Ocean ‘lifeline for economic growth’

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Guests at the UNDP BAG Grant project launch include Taholo Kami (brown shirt) in Suva, on Wed 08 Feb 2023. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

The ocean serves as a lifeline for economic growth in Fiji raking in an estimated $2.5 million annually into the economy.

Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Manoa Kamikamica highlighted this during the launch of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) funded Blue Accelerator Grant Scheme (BAGS ) at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on Wednesday.

He said it was necessary that people understood the importance of safeguarding the ocean.

Fijians have benefited from marine resources and its services, improving livelihoods and creating jobs, with an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) spreading more than 1.3 million square kilometres.

Therefore, Mr Kamikamica said the newly launched scheme provided the necessary assistance to the private sector, including micro and medium enterprises and cooperatives to sustainably unlock development potential in Fiji’s blue economy.

According to UNDP, blue economy is an approach put forward by the international community to take into account the health of the oceans and seas as they strive to balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environment.

Mr Kamikamica said Fijians have a close relationship with the ocean with more than 70 per cent of the nation’s population living within five kilometres from the coastline.

“In recent years the blue economy has become an important area of focus for many countries around the world to create new opportunities and generate sustainable growth from their ocean resources,” he said.

“Fiji has had an important role to play in bringing this to bear, and for this I want to acknowledge the previous government and their efforts,” Mr Kamikamica said.

“In Fiji, the blue economy has enormous potential for the development of various industries such as food security, shipping and fisheries just to name a few.”

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