Blue economy : ocean connectivity requires a multi-sectoral approach | WWF

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Blue economy : ocean connectivity requires a multi-sectoral approach

The oil spill caused by the grounding of the Panamanian-flagged ship M.V. Wakashio on a coral reef near the Blue Bay Marine Park on July 25, which spilled more than 1,000 tons of fuel oil in a tourist and ecologically very sensitive area, reminds us that Madagascar is not safe from such risks.

With no less than 5,000 boats carrying 30% of the world's oil production crossing the area every year, the Mozambique Channel is a busy maritime highway. With the discovery of large hydrocarbon deposits off the coasts of Mozambique and Tanzania and the expansion or development of seaports in the region (Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and even Madagascar) as part of the development of the Silk Road, this traffic will increase.  It should be noted that due to the nature of the great sea currents circulating in this channel, a disaster of the kind that happened in Mauritius at one point in the channel will most likely affect more or less all countries in the vicinity.
Yet it is an economically vital area: a study conducted by WWF in 2018 showed that tourism and fishing contribute respectively 70% and 10% of the 20 billion dollars generated annually by this area. We speak here of "blue" economy because it is an economy based on economic activities related to the ocean. It encompasses not only fishing (subsistence and industrial fisheries, aquaculture, mariculture) and tourism as mentioned, but also other services such as coastal protection, research & development, carbon sequestration, cruise ships and education. It should be noted, however, that the extractive industry, an important element of the Blue economy, is not yet accounted for in the gross marine product mentioned above.
The ocean is characterized by its great connectivity. This implies that all activities that take place there will have to take into account others even hundreds of kilometers away.  The resources found there, such as tuna for example, can migrate great distances across borders: in one year, the tunas go around between the Comorian Islands, Somalia, the Maldives, northern Madagascar and back to the Comoros. This means that overexploitation in one part of this circuit will affect catches in the others.   Hence the need for the countries in this area to agree on coherent management systems for ocean exploitation with effective monitoring mechanisms.  This situation is also valid at the level of each country, within the limits of their territorial waters. The diversity of economic activities related to the sea, combined with its connectivity, means that intersectoral and multi-actor collaboration should be the norm when promoting the blue economy and ensuring its sustainability. Indeed, it is clear that there is no sustainable economy if the marine ecosystems (mangroves, reefs, sea grasses) on which the daily lives of Madagascar's 85,000 traditional fishermen depend are destroyed. The process of marine spatial planning initiated by the Ministry of Land Management which has led to the development of maritime atlases in some regions including Atsimo Andrefana and Diana is a a good basis for achieving better multi-sectoral ocean management and for ensuring that the benefits we derive from it last for future generations. The presence of directorates dedicated to the blue economy within the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries bodes well for the blue economy.  It is up to us to promote them.