In an attempt to make us value our oceans the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has conducted a valuation of them which they place at US $24 trillion.
The valuation is contained in a new report, reviving the Ocean Economy: The case for action – 2015. It seeks to show the ocean’s role as an economic value and identify key threats to its survival.
In comparison with the 10 top economies worldwide the ocean would be number 7. The goods and services which it provides each year are valued at US $2.5 trillion alone.
The value of the ocean rests on it being healthy the report found. In the event fisheries collapse, mangroves are destroyed and corals disappear then livelihoods around the world will be decimated. Over exploitation, misuse and climate change are all identified as factors in the ocean being in danger.
Lead author of the paper and Director of the Global Climate Change Institute, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg said, “The Ocean is at greater risk now than at any other time in recorded history. We are pulling out too many fish, dumping in too many pollutants, and warming and acidifying the ocean to a point that essential natural systems will simply stop functioning.”
“The ocean rivals the wealth of the world’s richest countries, but it is being allowed to sink to the depths of a failed economy,” explained Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International. “As responsible shareholders, we cannot seriously expect to keep recklessly extracting the ocean’s valuable assets without investing in its future.”
CEO of WWF-Australia Dermot O’Gorman suggests that ocean conservation funding should be upped to come in line with the valuation, “The Great Barrier Reef, which has lost half its coral, is a prime example. It generates $6 billion a year for the local economy and supports nearly 70,000 jobs. We have long argued that it makes economic sense for governments to lift their spending on the Reef in line with its value as an asset.”
“While funding has improved it is nowhere near enough to halt the impact on the Reef from pollution and Australia must do more to combat climate change,” he added.
Ninety percent of fish stocks the world over are currently over-exploited or fully exploited. By 2050 we may no longer have coral reefs providing storm protection, food and jobs to hundreds of millions of people.
Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International said, “The ocean feeds us, employs us, and supports our health and well-being, yet we are allowing it to collapse before our eyes. If everyday stories of the ocean’s failing health don’t inspire our leaders, perhaps a hard economic analysis will. We have serious work to do to protect the ocean starting with real global commitments on climate and sustainable development.”
Top By U.S. Geological Survey from Reston, VA, USA (Bent Sea Rod Bleaching) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Bottom Public Domain