Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey. (FP)

More conversations to bring greater clarity to the blue economy are necessary if that sector is to see the level of investment needed to maximise its full potential.

Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, said while interest in the blue economy was growing, it was not manifested in investments being made.

He described the two per cent of Official Developmental Assistance designated to the ocean as a “drop in the bucket” and stressed that it was not enough.

Furthermore, the Minister stressed that a similar challenge was experienced with climate financing, where countries like Barbados were not seeing the funds needed for adaptation.

“We are not seeing the funds in the Caribbean that would help us to protect our reefs and our communities and the people who occupy them,” he stated.

Speaking during the opening of a webinar this morning entitled: The Science We Need For The Ocean We Want, Minister Humphrey stressed that the conversation was also needed to bring clarity for those in the private sector.

He explained that while there was a belief that the private sector was risk taking, while the public sector was risk averse, the opposite was being reflected in the blue economy.

“The private sector has been extremely risk averse and the public sector has been the one taking the risk [because] the private sector wants more certainty and more guarantees in this blue economy space.

“That is why I think this conversation is so important so that we can begin to offer some clarity, if not certainty to the private sector and to the insurers and the bankers and all those who have an interest in this blue economy space, but are looking for clarity.  I do hope we can offer that level of clarity if it is possible to be able to do so,” Mr. Humphrey stated.

He told those in attendance that clarity was needed in explaining what the balance would look like between the production from the ocean space and the preservation of that space.

In addition, he stated that people needed to understand that the way things were done before could no longer obtain, and some things which they held onto must now be released if the benefits of the blue economy space were to be maximised.

“I do hope we can have clarity in language so that the average person can begin to understand what we are doing here and why it is necessary for us to do that,” the Minister said.

Other presenters for the webinar were Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit, Dr. Leo Brewster; Head of the Office of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions, Dr. Cesar Toro; Professor Emeritus (Marine Affairs) at the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Robin Mahon, and Programme Officer with the Ecosystems Division of the United Nations Environment Programme, Christopher Corbin.

The webinar formed part of the activities to mark Blue Fest 2021, which is being celebrated under the theme: Telling Our Story.

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