Blue economy

Investigating opportunities for marine activities that create economic value and contribute positively to social, cultural and ecological well-being in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Led by Nick Lewis (University of Auckland)

Developing the economy is generally still seen as separate to, and often at odds with, social and environmental goals, but they are intrinsically linked. Healthy marine ecosystems require a marine economy that is committed to ecologically sustainable practices – and long-term economic use of marine resources depends on healthy marine ecosystems.

Our research has identified opportunities to help New Zealand transition to a blue economy by encouraging activities that are sustainable, resilient to climate change, minimise waste, and have positive impacts on society and culture. Our current research is focused on helping to grow these activities and develop a blue economy made up of activities that:

  • Arise from ecologically and socially responsible investment
  • Use ecologically and culturally appropriate technologies to create economic values from marine activities
  • Reduce ecological risks and harms
  • Respond to, and encourage, ecologically and culturally responsible consumer behaviour
  • Contribute directly to social, cultural and ecological well-being
We define a 'blue economy' as:

Marine activities that generate economic value and contribute positively to social, cultural and ecological well-being.

Below are our 4 core blue economy projects and the project co-leaders. More information will be made available here in early 2021:

  • Growing marine ecotourism – Simon Milne (AUT) & Chris Rosin (Lincoln University)
  • Blue seaweed economy – Serean Adams (Cawthron)
  • Restorative marine economies – Drew Lohrer (NIWA) & Nigel Bradley (EnviroStrat)
  • Indigenising the blue economy – John Reid (University of Canterbury) & Jason Mika (Massey University)


BE core project concepts