Blue economy

Published April 15, 2024

NATURE has provided a variety of resources to every country. It is up to those who are at the helm of national affairs to explore and extract benefits from these resources. Pakistan is a resource-rich nation. However, Pakistan has hardly explored its resources the way it needed to. The same is the matter with Pakistan’s blue economy, which refers to the sustainable use of oceans for economic growth. Luckily, Pakistan has immense potential in the field because of its location on the shores of the Arabian Sea, and is home to a coastline that stretches over 1,000km, with major ports in Karachi and Gwadar.

According to the United Nations, the value of blue economy ranges from $3 trillion to $6 trillion with 150 million direct jobs globally. Blue economy has the potential in the areas of tourism, trade, renewable energy and fish industry. According to the International Chamber of Shipping estimates, about 90 per cent of all global trade, worth $4 trillion, is carried through sea routes.

Maldives generates as much as 40pc of its employment from blue economy. All global metropolitans with seashores, such as Goa, New York, Sydney, Dubai, and Hong Kong, contribute much to the national exchequer. What is noteworthy is that Sri Lanka suffered from its worst economic crisis in history as its shores were closed for tourists owing to the Covid pandemic. There is no natural treasure more beneficial than the blue economy.

Given the current economic woes of our country, it is time for us to mainstream and capitalise our blue economy potential. Pakistan is among the world’s top 30 producers of fish. However, we export only 10pc of what we catch. There is only one ship-breaking yard in Gadani, which is in sharp contrast to 46 in India and 23 in Bangladesh.

Pakistan’s ocean spots are instrumental in generating wind and tidal energy to shift from non-renewable to renewable energy. Also, Pakistan should improve its beaches to attract marine-loving tourists. The scientific research for bio-medicines can also be done in seawater. To capitalise the maximum advantages from blue economy, this sector should be included in the agenda of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC).

Moula Bakhsh Tareen
Jhal Magsi

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2024

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