Key coastal industries stand to benefit from improved management of coastal and marine assets, according to a new report by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) think tank.
The report suggests coastal regions have significant untapped economic potential and argues a nationwide action plan, dubbed the Blue New Deal Initiative, would help to revitalise coastal towns through the delivery of new jobs and investment, much of which would be focused on low carbon and environmental industries.
Both renewable energy providers and fishing businesses have huge potential to boost coastal economies, the report argues, citing proposed developments such as the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon
, which may provide up to £76m each year to the regional economy.
Fernanda Balata, project lead for coastal and marine environment at the NEF, said that “as an island nation, the UK has access to a considerable wealth of natural resources” that it is failing to tap.
“Our failure to properly manage [these reources has led to] a story of unfulfilled potential – fewer jobs, lower revenues, unnecessary public costs, and unsustainable economies,” she added. “We want to deliver more and better jobs for coastal communities and the marine environment plays a key role to help achieve that.”
The NEF’s report claims that 4,922 new jobs could be created simply through better management of UK fish stocks, stating the introduction of social and environmental goals could boost coastal communities, where the number of jobs in the fishing industry is a third of what it was in the 1940s.
The think tank also argues a nationwide plan to respond to coastal challenges, such as high unemployment, overfishing, climate change, and water pollution, will provide significant economic benefits while enhancing the wellbeing of seaside communities.
The NEF now plans to work with local industries, councils, and the government over the next year to deliver its plan. “Over the next year, we will work with actors across the UK to identify solutions and practical measures to improve the health of our marine and coastal ecosystems to address these challenges,” Balata said.