How important is the ocean for you? Why do you think it’s important? Is it because you like seafood? Or do you need the ocean for a summer getaway? Whatever it is for you, some Indonesian need it for their livelihood. If the ocean is unhealthy, none of us will be fine. This is where blue economy comes as a solution to protect our ocean.
Do you really think blue economy is a solution to restore our ocean?
It’s been widely acknowledged that Indonesia has huge marine potential, with water covering about 62% of the nation’s vast territory. This potential has supported multitudes of industry: from fishery, tourism, transportation, conservation, and of course Indonesia’s economy in general. Managed properly, this potential could contribute approximately USD 1.338 billion or more than 20 trillion rupiah to the economy, according to the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Edhy Prabowo.
This potential provides a livelihood for Indonesians. However, there are parties who exploit it, motivated by greed and profit-orientation toward natural sources. It causes marine ecosystem degradation. Further on, marine degradation will also affect economic support resources.
Therefore, blue economy is here to maintain natural resources and support the economy. This is an idea of sustainable marine management. It aims to develop the economic sector without jeopardizing the environment.
In Indonesia, blue economy has a role to boost the economic value in marine tourism, transportation, fishery, and conservation. Sure, you must know about the beauty of Indonesian underwater. Everyone loves marine tourism. Inlining the concept of blue economy, marine tourism development applies a sustainable tourism strategy.
Transportation also paves the way for business. It is still needed for goods distribution and passenger transportation. This is the main link between Indonesian thousands of islands.
Moreover, sustainable fishery also supports blue economy development. Sustainable fishery strives for minimizing environmental damage from unregulated fishing. It prohibits the use of fishing dangerous gear such as trawlers, bombs, and drag nets. It also prohibits illegal and overfishing to preserve and maintain fish populations.
The more important thing is conservation. Most of us don’t think that this sector will bring huge economic profit. Mostly, we judge conservation as wasting money. In reality, it is important to increase fish stocks for consumption. Care for the ecosystem also fulfills the needs of medicines, food, and cosmetics. Investment in marine conservation research also opens opportunities to discover new marine potentials.
In utilizing marine potential for economic growth, we have to conduct strict supervision. We have to be wise in our consumption and production activity to prevent exploitation. Let’s feel “enough”. Environmental sustainability is also the goal of blue economy.
Indonesia’s government has 4 strategies for blue economy. First, is to repair marine and coastal management systems, as they regulate mangrove restoration, marine spatial planning, and fishing limits. Second, is providing waste management infrastructure and clean water supply. Those are important aspects to protect the ecosystem from damage. Moreover, it also guarantees the local community’s quality of life.
Third, it is important to fix the data collection system. Data is the basis for determining policies, potential development plans, and marine conservation strategies. Data must provide rigid and accurate information. Fourth, is to take advantage of the short-term economic recovery momentum after Covid-19. This is the right moment to start the implementation of blue economy.
The government cannot handle this alone. We should contribute according to our capacities. Starting from the community, academics, industry players, and policymakers, we all must be involved. Let’s collaborate to build and oversee the blue economy. Supervision is an important point to ensure this solution does not become a mere empty promise.