It made the call in a research paper published on its website on Thursday.
The Commonwealth Secretariat recommends countries embrace new marine-based sectors such as aquaculture, biotechnology and ocean-based renewable energy, while urging governments to improve the way they operate to ensure the survival of global fishing, maritime transport and coastal tourism.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “As the world begins to face up to climate change and the vulnerability of small and developing countries to natural disasters and financial crises, it is critical that we recognise the lifeline offered by the oceans, which are a source of food security and economic prosperity.”
Patricia also said: “Challenges such as global warming, over-fishing and environmental mismanagement threaten a resource which, if managed sustainably, could be a source of immense opportunity. With this new research series, we are advancing the fundamental and practical changes in policy that we believe any government with maritime territory should pursue.”
Recommendations from the new five-volume Commonwealth Blue Economy Series include: Establishing a marine renewable roadmap for offshore wind and tidal and wave energy in a way that builds indigenous skills and capitalises on local knowledge, supporting the biotechnology sector with the sustainable harvesting of algae and marine microbes for pharmaceuticals and other industries, improving the health of fisheries to avoid over-exploitation, habitat damage, waste and pollution through a blue economy fisheries strategy, supporting the aquaculture industry, including crustaceans and aquatic plants, by developing domestic markets as well as niche eco-labelled products.
The Commonwealth Secretariat is a pioneer of the “blue economy” concept which, derived from the so-called green economy, advocates for the sustainable exploitation of the natural capital emanating from the world’s oceans, seas and coastal areas.