3 September 2020 - Many countries such as Seychelles, have managed to overcome COVID-19 and declare themselves virus-free. Despite their successes against the virus, these nations, which hold more marine territory than land, must now battle another foe: economic lethargy. Although the global economy has slowed for the moment, these resilient nations are finding ways to combat the effects of COVID-19 by preparing for the future.
Revitalizing the “Blue Economy”
Every year, ocean-based “Blue Economies” bring anywhere from $3 to $6 trillion to more than three billion people worldwide. Unfortunately, this number will likely drop due to the outbreak of COVID-19 as the industries for tourism and fish exportation have been predicted to shrink by a third. This crisis has the potential to devastate the economies of “Big Ocean States” like Fiji and Seychelles, whose residents depend heavily on tourism, fishing and other ocean-related economic activities to sustain their livelihoods. Yet, in the face of economic uncertainty, these resilient countries have made efforts to “build back bluer” now that many have rid themselves of COVID-19.
Safeguarding Ocean Resources
In the case of Fiji’s “Blue Economy” strategy, “building back bluer” means developing mapping technology to scan more than 1,120 square kilometers of coral reefs so that the government can designate it as “legally protected.” With this legal designation, Fiji can protect the reefs from human contact, which would decrease fishing and allow the reefs to grow naturally. Without fishing, many of the reef’s fish stocks would naturally replenish themselves. With any luck, the protected areas would return to a healthy state.
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