Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Blue Economy Summit 2023

Date and Time
Friday, March 3, 2023 - 6 p.m. to Saturday, March 4 - 4:30 p.m.
Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club
Blue Economy Summit 2023


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The idea of the “blue economy” is compelling—and contested. On one hand, there is growing enthusiasm for using the oceans’ resources to grow economies and improve livelihoods while maintaining healthy marine ecosystems. On the other hand, the acceleration of ocean-based economic activity threatens to overwhelm increasingly vulnerable environments and communities. This is particularly important for small-scale fishing communities, which is likely the oceans’ largest source of livelihoods. One of this century’s most urgent challenges is to reinvent our relationship to the ocean—combining the best science, policy, and innovation to create practical approaches to ocean stewardship.

Hosted at Duke University, the annual Blue Economy Summit brings together diverse ocean stakeholders from industry, government, non-profits, and academia to identify the most promising opportunities to bring this vision to life.

Watch parts 1 and 2 of the Blue Economy Summit.

The Blue Economy Summit, organized by the interdisciplinary Oceans@Duke Student Club, will create a collaborative setting where students and professionals can critically reflect on current ocean trends and challenges, facilitate productive conversations, and enable effective ocean stewardship actions. The summit invites leaders from across sectors and geographies who want to challenge the status quo and explore science-based insights on urgent ocean challenges and opportunities. Attendees will also have the opportunity to connect with young professionals from multiple disciplines at Duke and other leading universities.

This year’s theme, “Recovery and Revitalization in the Pandemic Era,” reflects the lenses through which various actors have adapted to the new demands of the ocean as a key resource and will be focused on:

  • Enhancing Equity Across the Fisheries Sector
  • Cases of Coastal Resilience and Managed Retreat Rethinking
  • Sustainable Tourism

Lydia Olander, who directs the Nicholas Institute’s Ecosystem Services Program, will moderate the discussion of coastal resilience and managed retreat. John Virdin, who directs the Nicholas Institute’s Ocean and Coastal Policy Program, will provide closing remarks for the summit.

The Blue Economy Summit will kick off on March 3 with an Opening Reception and Ocean Innovation Showcase that highlights innovative “blue” technology to enhance ocean sustainability and provide opportunities for students to engage with entrepreneurs working in this area. This event will be co-hosted with the Winds of Change event that will take place at Duke earlier in the day.

The Summit will continue all day on March 4.

The Nicholas Institute is among the sponsors of the Blue Economy Summit.