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Enabling conditions for an equitable and sustainable blue economy

Cite this dataset

Cisneros-Montemayor, Andrés M. et al. (2021). Enabling conditions for an equitable and sustainable blue economy [Dataset]. Dryad.


The future of the global ocean economy is currently envisioned as an advancement towards a ‘Blue Economy’—socially equitable, environmentally sustainable, and economically viable ocean industries. However, there are current tensions between development discourses from perspectives of natural capital versus social equity and environmental justice. Here we show there are stark differences in Blue Economy outlooks when social conditions and governance capacity beyond resource availability are considered, and highlight limits to establishing multiple overlapping industries. The key differences in regional capacities to achieve a Blue Economy are not due to available natural resources, but include factors such as national stability, corruption, and infrastructure, that can be improved through targeted investments and cross-scale cooperation. Knowledge gaps can be addressed by integrating historical natural and social science information on the drivers and outcomes of resource use and management, thus identifying equitable pathways to establishing or transforming ocean sectors. Policy-makers must engage researchers and stakeholders to promote evidence-based, collaborative planning that ensures that sectors are chosen carefully, local benefits are prioritized, and the Blue Economy delivers on its social, environmental, and economic goals. 


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Usage notes

These data are results of an analysis at the global and regional level for an academic paper, and should not be used for other geographic scales or purposes. Assumptions, indicators, data sources, and weighting of indicators must be specifically discussed and selected in context for results to be meaningful. Please contact the corresponding author ( if you have any questions.