Color-coded maps show where different regions score on different metrics.
Cisneros-Montemayor et al./Nature
The color-coded maps on the right show where different regions score on different metrics. High “Blue Economy” scores have been achieved in much of the U.S., Australia, Chile and Japan, but less so in Mexico, Africa and parts of Southeast Asia. The “enabling conditions” mapped in the center incorporate three factors: environmental sustainability, social equity and economic viability. The bottom panel maps the availability of marine resources.

The future of an equitable and sustainable global ocean, or “Blue Economy,” depends on more than natural or technological resources. A new study finds that socioeconomic and governance conditions such as national stability, corruption and human rights greatly affect different regions’ ability to achieve a Blue Economy — one that is socially equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically viable.

paper published March 17 in Nature by the University of Washington-based Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center suggests how different parts of the world might begin to achieve these goals.

“When ocean or coastal development is planned, decision-makers focus on available data to inform their decisions. The fact is, we have a lot more data about resources than about how development will actually impact the people who bear the risk and maintain the stewardship of the area,” said co-author Yoshitaka Ota, a UW research assistant professor of marine and environmental affairs.

Ota directs the Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center, launched in 2020 by The Nippon Foundation and UW EarthLab as a 10-year program to transform ocean governance so oceans benefit everyone equitably.

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