Blue Growth has become an important idea for reforming ocean governance. The European Commission's blue growth strategy has been developed since 2011, and is being presented as an inspiration for EU support to Africa - to unlock the vast wealth potential from the seas. However, this vision remains unattractive for small-scale fishers, and is not aligned with the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small Scale Fisheries. A key reason is that the definition of the blue economy used by the EC has lost its transformative objective, being replaced by something that puts growth and profits to the forefront of decision-making.
This paper provides a critical assessment of the EU's blue growth strategy. It forms part of a joint project between CFFA, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Bread for the World and the Confederation of African Artisanal Fisheries Organisations that considers how the Voluntary Guidelines can be used to ensure fisheries policies respect and promote sustainable small-scale fisheries.