardship’ of natural capital that is facing common pressures.
The six outcomes:
Scotland’s marine ecosystems are healthy and functioning.
Scotland’s blue economy is resilient to climate change, contributing to climate mitigation and adaptation.
Established and emerging marine sectors are innovative, entrepreneurial, productive and internationally competitive.
Scotland is a global leader in healthy, quality, sustainably harvested and farmed Blue Foods.
Thriving, resilient, regenerated, healthy communities have more equal access to the benefits that ocean resources provide.
Scotland is an ocean literate and aware nation.
The Blue Economy Vision can be found here: A Blue Economy Vision for Scotland - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)
The Regional Inshore Fisheries Groups (RIFGs) aim to improve the management of inshore fisheries in the 0-6 nautical mile zone of Scottish waters, and to give commercial inshore fishermen a strong voice in wider marine management developments.