Seas and oceans are increasingly being understood to be drivers for the economy. Indian Ocean nations are demonstrating interest in devising strategies to create sustainable jobs and economic growth based on the sustainable use of the resources of the sea. Bangladesh hosted a major conference in Dhaka in September 2014, proposing a Bay of Bengal partnership for blue economy, and has worked to shape the blue economy discourse within the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation region. The EU’s “Integrated Maritime Policy" seeks to coordinate different policy areas to maximise a long term “blue growth” strategy. Blue economy is becoming part of the discourse of other Indian Ocean Rim nations. Alleviating poverty and enhancing social welfare is a core aspect of blue economy discourse in Indian Ocean island states.
At the Blue Economy Summit in January 2014, the Abu Dhabi declaration on Blue Economy emphasised the contribution of fisheries in providing food security and being a tool of sustainable development in island states. For its part, the Indian Ocean Rim Association held a conference on Enhancing Blue Economy for Sustainable Development in September 2015. In its Declaration of the Indian Ocean Rim Association on enhancing Blue Economy Cooperation for Sustainable Development in the Indian Ocean Region, IORA established Fisheries and Aquaculture as one of the priority sectors of the blue economy, which should be developed in an environmentally sound way for the socio-economic benefit of the population.
There is a plethora of matters that cannot be managed according to a sector or nation state-based approach, and will demand coordination between different actors. A coherent approach is needed. Furthermore, the blue economy paradigm must rest on a holistic, eco-systems approach. An eco-systems approach is a central theme in sustainability discourse. Sustainable use of marine resources demands sound international governance structures, for example, in order to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. Sustainable use of marine resources, according to the guiding principles of IORA, must also be carried out in accordance with international laws, including UNCLOS and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Environmental data collection, surveillance, the establishment of environmental baselines, and improved marine knowledge are essential aspects of a well-coordinated, environmentally sound maritime resources strategy.
The other main theme of the IORA declaration is capacity-building and human security. IORA acknowledges that blue economy policy must integrate social, economic, and environmental, and explicitly recognises the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals for the blue economy, committing to the optimization of the benefits of the economic development of ocean resources for all of its peoples. Crucial to this, therefore, is the theme of food security. Capacity building, especially of women and small to medium enterprises, is seen as a key driver of sustained economic growth. At a nation-state level, there is much work to be done in terms of technology-transfer, the strengthening of networks, and the sharing of best practice and experience.
There is definitely a need to improve academic understanding of the environmental governance and human security issues related to fisheries and aquaculture in the Indian Ocean Region. This is the objective of this special edition of the Journal of the Indian Ocean. Contributions may address one of these themes; or propose a specific case study of fisheries or aquaculture management; or focus on a topic affecting a specific nation state; or adopt a regional approach.
Topics of relevance include (but are not limited to):
- Fisheries management
- Legal and governance regimes
- Capacity-building and empowerment
- Policy development and diplomatic initiatives
- Environmental issues
- Sustainable development and poverty alleviation
Submission instructions and deadlines
Full paper: 31 August 2017
Publication in hard copy: March 2018
Potential contributors can access the JIOR website here.
Authors are encouraged to submit abstracts and proposals to the Commissioning Editor of the journal
- Editor-in-Chief: Adela Alfonsi (firstname.lastname@example.org)