Almost no facet of our world economy has been immune to the COVID-19 crisis not only as a health crisis in the short term but also as a devastating social, economic and political crisis. People think that most disruptions occur in health, airline, hotel and restaurants and sports industries but the long arm of COVID-19 has also reached out to sea, affecting our “blue economy.” This collection of formal and informal marine jobs, products and services has been valued at $2.5 trillion a year. If the ocean were a nation, it would rank as the 7th largest economy in the world. Maritime shipping has seen COVID-19-associated drops in activity of up to 30% in some regions. Lockdowns and reduced demand for seafood have seen fishing activity fall by as much as 80% in China and West Africa. Entire nations dependent on ocean and beach associated tourism have shut their borders. Globally, COVID-19’s impact on tourism may amount to a $7.4 billion loss and could put 75 million jobs at risk.
A portion of the COVID-19 boost bundles that are being intended to recoup land-based businesses and networks are additionally investigating approaches to jump advances into greener methods of activity. Be that as it may, little is being considered for bluer methods of activities. Similar chances anticipate us in our sea and on our coasts.
Here are some pathways for modifying a sea economy that is both more grounded and increasingly reasonable after COVID-19:
First, Bluer Blue Tourism Sea travel tourism industry before COVID-19 was straightforwardly esteemed at $390 billion all around and contributes significantly in the GDP of many countries. Millions of people rely on sea the travel and diminishing Shipping Emissions, tourism, and subsequently have a stake in sea wellbeing, can’t be surrendered during the pandemic. Recuperation funds can be utilized by employing individuals to reestablish coastal eco system like coral reefs and mangroves, given the huge rate of profitability that such ecosystems deliver to blue tourism.
Second is, Reducing Shipping Emissions Sea transporting is estimated to carry almost 90% of the planet’s load and contributes global emission of carbon and other pollutants. The International Maritime Organization has ordered that transportation outflows be diminished by half by 2050. A decrease shipping activity during COVID-19 gives an important chance to move towards this objective. Quiescent vessels can be fitted to expand fuel efficiency and reduced or zero emissions and such opportunities are more in Asia, where China, along with South Korea and Japan represents over 95% of the world’s shipbuilding by tonnage and any aid towards decarbonizing will accelerate the process.
Third is, Abstain from Squandering a Post-COVID-19 Fish Bounty unlike other investment living sea assets actually develop during downturns. During World War II, many fishing vessels force to stop fishing. This respite permitted fish populaces, for example, cod, to increment. Should any such picks up gather during COVID-19, we should fight the temptation to promptly over-reap them? Rather, we should utilize fisheries science to structure canny collect yield conventions that amplify the drawn out advantage of any possible COVID-19 gains.
Fourth is, Supporting Our Mariners who are the Delivery Truck Drivers of the Sea-Ships are arguably the world’s most challenging work environment in which to confront a pandemic. Vulnerable mariners, such as those in the shipping and fishing industry, are vital to the functioning of society. They are the grocery clerks and delivery drivers of the blue economy. Ramping back up these sectors will require that crews be provided with viral and antibody testing and that they be extended dignified, safe transit home after being at sea for one month or more. Crews should also be given access to secure communication channels linking them to home. In the fishing industry, enhanced communications would confer the added benefit of combating slavery at sea.
Fifth is Cultivating the Sea to Feed Billions Researchers gauge that around 845 million individuals overall are healthfully defenseless against any decrease in fish. COVID-19 could worsen these difficulties by means of disturbances to blue food exchange and work systems. We can maintain a strategic distance from a portion of this injury to food security frameworks by utilizing boost assets to reinforce brilliant aquaculture, or sea cultivating which can offer wholesome help to weak nearby populaces, while limiting ecological effect. Such speculations could be designed after naturally and healthfully mindful interests in horticulture.
Sixth is through Protecting Ocean Parks Only 7.4% of our ocean is currently protected. These ocean parks benefit marine biodiversity and help boost breeding fish populations that spillover to enhance regional fisheries, create jobs in tourism and potentially sequester more carbon. Some have suggested, however, that we must open up these ocean parks to industrial fishing because of COVID-19. This would be folly. These parks are long-term ocean investments that take decades to mature, but only days to erase. In addition to short-changing future fishers, dissolving ocean parks would be a blow to sustainable blue tourism and last but not the least, Digitalization of Our Oceansthrough Maritime Technology Parks is another approach to quick track the reviving of our blue economy is to coordinate boost contributing towards marine advancements that can help us all the more productively and adequately watch and comprehend our sea. For instance, fisheries spectator programs that help the business gather imperative information to upgrade get, implement laws and ensure jeopardized species have been suspended on account of COVID-19. New AI-fueled electronic checking frameworks can assume a job in keeping up these information pipelines. Horde different open doors exist from growing AI controlled translation of satellite information and upgraded drones that can diminish illicit fishing in districts where COVID-19 has decreased regular marine watches to associating reasonable fishers to nearby buyers by means of applications when eateries and markets are shut. Taking a look at the world around us, it is clear that technology is making boundless industrial and societal processes more efficient. From online booking tools to lock scheduling systems, today’s ports have a wide range of these technological tools at their fingertips with the goal to improve safety, accessibility and efficiency. For the maritime world in particular, key examples of technology are found in the fields of energy production and management, sensor technology and drones. And while nanotechnology and artificial intelligence (AI) are expected to make their mark on tomorrow’s world, advances in ICT are forging change in today’s market so, it is not the sole responsibility of state to work in this dimension but a public private partnership is needed to incorporate ICT and technology in maritime sector with a vision to jump start Pakistan’s Blue Economy that accrue economic, social and technological gains from the multitrillion dollar global and domestic maritime (Blue) economies.
With a vision to contribute for the national economy, Bahria University will take the lead by accepting the responsibility to establish Pakistan Maritime Science & Technology Park (PMSTP) in line with the Government decision to declare 2020 as “The Year of Blue Economy” and the vision of the Pro-Chancellor BU (CNS) which will be helpful in optimal exploitation of Pakistan’s Blue Economy’s industries, which are capable to contribute around $70-80 billion annually to national GDP and another hundreds of billions dollar by tapping Pakistan’s offshore hydrocarbon/mineral potential (assessed value 5-10 trillion dollars). PMSTP shall also act as a catalyst in ushering the growth of other vital (yet unquantified) industries (Ocean Renewable Energy (Thermal, Tidal, Wave, and Osmotic etc), Shipbuilding & Repair, Shipping, and Maritime Equipment etc) and accrue extensive economic dividends. Establishment of PMSTP has been recognized as a critical national requirement to harness Pakistan’s extensive Blue Economic potential by ensuring that ocean industries and businesses innovation eco-system is effectively and persistently driven by advances in sciences and technologies. PMSTP will also help in mapping/ exploitation of untapped maritime resources of Pakistan and will lead to attaining mastery on projected scientific and technological advances in the impending decades, which will be crucial contributors in expansion of knowledge based blue/ocean economy. PMSTP’s innovation eco-system and collaborative culture will allow creation and exchange of scientific knowledge for emerging industrial needs and provide Technological & Business solutions for maritime communities of Pakistan and abroad. COVID-19 has exposed just how profoundly linked our economies and well-being are to the ocean. These actions illustrate the need to inject more blue into COVID-19 discussions of “green recovery.” We cannot miss a chance in the times ahead to benefit both people and our ocean as we bring our sustainable blue economy back online.
Let’s not repeat the mistakes we made on Earth, time to work on Blues Clues.
[box type=”note” align=”” class=”” width=””]Special Thanks to Commodore Arshad (R) (Director PMSTP Bahria University)[/box]