In parallel with the Indian Ocean Blue Economy Day on July 17, 2021, IRD is participating in the Indian Ocean Blue Year 2021-2022 and is deploying a research program in favor of a responsible blue economy in Comoros, Kenya, Mozambique, Madagascar and Seychelles. The study focuses on the development of coastal and marine areas, sustainable fishing and aquaculture, and the restoration of coral reefs. At the end of 2022, a restitution book published by IRD will propose a regional strategy linked to the blue economy in these territories.
Indian Ocean Blue Economy Day 2021: developing activities related to the ocean while preserving it
As part of the Blue Year of the Indian Ocean 2021-2022, a “Blue Economy Day in the Indian Ocean” is being organised on Saturday 17 July 2021 by the countries of the south-west Indian Ocean, alongside France. On this occasion Comoros, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and the Seychelles are organising events, exhibitions and discussions on coastal and oceanic economic activities in the region.
The aim is to make people aware of the role and importance of the Blue Economy in their daily lives and to promote sustainable management of fisheries resources, while protecting biodiversity in marine and coastal areas. The events are being organised by the cooperation and cultural action departments of the French embassies in the relevant countries.
What is the Blue Economy?
The Blue Economy is the set of economic activities connected to oceans, seas and coasts that respect human rights and the environment. This model relies on traditional activities, such as sustainable fisheries management, sustainable aquaculture, green maritime transport, harnours, sustainable tourism, but also emerging fields such as renewable energies, marine ecosystem services, desalination, etc.
The preservation of the marine and coastal environment and the protection of human rights is intrinsic to the concept of Blue Economy. It reconciles economic profitability and protection of the marine and coastal environment to be sustainable and to benefit the greatest number of people.
What is the Blue Year of the Indian Ocean?
The countries of the south-west Indian Ocean all share the same ocean and all depend on its resources: regional cooperation in the Blue Economy is essential. The economic value of ocean activities in the Western Indian Ocean amounts to 20.8 billion dollars (2017 estimate). It is therefore a strategic priority for the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and its French presidency 2021-2022 to strengthen synergies in this area.
The Blue Year of the Indian Ocean is funded by the FSPI (Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects, Civil Societies, Francophonie and Human Development) of the French Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs. It is implemented by French embassies in close collaboration with their local partners and the IOC. The event promotes sustainable and responsible management of coastal and oceanic economic activities as well as the conservation of biodiversity and marine and coastal areas, through actions carried out throughout the year in Madagascar, the Seychelles, Mauritius, Comoros, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, South Africa and Reunion Island.
Some examples of local NGO projects supported by the project:
- Seychelles: reuse of abandoned fishing gears and recycling of household plastics
- Comoros: waste collection and beach cleaning
- Madagascar: training in business management for young fishermen
- Mozambique: participatory environmental observatory
- Tanzania: training teachers in biodiversity protection
IRD contributes to the Blue Year
IRD researchers, belonging to four research units (ENTROPIE, ESPACE-DEV, MARBEC and PALOC), are deploying a regional research program articulated around three themes: coastal & marine space management, sustainable fisheries & aquaculture, and coral reef restoration.
The first theme is based on participatory observatories: coastline and mangroves in Comoros, Kenya and Mozambique; small-scale fisheries in Madagascar and online atlas of the marine environment in the Seychelles.
The second is related to sustainable fisheries and aquaculture: marine protected area modeling studies and nutritional value of marine aquaculture species in South Africa. In the Seychelles, the study will focus on the development of seaweed aquaculture and the economic viability of the longline fishery for large pelagic fish.
An innovative approach for the development of coral nurseries in the Seychelles is the last theme of the programme.
Following these various studies, a book that will be published by the end of 2022 by IRD will render the knowledge produced and will propose a regional strategy related to the blue economy.
The private sector is also involved in the project with the creation of a group of French local and private companies working on innovative recommendations for a sustainable and inclusive Blue Economy.