Earlier this year, I published the Blue Economy Vision for Scotland. The Vision set out, for the first time, a long-term, outcomes based approach for the management of our marine environment. It provides an overarching framing for Scotland's marine policies, plans and decisions.
Under the Vision for 2045, we defined six interconnected outcomes to achieve social, environmental and economic goals, in tandem, for our seas, coasts and inter-linked freshwater habitats.
Within our Vision, we recognise the importance of Scotland's seas and coasts, including through their many and varied contributions to our food security, sustaining biodiversity, regulating our climate, supporting economic prosperity, nourishing our wellbeing and underpinning our cultural heritage.
However, we also acknowledge that Scotland's seas, like other nations', face growing pressures from the twin crises of climate change and nature loss. Without halting and reversing this marine environmental decline, we risk our ability to harness economic and social benefits from our marine resources. The Vision also acknowledges that the ongoing consequences of leaving the European Union, the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the emerging cost crisis, have altered the operational landscape for businesses and wider society, and are impacting our marine sectors and coastal communities. The challenges we face, and our new operational landscape, have created a pressing need, as well as a window of opportunity, to transform the way that we use our marine environment through a Blue Economy approach.
We have already seen that our Vision has catalysed action across Scotland, and there are a growing number of local case studies where people and organisations are embracing Blue Economy thinking and driving forward change. The Scottish Government also has a large programme of work underway that will help us progress towards our six Blue Economy outcomes. Taking stock of this activity, and understanding how it aligns with our outcomes, is a vital first step in delivering our Vision. It is also important for us to understand the types of enabling interventions and tools that we have at our disposal to ensure progress.
This document provides an illustration of where Scotland's Blue Economy is now. It sets out the current status of our marine environment, economy and society, and how planned policies and actions will help to drive progress. The document serves as the foundation for a national dialogue with our stakeholders to help us identify new strategic priorities and opportunities.
All of Scotland's society, including the public sector, businesses and organisations, communities and private individuals will have a role to play in achieving our Vision. With a shared ambition and coherent strategies, I look forward to building collective ownership of our Blue Economy so that all of Scotland's citizens, visitors and future generations can benefit from our vibrant seas and rich marine environment.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands
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