Caribbean fishery and aquaculture financing needs in the blue economy: identifying opportunities and constraints in Barbados, Grenada, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines

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Abstract

The aim of this study is to identify the key policy, regulatory, economic, and capacity constraints, as well as opportunities for the financing needs of Blue Economy (BE) projects focused on fishery and aquaculture in Barbados, Grenada, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Coastal and marine environments provide multiple important contributions to the Blue Economy in Barbados, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The total contribution of the ecosystem services provided by mangroves, coral reefs and seagrass beds is estimated at around US$800 million annually for all three countries. The health of these important provisioning ecosystems is under threat. The natural capital in Grenada, Barbados, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines is being depleted, largely due to the anthropogenic drivers of overfishing, coastal development, pollution, introduction of invasive species, and the impacts of climate change. Despite these threats, at present the policies and agreements in place (at the national, regional and international level) operate in fragmented manners with insufficient overarching frameworks to involve financial support or investment to mitigate these threats. In this way, the full potential of the fisheries and their ability to contribute to the wider Blue Economy is not being realised in the target countries. To valorise the fishery sector and generate long-term sustainable financing options, prioritising the domestic market and intra-regional trade, and increasing the value addition of fish products to increase profitability is recommended. Further to this, by improving the condition of the ecosystems on which fisheries depend through sustainable financing strategies such as blue bonds or payments for ecosystem services, the capacity of fisheries can be increased by up to 60%. In this regard, better valuing of the ecosystems for their economic role to each nation should be a key focus of national priorities and investment. Lastly, the improved management of current marine protected areas (MPAs) and the networking of MPAs should be a more refined focus for fisheries management, rather than using MPAs solely for conservation purposes. In terms of investing into the expansion of the aquaculture and mariculture sectors, three focus areas are discussed. The first area is the scaling up of aquaculture and mariculture which offers the potential to optimise the benefits received from the development of the marine environment, create sustainable quality employment, and offer high-value commodities for export and the domestic market. Dedicated blue financing funds are needed to drive technological advancements to facilitate development and exploitation of the currently immature aquaculture sector. The second focus is integrating aquaponics into Blue Economy development strategies alongside fisheries and aquaculture to provide a pathway to realise the sustainable intensification of fisheries, aquaculture, food and agriculture. Lastly, to achieve scalable growth of aquaculture, investing in avenues that enhance existing relationships with other sectors, as well as encouraging new ones, should be explored. In this way, alternative and emerging industries related to aquaculture provide a wealth of opportunities. An essential factor in the development of these industries is to effectively integrate them amidst the Blue Economy, and having a well established understanding of how to implement it.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sustainability Research
Early online date6 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 6 Apr 2023

Keywords

  • blue economy
  • fisheries
  • aquaculture
  • blue financing
  • sustainable fisheries
  • value addition

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