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The blue economy has burst onto the global stage as the latest trend in ocean governance and management. Promoted as an agenda of sustainable ocean development, the blue economy promises to drive improved engagement with oceans across social, economic and environmental dimensions. Of particular allure is the agenda’s assertion that socioeconomic development can be decoupled from environmental degradation, enabling an expansion and intensification of ocean industries with supposedly minimal impact on marine ecosystems. The highly agreeable nature of this promise underpins the concept’s growing popularity among a diverse body of actors. As an idea, the blue economy appears to have captured the global limelight, with its promise drawing loyal followers at (nearly) every turn.
The translation of the blue economy from promise to practice, however, remains a far more shadowy affair. How the blue economy touches the ground, or indeed, if it does, poses a critical puzzle for researchers, practitioners and policymakers alike. At this DPA seminar, Pip Louey will present her Thesis Proposal Review (TPR) for her doctoral research project, “From Promise to Practice? The Blue Economy and Sustainable Ocean Development in the Pacific.” In its early stages, this project reflects on key questions including: Does the blue economy deliver on its promise of sustainable ocean development in practice? And if not, what legitimacy does it still hold as an agenda for contemporary ocean governance?