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The idea of the “blue economy” is compelling – and contested. On one hand, there is growing enthusiasm for using the oceans’ resources to grow economies and improve livelihoods while maintaining healthy marine ecosystems. On the other hand, the acceleration of ocean-based economic activity threatens to overwhelm increasingly vulnerable environments and communities. This is particularly important for small-scale fishing communities, which is likely the oceans’ largest source of livelihoods. One of this century’s most urgent challenges is to reinvent our relationship to the ocean – combining the best science, policy, and innovation to create practical approaches to ocean stewardship. Hosted at Duke University in March 2022, the first-annual Blue Economy Summit will bring together diverse ocean stakeholders from industry, government, non-profits, and academia to identify the most promising opportunities to bring this vision to life.

The Blue Economy Summit will create a collaborative setting where students and professionals can critically reflect on current ocean trends and challenges, facilitate productive conversations, and enable effective ocean stewardship actions. The Summit invites leaders from across sectors and geographies who want to challenge the status quo and explore science-based insights on urgent ocean challenges and opportunities. Attendees will also have the opportunity to connect with young professionals from multiple disciplines at Duke and other leading universities. 

Shifting the narrative from extractive to equitable​

This year’s theme, “Shifting the narrative from extractive to equitable,” reflects an urgency to engage all stakeholders in discussions of the oceans’ future. This must also include those who have been historically marginalized, such as small-scale fishers, if global sustainability goals are to be achieved. This Blue Economy Summit will be organized around three themes:

This Blue Economy Summit will be organized around three themes: 

  1. Shifting to a Low-Carbon Ocean Future;
  2. Building Resilience in Coastal Regions in a Changing Climate;
  3. Ensuring Sustainable Livelihoods and Blue Justice.

In addition, the Oceans Innovations Showcase will highlight innovative “blue” technology to enhance ocean sustainability and provide opportunities for students to engage with entrepreneurs working in this area.

Whether through a speaking role, sponsorship, or engagement with fellow thought leaders, participants of the Oceans@Duke’s Blue Economy Summit will have the exciting opportunity to join a rapidly growing interdisciplinary ocean research and education network. Through this network, Oceans@Duke aims to shape dialogues about the coming decades of human activity in the oceans. 

Duke University's R/V Shearwater in Dry Tortugas National Park (DUML, 2022)
Small scale fishers in Kino Bay, Mexico (X. Basurto, 2018)
A fishing vessel nears European offshore wind turbines (WindEurope, 2022)
Container cargo ships sit off shore from the Long Beach/Los Angeles port complex in Long Beach, CA (J.Gritchen, 2021)
Small scale fishers in Kino Bay, Mexico (X. Basurto, 2018)
A Florida marsh coexists with various coastal development and infrastructure. Intact marshes and wetlands can enhance coastal resiliency. (NOAA, 2018)

We would appreciate your feedback

We want to hear from you! Please access the following links for our respective feedback forms and let us know how we did at the Inaugural Blue Economy Summit. 

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