Regional State of Ocean and Coasts 2021: The East Asian Seas Region (VOLUME 1)


Thursday, December 02, 2021




Only Available Online


The ocean covers 70% of the surface of our blue planet and constitutes >95% of the biosphere. Life originated in the ocean, and it continues to support all life today by generating oxygen, absorbing carbon dioxide, recycling nutrients, regulating global climate and temperature, and providing food, energy, water, and other resources.

The ocean wealth of the EAS region.

Ocean in the national income accounts. The ocean economy in the EAS region is around US$1.5 trillion in value added in 2015.

Employment in the ocean economy. There are 61 million people directly employed in the ocean economy, however, more are dependent on the ocean for their livelihoods as small-scale, household, and informal activities are not included in the current accounts.

Blue capital and coastal and marine ecosystem services. The EAS region is home to a third of the world’s mangrove forests, seagrass beds, and coral reefs. These coastal and marine ecosystems, together with the tidal flats and salt marshes, are estimated to be worth around US$2 trillion. The blue carbon value is estimated to be US$68 billion for mangroves and US$40 billion for seagrass.

But our ocean is under stress… from climate change, pollution, habitat and biodiversity loss, overfishing and destructive fishing, and other unsustainable human activities. Bold and innovative actions are needed to protect ocean health, build more sustainable and resilient economies, reduce poverty, and help the most vulnerable.

Why blue economy?

The ocean has a major role to play in humanity’s future. As the EAS Region is gearing up to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Blue Economy offers a development strategy anchored on sustainable and inclusive prosperity, low-carbon growth, and protection of ocean ecosystems to ensure food security, jobs and livelihoods, resiliency, recreation, and wellbeing. The blue economy can help the region by:

  • Creating nature-based jobs, such as aquaculture, ecotourism, restoration of coastal habitats, and managing protected areas
  • Offering new economic opportunities and jobs to reduce poverty through the sustainable development of key oceanic sectors, such as fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, ports, shipping, shipbuilding, and marine renewable energy, and their value-chains, and supporting new industries like marine biotechnology
  • Helping the region to mitigate and adapt to climate change through blue carbon, offshore wind and ocean energy, decarbonization, and new technologies
  • Fostering nature-based infrastructure, such as mangroves, to provide protection from coastal erosion, flooding, storm surge, tsunami, and other natural disasters (as well as other ecosystem services)Improving fisheries by addressing the underlying causes of overfishing and IUU fishing, and addressing aquaculture sustainability, quality, and safety
  • Mitigating the threats to human and ocean health due to marine pollution, including nutrients and marine and land-based plastics, through establishment of more wastewater treatment facilities with reuse applications, integrated solid waste management systems, and reuse of plastics and other recyclables
  • Advocating the inclusion of women, small-scale fishers, informal workers (such as those in the aquaculture, ports, shipping, tourism, trade and logistics industries)Advancing connectivity and trade through ports, shipping, submarine communications, and digitalization
  • Promoting science, innovation, and technologies to transform the ocean economic sectors to become sustainable, climate-smart, low-carbon, resilient, and more efficient and productive
  • Promoting sustainable ocean financing and new financing modalities to support climate action, biodiversity conservation, and blue economy development.
  • Informing policymakers and stakeholders about the value of the ocean, and the need for bold actions now for the benefit of the future generations


More information in the brochure. A Supplemental Report is also available.