One turn. Two turns…a few head whips and then I realised. I need to turn around slowly. But there was so much and so little time to soak it in. There is no way that I could have prepared myself to be in this new environment. From the rock types (which I will talk about in another blog) to the architecture and the ways of living. Nothing bad but different! While tons of things stood out from my normal environment which are the Seychelles islands, something in particular peaked my interest. The abundance of business and the massive amount of development in the country. When I say the country…I mean Mauritius. The shops vary from small retails to the bigger malls. From fashion accessories to grocery.
Now…how does that have anything to do with the Blue Economy? It has a lot of things to do with the blue economy (but I’m not going to name all of it). While the blue economy is a new concept what we do not realize is that even though the concept as a whole has just been introduced to us we have been in the blue economy for a while, without any comprehension or title to define it. As individuals on islands it was instinct to fish or to harvest any known shells for our own consumption. Over the years we have also learned to harvest the fish and sell it to people that couldn’t take the time to go fishing, then the fisheries industry grew and it grew larger than expected. However, what the businesses need to realise now is that the blue economy has a two way street or an action-reaction concept. We can’t expect to harvest from the ocean but refuse to talk about conservation or only see conservation as a mythical subject.
In Mauritius it is quite clear that people are aware of the many treasures the ocean holds; from the fish sandwiches to the shiny shell necklaces. Some sole traders are also conscious that close to the beach there are a lot of people thus the ice cream trucks, the pineapple trucks nearby. Like previously mention but this is a part I really want to stress on, there are places in the blue economy for more businesses (for youth and the older generation alike) but the thing we need to also be aware about is that just for a business to be in the blue economy it doesn’t have to be in the ocean or close to the beach. We all go shopping. The question is…where does all of it come from? How does it get to the shops? Without the ocean would it be able to get in the shops? That’s why I believe conservation is a huge part of the blue economy as well as development. But do you?
Written by : Joshua Sofola