1. Ministerial foreword
We are increasingly aware of the importance of the marine environment to the health of our planet. We recognise the beauty of our seas and the diversity of life that they support, as well as the potential of marine assets and resources to support the prosperity of people and communities.
Scotland’s seas and coasts are home to a diverse range of species. They support vital jobs across our economy, especially in coastal and island communities, and provide many goods and services as well as contributing to our overall wellbeing. They are an important part of our heritage, our present and our future. We need to nurture them to ensure that they can continue to play these roles in our lives now and in the years ahead. Scotland, like other nations around the world, is facing the twin crises of climate change and nature loss, while also living through the Covid-19 pandemic and working to address poverty and inequality. We are also managing the consequences of leaving the European Union. Scotland’s blue economy has the potential to make a significant contribution to how we respond to these challenges. Protecting and enhancing our marine assets is key.
To do this, we need to transform the way we use the marine environment and manage our ‘blue’ resources. We must respond with innovative new ideas and new ways of working together, if we are to truly maximise the benefits the sea can deliver to all of Scotland’s society, and live within sustainable limits. There is potential for an ambitious and inclusive blue recovery for people and nature, and the blue economy vision starts us on that journey.
Our seas can, and should, create and maintain economic prosperity for the nation, especially in our remote, coastal and island communities. Our seas contributes to our commitment to being a Good Food Nation, with seafood and fish from Scotland renowned globally for its quality. Ensuring it is harvested and farmed sustainably will position Scotland at the forefront of “Blue Food” opportunities.
A blue economy approach will also help us to realise our ambitions for a wellbeing economy in Scotland where the country’s successes are defined and measured beyond economic growth and Gross Domestic Product, and we emphasise the importance of addressing inequality. Human wellbeing is multidimensional and nature plays an important part in ensuring a high quality of life for our people.
This vision sets out the Scottish Government’s long-term ambition for Scotland’s blue economy to 2045. It promotes an approach that is consistent with Scotland’s National Performance Framework and our international obligations. It demonstrates how much we value our marine environment and its significance. This is captured in the six outcomes that we want to achieve.
We are fortunate in Scotland to benefit from a wealth of committed and passionate marine stakeholders and international partners who we will work with to help us achieve our ambition. This is just the start of the work to deliver a collaborative approach in Scotland. The next step is to develop the programmes and policies to deliver these outcomes through a blue economy action plan. I see the blue economy vision as the beginning of a conversation, to drive forward positive collaborations to deliver action.
Together, we can achieve an ambitious transformation of the value of Scotland’s seas as we move from blue economy theory into delivery, driving forward innovative solutions to deliver bold and ambitious change, helping to tackle the twin crises of nature and climate change and bringing real benefits to people and communities throughout Scotland and globally.
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