Blue Economy Strategy for Canada: A generational opportunity for transformative change | Ecology Action Centre

Blue Economy Strategy for Canada: A generational opportunity for transformative change

Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy offers an opportunity to transform our relationship with the ocean. We can design economic strategies that support prosperity, well-being, environmental health, and opportunity for everyone. We must design our future ocean economy to fit within planetary limits. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the fragility of the economic systems we have built. In our quest for ever increasing capital efficiency and profit, we have sacrificed principles of fairness, decentralization, diversity, and redundancy in many of our markets and supply chains. This strategy has enabled a handful of people to accumulate enormous wealth, often at the expense of communities hollowed out along the way. Our economies must now shift quickly to overcome great political, ecological, and social challenges caused by climate change, biodiversity loss, and vast wealth inequality. Tackling these issues will require a move towards adaptive systems, and space for a range of economic actors to test sustainable solutions. This means more inclusive systems of economic governance, a diversity of ideas, and a diversity of futures. 

The science of resilience and ecology show us that the healthiest ecosystems are those that are biodiverse and abundant, with redundancies at many levels. These ecosystems are better able to adapt and shift as conditions change. Like ecosystems, the strength of our economic system lies in diversity, interdependence, redundancy, and adaptability. We must ensure our use of resources is within natural limits, and dedicate ourselves to social and ecological regeneration. The following principles outline how a Blue Economy Strategy could positively contribute towards those objectives in coastal communities all across Canada. 



  1. Replenishing and protecting ocean abundance and biodiversity is the foundation for a healthy ocean economy  

  2. Require immediate, deep emissions reduction in all activities and the phase out of fossil fuels production and use in the blue economy  

  3. Centre communities, equity, justice, regenerative economic activities, and opportunities for marginalized people – do not prioritize the same powerful companies, people, and groups again and again  

  4. Recognize and protect Indigenous rights to sovereignty and self-governance  

  5. Policies and financial mechanisms need to foster and ensure equitable distribution and diffuse economic benefits based in communities  

  6. Maintain and prioritize access to marine resources for food security and well-being; 

  7. Cumulative impacts and risk of all uses and activities must be understood and approached with precautionary, ecosystem-based monitoring and management  

  8. Empower communities to lead inclusive, participatory planning and design governance processes that integrate all uses and development  

  9. Risk-based regulation and policy development should ensure activities with high ecological and climate impact and risk are more difficult to undertake, require higher monitoring, and receive less or no government financial support 


Read our full report and recommendations for Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy. 


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