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Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics

Document Type

Research Article

Abstract

This paper presents the common approach on blue economy assessment adopted by selected countries in the East Asian Seas region, and results of initial assessment studies. There are many discourses on the definition and scope of blue economy as the ocean space is evolving, driven by innovations, shifting demands, and pressures from changing environment and climate. The ocean economy contributes to the GDP of the EAS countries in varying degrees: 3 % in RO Korea, 4.5 % in the Philippines, 9 % in China, and 13 % in Indonesia. In addition to the ocean economic activities, the ocean also generates ecosystem services that are not usually quantified, such as carbon sequestration, shoreline protection, waste recycling and storing, and ocean processes that influence climate and biodiversity, and affect sustainability of ocean activities. The losses resulting from unsustainable use of coastal and marine resources and environmental degradation also have to be examined since these are not usually captured in the gross domestic product (GDP). New activities have emerged over the years, such as marine biotechnologies, ocean energy, and construction of climate change resiliency infrastructure. These activities require new sub-sectors to be added into the ocean accounts. Assessment of economic performance should be based on both measures of annual growth, e.g., GDP, and measures of the natural capital, which can indicate whether the economic growth is sustainable over the long term. Estimating the value of ocean activities as well as the ecosystem services would help improve understanding of the role of the oceans in the blue economy. It also provides a mechanism to monitor the investment and net returns from ocean activities. Moreover, knowing the structure of the ocean economic sectors can be used to see how external events, such as storms, climate change and environmental changes may impact the blue economy development. However, data availability and accessibility, capacity, and getting policy and institutional support to develop and maintain ocean economy and environment accounts are challenges that need to be addressed.