Slaying the Toothless Tiger: Social Equity as the Legal Element of the Blue Economy

The Journal of Environment & Development, published online 03.04.2024. DOI: 10.1177/10704965241238290

The ‘blue economy’ is slowly emerging as a catch-all concept that captures the goals of sustaining economic development opportunities while simultaneously maintaining ocean ecosystem health. However, identifying the scope and boundaries of the blue economy has proven to be a challenging task. The aim of this article is to provide a new approach to finding a practical definition of the blue economy. Social equity is noted as the legal component and balancing mechanism that operates between the economy and the environment. This legal compensation mechanism has so far only been rudimentarily elaborated on in governance texts and must be given concrete form through legal methods and, in particular, through the creation of an institutional and procedural framework. The article introduces the idea that an advanced legal concept for the blue economy can be realised by using existing administrative processes and by strengthening the participation of private actors within these processes.



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