Soundings Papers: Fiji’s ‘Blue Economy’ and the importance of maritime security

Soundings No. 23
Soundings No. 23

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Commander Timoci Natuva

The oceans cover two-thirds of the earth’s surface and have long been a source of livelihood and sustenance. They also provide minerals and food for life, they generate oxygen, absorb greenhouse gases, mitigate climate change, influence weather patterns and temperatures, and serve as highways for human transport and seaborne trade. Pacific Island nations have for centuries relied on the oceans for their main source of livelihood and economic progress. For Fiji, the oceans are a pillar of the nation’s prosperity by providing food and a driving economic success.

However, the oceans are under increasing threat from pollution and exploitation by criminal elements. Further pressure on the oceans comes from the threat of rising sea levels, ocean acidification, warmer temperatures and extreme weather events resulting from climate change. Coastal states and island nations have adopted the concept of the ‘blue economy’ to align conservation with economic development and sustainability. For Fiji, embracing the ‘blue economy’ is crucial to sustaining the oceans which contribute directly and indirectly to a third of the Nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).