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World - The ocean economy is booming: who is making money, who is paying the price?

In this week’s episode of The Conversation Weekly, we ask a question – who is trying to make money from our oceans and is it sustainable? Also, why Brazilian women who lived through Zika are avoiding getting pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this week’s episode of The Conversation Weekly, we ask a question – who is trying to make money from our oceans and is it sustainable? Also, why Brazilian women who lived through Zika are avoiding getting pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

From deep-sea mining, to fishing, to oil and gas exploration, the ocean economy is booming. This is one of the themes that’s emerged from a series The Conversation has been running over the past few months called Oceans 21, examining the history and future of the world’s oceans.

A key question here is what the economic exploitation of our oceans is doing to the ocean environment. It’s important to balance economic growth with preservation of ocean habitats. But researchers – and to some extent, governments – are increasingly focusing on a third consideration: the people who’ve depended on the ocean for generations. In this episode, we speak to three experts about the tension between economic growth, environmental protection and the people that rely on oceans – and what’s being done to make the exploitation of the oceans more sustainable.

Jean-Baptiste Jouffray, post-doctoral researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, Sweden, has come up with a new term to describe what’s been happening to the oceans over the past two decades: the blue acceleration. “Humanity has used the ocean for millennia as a source of food, as a means of transportation,” he says, but today’s use of the ocean is “unprecedented” for its diversity and intensity.

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