Webinar Recording – Equity and Justice in the Ocean

If you missed my recent talk on “Equity and Justice in the Ocean” hosted by the Marine Social Science Network, you can watch a recording here.

The oceans are experiencing a rapid acceleration of both conservation and development activities. When poorly implemented or left unchecked, these activities can lead to environmental and social injustices for the coastal communities and populations who inhabit and rely on the ocean for livelihoods, food security, and cultural survival. In this talk, I examine the types of social injustices that are occurring in the ocean, discuss how social equity can be taken into account in efforts to promote ocean sustainability, and explore priority areas for future marine social science research on equity and justice in the oceans. My aim is to encourage greater engagement with equity and justice considerations in all ocean-focused organizations and in all decision-making processes related to ocean governance and management.

This talk will draw from and build on a number of recent papers related to these topics:
• Bennett, N. J. (2018). Navigating a just and inclusive path towards sustainable oceans. Marine Policy, 97, 139–146. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2018.06.001
• Bennett, N. J et al. (2019). Just Transformations to Sustainability. Sustainability, 11(14), 3881. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143881
• Bennett, N. J. et al. (2019). Towards a sustainable and equitable blue economy. Nature Sustainability. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-019-0404-1
• Bennett, N. J. et al. (2021). Advancing Social Equity in and Through Marine Conservation. Frontiers in Marine Science. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.711538
•Bennett, N. J. et al. (2021). Blue growth and blue justice: Ten risks and solutions for the ocean economy. Marine Policy, 125, 104387. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2020.104387

New Paper – Blue Growth and Blue Justice: Ten risks and solutions for the ocean economy

Rapid and unchecked economic development in the ocean can produce substantial risks for people and the environment. But, what harms or social injustices might be produced by the ocean economy? This is the question that we examine in our new paper “Blue growth and blue justice: Ten risks and solutions for the ocean economy” published today in Marine Policy. Through this critical analysis, our aim is to stimulate a rigorous dialogue on how to achieve a more just and inclusive ocean economy.

Abstract: The oceans are increasingly viewed as a new frontier for economic development. Yet, as companies and governments race to capitalize on marine resources, substantial risks can arise for people and the environment. The dominant discourse that frames blue growth as beneficial for the economy, developing nations, and coastal communities risks downplaying the uneven distribution of benefits and potential harms. Civil society organizations and academics alike have been sounding the alarm about the social justice implications of rapid and unchecked ocean development. Here, we review existing literature to highlight ten social injustices that might be produced by blue growth: 1) dispossession, displacement and ocean grabbing; 2) environmental justice concerns from pollution and waste; 3) environmental degradation and reduction of ecosystem services; 4) livelihood impacts for small-scale fishers; 5) lost access to marine resources needed for food security and well-being; 6) inequitable distribution of economic benefits; 7) social and cultural impacts; 8) marginalization of women; 9) human and Indigenous rights abuses; and, 10) exclusion from governance. Through this critical review, we aim to stimulate a rigorous dialogue on future pathways to achieve a more just and inclusive ocean economy. We contend that a commitment to ‘blue justice’ must be central to the blue growth agenda, which requires greater attention to addressing the 10 risks that we have highlighted, and propose practical actions to incorporate recognitional, procedural, and distributional justice into the future ocean economy. However, achieving a truly just ocean economy may require a complete transformation of the blue growth paradigm.

Reference: Bennett, N. J., Blythe, J., White, C. S., & Campero, C. (2021). Blue growth and blue justice: Ten risks and solutions for the ocean economy. Marine Policy, 125, 104387. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X20310381 

An open access pre-print of the paper is also available at this link: https://fisheries.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2020/06/Take2-2020-02-WP_Blue-Growth-and-Blue-Justice-IOF-Working-Paper.pdf

If you prefer to watch a video: https://youtu.be/Snhl355oJnA