Our projects

Just Transition

Supporting a transition towards equitable and sustainable fisheries.

The concept of “just transition” arose from the US trade union movements in the 1980s and has since gained significant traction in economic and policy circles. It was first intended as a programme of support for workers who lost their jobs due to environmental protection policies, but over time it has become associated with the effort to plan for and invest in a transition to environmentally and socially sustainable jobs, sectors and economies, while ensuring that the whole of society – communities, workers and social groups – is brought along in the process.

Blue Marine is working to protect and restore life in the ocean, with a mission to see at least 30 per cent of the world’s ocean under effective protection by 2030. Within the remaining 70 per cent of the oceans we are advocating for a just transition to low-impact activities to enable communities and livelihoods to thrive alongside restored seas.

Bottom towed fishing is one of the most destructive forms of fishing, using gear types such as dredges and trawls that directly impact the seafloor and degrade and destroy marine habitats and ecosystems. Blue Marine is campaigning to ban bottom trawling in all MPAs and advocating for transition to lower impact activities.

Transitioning away from destructive fishing practices has significant environmental benefits.  A just transition requires early engagement with the fishing and seafood supply chain and consideration of options to transition to other fishing activities or emerging sectors, while avoiding unintended consequences on other fisheries and sea users, or the environment.

To ensure that one problem (damage of seabed habitat from trawling within MPAs) is not exchanged for another (competition and conflict with low-impact small-scale fishing communities on inshore grounds), Blue Marine supports the principles of a just transition, while ensuring that a move to lower-impact practices does not have an unjust impact on existing small-scale fishing communities.

The practicalities of a ‘just transition’, such as who, where and how it is undertaken, are ill-defined, and to progress understanding and adoption of a just transition within UK fisheries Blue Marine will:

  • Develop and test a framework to assess transition scenarios and realistic options for transitioning away from bottom towed fishing in UK MPAs.
  • Assess UK fisheries policy including quota allocation, subsidies, Fisheries Management Plans against the principles of just transition to ensure equitable use of the publicly owned marine resource.

Our work in this area is relatively new and still developing, but in March 2024, Blue Marine presented an initial framework for assessing just transition scenarios at the World Fisheries Congress.

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