Mads Barbesgaard

Senior Lecturer

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Human Geography
  • Social and Economic Geography
  • Globalization Studies


  • Ocean Grabbing, Political Economic Geography, Political Ecology


While the global rush to control land resources is well established, similar ‘power-grabs’ in relation to marine and coastal resources are less well-known and researched. However, under the rubric of ‘Blue Growth’, such power-grabs are beginning to take shape through global policy processes that purportedly align the needs of the poor with profit interests and climate change concerns. Such processes are being pushed forward by burgeoning alliances and convergences of environmental NGOs, the private sector, states and a range of international institutions. Drawing on market-based mechanisms, blue growth policies would entail massive changes in access to and control of marine and coastal ecosystems shifting the use of them away from the direct needs and interests of the many millions in coastal communities that currently rely on them for their livelihoods towards the achievement of global climate change and mitigation goals. These shifts notwithstanding, blue growth is being advocated as the only ‘sustainable’ response to the increasingly dire straits of marine and coastal ecosystems. While proponents guarantee sustainable outcomes, similar market-based conservation and mitigation efforts on land have had huge socio-ecological consequences for communities on the ground. Will blue growth policies have similar consequences for coastal communities? This project will track the rise of the blue growth rhetoric over the past years and critically examine the policy proposals flowing from this rhetoric, situating them within the broader discussion on the political economy of climate change and what representatives of fisher peoples’ movements are calling ‘ocean grabbing’. The project will analyse how these policy proposals filter down into national contexts drawing on field-work in Myanmar.


Recent research outputs

Felix Mallin & Mads Barbesgaard, 2020 Jul, In: Geoforum. 113, p. 121-132 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Zoe W. Brent, Mads Barbesgaard & Carsten Pedersen, 2020, In: Sustainability Science. p. 31–43

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Marc–Andrej Felix Mallin, Dennis C. Stolz, Benjamin S. Thompson & Mads Barbesgaard, 2019, In: Marine Policy. 107, 103421.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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