The Blue Economy is defined by the World Bank as “the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.”

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

Our oceans, seas, lakes, rivers and other water resources hold great promise for contributing towards the success of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. Our water resources can help drive economic growth, social prosperity and environmental protection. While the world has not yet developed the full potential of these blue resources, unsustainable human activities are continuing to substantially threaten life under water and the resilience of aquatic ecosystems.


Inspired by the unique global opportunity to build greater prosperity for all while protecting our planet’s water resources for present and future generations, the first ever global Sustainable Blue Economy Conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2018 with Canada as the co-sponsor. Key objectives of the sustainable blue economy were identified as:

  • Creating economic growth that is inclusive and sustainable.
  • Ensuring healthy and productive waters.
  • Building safe and resilient communities.

Across our blue planet, there is a desire and urgency to chart a course for an economically vibrant, socially inclusive and environmentally resilient blue economy.


With our planet’s population of 7.6 billion people expected to grow to 9.8 billion by 2050, demand for goods and services will grow accordingly, and this will exert additional pressure on land-based resources which are slowly diminishing and over-exploited in many cases.


With collective determination and effort, the global community can intensify investments and harness the full potential of the oceans, seas, lakes and rivers to accelerate economic growth, create jobs, and fight poverty. Simultaneously, we can improve the health of our aquatic ecosystems which are under increasing threats and in decline in many regions across the globe. A sustainable blue economy is the solution for global economic growth and ocean ecosystem health.

Canada’s Position

With the world’s longest coastline and connected to three oceans, Canada is well positioned to be a global leader in the blue economy – an economy with sustainable ocean industries that provide good, middle-class jobs, while ensuring healthy oceans.


Industry Jobs GDP
Commercial Fisheries 26,000 $3.0 billion
Aquaculture 21,000 $2.1 billion
Seafood Processing 20,000 $1.2 billion
Shipbuilding 15,000 $1.5 billion
Marine Transport 25,000 $250 billion/yr International Trade
Offshore Oil & Gas 15,000 $4.9 billion
Coastal Tourism 33,000 $1.7 billion

In addition to the traditional ocean-based sectors, Canada’s blue economy also includes emerging industries driven by science and technology, such as renewable energy, seabed mining, and marine biotechnology. In his Speech from the Throne in 2020, Canada’s prime minister emphasized that “investing in the Blue Economy will help Canada prosper.”