Academic journal article International Journal on World Peace

Rethinking the Oceans: Towards the Blue Economy

Academic journal article International Journal on World Peace

Rethinking the Oceans: Towards the Blue Economy

Article excerpt

RETHINKING THE OCEANS: TOWARDS THE BLUE ECONOMY James Alex Michel St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 2016 Cloth, 272 pages, color photos, $24.95

The United Nations held a high-level conference in New York 5-9 June 2017 devoted to Sustainable Development Goal N° 14, the protection and wise use of the Oceans and Seas. Prior to the Conference, James Alex Michel, long-time President of the multi-island Republic of Seychelles (2004-2016) had developed most of the themes in his important book Rethinking the Oceans.

President Michel highlights a double theme. The first is the necessary protection of the oceans from pollution: waste, oil pollution, plastics, and chemical run-off from fields treated with pesticides and heavy amounts of fertilizers. Although there are increasing legal regulations, waste, including scrap metal, chemicals, acids, and radioactive materials are being dumped into the sea. There is a need for a wholesale cleanup of past damage which will require a high level of political commitment, economic investment and the use of appropriate scientific knowledge. As President Michel notes "If the future of the oceans is to be safeguarded, stopping the flow of waste is now the main task in hand."

The second theme that he develops is what he calls the "Blue Economy," the wise use of the resources of the oceans for the good of all, but with a special emphasis on those who live directly from ocean resources. The world's demand for fish is increasing as population and income grow. Seafood is the fastest growing food commodity that is traded globally. Today, industrial fishing methods have overwhelmed the ecosystem of some species. Even with the application of regulations, such as those of the European Union, much of the oceans is beyond surveillance and illegal and bad practices have continued.

With fewer supplies, prices will rise and fishermen will use more advanced technology such as radar and drones. …

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