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Challenges of the Blue Economy: evidence and research trends

  • Martínez-Vázquez, Rosa María1
  • Milán-García, Juan1
  • de Pablo Valenciano, Jaime1
  • 1 University of Almería, Ctra. De Sacramento, s/n, Almería, 04120, Spain , Almería (Spain)
Published Article
Environmental Sciences Europe
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Publication Date
May 17, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s12302-021-00502-1
Springer Nature


BackgroundThe Blue Economy is a recent field of study that encompasses economic activities that depend on the sea, often associated with other economic sectors, including tourism, maritime transport, energy and fishing. Blue growth supports the sustainable growth of the maritime and marine sectors as the oceans and seas are engines of the global economy and have great potential for growth and innovation. This article undertakes a bibliometric analysis in the terms of Blue Economy (BE), Maritime Economy (MAE), Ocean Economy (OE), Marine Economy (ME), and Blue Growth (BG) to analyze the scientific production of this field of study. Analysis of the authors’ definitions of BE, BG, ME and OE provides interesting relationships divided into sustainability and governance; economics and ecosystem protection; industrial development and localization; and the growth of the ocean economy, with development as the central axis that encompasses them. The main contribution is to find out if there is a link between the BE and the CE through the keyword study.ResultsThe results show a significant increase in articles and citations over the last decade. The articles address the importance of different sectors of BE and the interest of governments in promoting it for the development of their national economies. Using bibliometric mapping tools (VOSviewer), it is possible to find possible links between concepts such as CE and BE through the BG and to visualize trending topics for future research. Nascent and future research trends include terms such as small-scale fisheries, aquatic species, biofuel, growth of the coastal BE, internationalization and blue degrowth (BD), the latter approaches aspects of BG from a critical perspective.ConclusionsIn conclusion, it highlights the need for alliances between the sectors that compose BG with the incorporation of the CE in order to achieve a sustainable BE in both developed and developing countries. Through the keyword analysis it is shown that the BG strategy is the bridge between the BE and the CE. The CE presents itself as a promising alternative that could mitigate tensions between stakeholders who support both growth and degrowth positions.

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