The blue economy plays an integral part in society. Many people’s livelihoods come from the oceans. With the introduction of artificial intelligence, it can serve as a vital tool to help fulfill the mission this concept represents.
What Is the Blue Economy?
While the blue economy was first introduced in 2012, many still need to familiarize themselves with the term. The definition does differ depending on the organization that uses it. Generally, it refers to preserving the ocean’s ecosystem and the sustainable use of its resources.
The main idea this concept outlines is marine ecosystems are more productive when they’re healthy. In addition to preserving life in the ocean, the blue economy seeks to use marine resources for economic growth, improving the lives of many individuals and creating job opportunities. It involves various industries, such as aquaculture, fisheries, ocean transport, marine renewable energy and many more.
As mentioned, the blue economy plays a vital part in society, and focuses on improving human life and decreasing environmental dangers. Fisheries have created more than 350 million jobs worldwide, 80% of global trading is done by marine transport and aquaculture supplies 50% of the fish people consume.
The concept has grown a lot in recent years and AI can help achieve the goals the blue economy has set out. It can aid in preserving marine life, create sustainable economic growth and enhance resource management.
The Role AI Can Play in the Blue Economy
AI has immense potential in the blue economy. It can help many economic sectors advance while working toward protecting the environment and the ocean’s ecosystem. Here are three ways AI can play an essential role in the blue economy.
1. Restoration of Ocean Ecosystems
Coral reefs are some of the planet's most diverse ecosystems. According to the National Ocean Service, they have more than 4,000 species living in them, consisting of 800 hard corals and other sea life. In addition to these reefs providing shelter for many fish and acting as a food source, they also protect coastal areas.
Coral reefs serve as a barrier and decrease the force of waves. In other words, they function as a buffer that can safeguard coastlines. These corals can reduce the energy of waves by more than 90%, preventing property damage and loss of life, as well as reducing the chance of erosion.
Unfortunately, this ecosystem is in danger from plastic pollution, destructive fishing practices and climate change. However, with artificial intelligence, these valuable ecosystems can be restored. Humans can deploy AI technology to locate coral reefs in need of restoration. These AI robots can then aid in rebuilding these ecosystems to their former glory.
They can also monitor the health of the coral and alert people if something is posing a risk to their safety. Artificial intelligence can be an important tool in protecting reefs and the diverse life that lives within them.
2. Aid With Renewable Energy
An essential aspect of the blue economy is generating renewable energy and reducing environmental impact. One way to do this is through offshore wind farms that generate clean power. Additional methods of generating electricity through the help of ocean resources are tidal power plants and wave energy converters.
With the help of artificial intelligence, humans can locate the most suitable install locations. AI can look at factors such as weather and ocean data to determine where these clean-energy-generating systems will provide the most benefit.
AI technologies can also reduce the dangerous aspects these renewable energy systems can present for sea and other animal life. For example, computer vision cameras — a form of AI technology — can detect if birds are flying too close and stop the turbine to keep the animal safe.
In 2022, the German government implemented these AI cameras to protect endangered eagles. In addition to finding the ideal location to install clean generating systems, AI can also help improve their efficiency in terms of maximum energy output.
3. Gathering Data to Assist Many Blue Economy Sectors
Monitoring ocean ecosystems and collecting data is a complex, time-consuming and expensive task. However, autonomous underwater vehicles can quickly gather valuable insights humans can use in marine conservation.
Destructive fishing practices have a significant impact on ocean biodiversity. If these illegal fishing activities persist, they can cause severe damage to marine ecosystems and to the people who depend on the ocean for their livelihood. With AI analyzing different data, it can detect suspicious activity and alert authorities of the situation.
AI can also assist the marine biotechnology industry, as well as other blue economy sectors. For example, artificial intelligence tools can help develop biofuel and pharmaceuticals.
While most drugs currently come from land-based organisms, marine ecosystems could provide an excellent source for new ones. AI can enhance the screening process of components and materials gathered from these diverse ecosystems to aid in developing new medicine.
The Challenge of Incorporating AI Into the Blue Economy
The biggest challenge of implementing AI into blue economy sectors is many organizations are unaware of its benefits. For this technology to become more widely used, sectors will need education on all its advantages. With more industries realizing all the upsides, it can help the blue economy create sustainable growth and preserve the ocean’s ecosystem.
The Future of the Blue Economy
With AI steadily becoming part of many industries, the sustainable future of the blue economy looks strong. Artificial intelligence has made great strides in the last decade and is now at a point where it can provide many advantages.
This technology can help monitor the health of the ocean’s ecosystems, restore them, aid with the design of renewable energy systems and provide valuable data regarding ocean health. Sectors can use this insight to propel the blue economy forward.