The recent years have witnessed a rise in interest in the ocean economy. To cover a more sustainable dimension, terms such as ‘blue economy’ and ‘blue growth’ have been coined, and are increasingly used in international contexts and academic literature. However, there are no generally accepted definitions of these ‘blue’ concepts. In particular, it is not clear what connotation of sustainability and what role of natural environment is linked to these terms. The objective of this study is to retrace the meaning of the concepts of blue economy and blue growth and include them in a coherent environmental accounting framework. Starting from the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting of the United Nations, a set of assumptions is proposed to link blue economy/growth and ecosystem services, including the creation of an adjusted measure of value added, while considering the depletion and degradation of the environment and the value of non-market benefits provided by the ecosystem. Finally, an example of this approach in the case of the Mediterranean Sea is presented.
Some of the most significant threats to the sustainability of the world's 66 Large Marine Ecosystems (LME) – invasive species, coastal hypoxia, overfishing, marine debris and ocean acidification – are due to a combination of market and/or policy failures which cause these environmental externalities. A concerted global effort to remove these barriers would not only lead to dramatic improvements in ocean health and preservation of trillions of dollars in ocean-related goods and services and hundreds of millions of existing jobs, but also catalyze transformation across a range of ocean using and affecting sectors that would create millions of new, and in many cases, well paying, jobs for people across both the developed and developing world.
Despite their importance for human well-being, nearshore fisheries are often data poor, undervalued, and underappreciated in policy and development programs. We assess the value chain for nearshore Hawaiian coral reef fisheries, mapping post-catch distribution and disposition, and quantifying associated monetary, food security, and cultural values. We estimate that the total annual value of the nearshore fishery in Hawaiʻi is $10.3-$16.4 million, composed of non-commercial ($7.2-$12.9 million) and commercial ($2.97 million licensed + $148,500-$445,500 unlicensed) catch. Hawaii’s nearshore fisheries provide >7 million meals annually, with most (>5 million) from the non-commercial sector. Over a third (36%) of meals were planktivores, 26% piscivores, 21% primary consumers, and 18% secondary consumers. Only 62% of licensed commercial catch is accounted for in purchase reports, leaving 38% of landings unreported in sales. Value chains are complex, with major buyers for the commercial fishery including grocery stores (66%), retailers (19%), wholesalers (14%), and restaurants (<1%), who also trade and sell amongst themselves. The bulk of total nearshore catch (72–74%) follows a short value chain, with non-commercial fishers keeping catch for household consumption or community sharing. A small amount (~37,000kg) of reef fish—the equivalent of 1.8% of local catch—is imported annually into Hawaiʻi, 23,000kg of which arrives as passenger luggage on commercial flights from Micronesia. Evidence of exports to the US mainland exists, but is unquantifiable given existing data. Hawaiian nearshore fisheries support fundamental cultural values including subsistence, activity, traditional knowledge, and social cohesion. These small-scale coral reef fisheries provide large-scale benefits to the economy, food security, and cultural practices of Hawaiʻi, underscoring the need for sustainable management. This research highlights the value of information on the value chain for small-scale production systems, making the hidden economy of these fisheries visible and illuminating a range of conservation interventions applicable to Hawaiʻi and beyond.
Marine ecosystems are exposed to significant anthropogenic pressure mainly due to the exploitation of biotic and abiotic marine resources. Marine protected areas (MPAs) are important tools to achieve local and global marine conservation targets. Marine ecosystems generate goods and services vital for human well-being. Their value can be explored not only from an economic viewpoint based on market and human preferences, but also using a biophysical perspective based on the accounting of environmental costs sustained for the generation of natural capital stocks and ecosystem services flows.
In this study, the value of natural capital in the MPA “the Islands of Ventotene and S. Stefano” (Central Italy) was assessed applying a biophysical and trophodynamic environmental accounting model based on emergy accounting. The value of natural capital was estimated for the main habitats of the investigated MPA in terms of the work done by the biosphere for its generation and maintenance. Both the autotrophic and heterotrophic natural capital of the MPA was evaluated. The highest value of emergy density of 4.26∙1011 sej m−2 was shown by the habitat “Posidonia oceanica seagrass bed” when investigating the autotrophic natural capital. The sciaphilic hard bottom habitat (coralligenous) showed the highest value of emergy density of 2.76∙1012 sej m−2when investigating the heterotrophic natural capital. The high emergy cost of coralligenous confirmed the importance of this habitat that represents one of the most important hot spot of species diversity in the Mediterranean Sea. The total emergy value of natural capital of the MPA was converted to monetary units by using the emergy-to-money ratio for Italy, resulting in 8.26 M€. Finally, a GIS tool was used to show the spatial distribution of natural capital values in relation to different habitats. The outcomes of this study highlighted the usefulness of the applied biophysical and trophodynamic environmental accounting model to explore the ecological value of natural capital in marine ecosystems while supporting local managers and policy makers for the sustainable development of MPAs.
Tourism is a financing mechanism considered by many donor-funded marine conservation initiatives. Here we assess the potential role of visitor entry fees, in generating the necessary revenue to manage a marine protected area (MPA), established through a Global Environmental Facility Grant, in a temperate region of Chile. We assess tourists’ willingness to pay (WTP) for an entry fee associated to management and protection of the MPA. Results show 97 % of respondents were willing to pay an entrance fee. WTP predictors included the type of tourist, tourists’ sensitivity to crowding, education, and understanding of ecological benefits of the MPA. Nature-based tourists state median WTP values of US$ 4.38 and Sun-sea-sand tourists US$ 3.77. Overall, entry fees could account for 10–13 % of MPA running costs. In Chile, where funding for conservation runs among the weakest in the world, visitor entry fees are no panacea in the short term and other mechanisms, including direct state/government support, should be considered.
his guide describes over 30 mechanisms for financing the conservation of marine biodiversity, both within and outside of MP As. Its main purpose is to familiarize conservation professionals i.e., the managers and staff of government conservation agencies, international donors, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)-with a menu of options for financing the conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity. A number of economic incentive mechanisms for marine conservation (as contrasted with revenue-raising mechanisms) are also presented in section 5 (on Real Estate and Development Rights) and section 6 (on Fishing Industry Revenues).
Each section provides a description of the financing mechanism and examples showing how the mechanism has been used to finance marine conservation. In some cases, even though a mechanism may have only been used to finance terrestrial conservation, it has been included in this guide because of its potential to also serve as a new source of funding for marine conservation. This guide is not intended to provide detailed instructions on how to establish and implement each of the different conservation financing mechanisms. Instead references are provided at the end of each section for sources of additional information about each of the mechanisms described. Citations to specific references are also included in the text in parentheses.
Over the past two years, discussions on Protected Area (PA) finance have formed a key agenda item during global deliberations on biodiversity conservation. Both the Vth IUCN World Parks Congress (Durban, September 2003) and the seventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Kuala Lumpur, February 2004) observed that insufficient investment is being made in biodiversity conservation in general and protected areas in particular. Both meetings called for innovative approaches to generate the additional funding required to ensure that biodiversity of global, national and local significance is conserved. A recent international meeting on biodiversity science and governance, hosted by UNESCO and the government of France (Paris, January 2005), likewise identified finance as one of several critical issues to be addressed if the world is to meet the CBD/WSSD 2010 Biodiversity Target. A particular concern in all of these processes has been the level and types of funding available for PAs, which lie at the core of global efforts to conserve biodiversity.
The Arctic region is composed of unique marine and terrestrial ecosystems that provide a range of services to local and global populations. However, Arctic sea-ice is melting at an unprecedented rate, threatening many of these ecosystems and the services they provide. This short communication provides a preliminary assessment of the quantity, distribution and economic value of key ecosystem services as well as geological resources such as oil and minerals provided by Arctic ecosystems to beneficiaries in the Arctic region and globally. Using biophysical and economic data from existing studies, preliminary estimates indicate that the Arctic currently provides about $281 billion per year (in 2016 US$) in terms of food, mineral extraction, oil production, tourism, hunting, existence values and climate regulation. However, given predictions of ice-free summers by 2037, many of the ecosystem services may be lost. We hope that this communication stimulates discussion among policy-makers regarding the value of ecosystem services and such geological resources as minerals and oil provided by the Arctic region, and the potential ecosystem losses resulting from Arctic melt, so as to motivate decisions vis a vis climate change mitigation before Arctic ice disappears completely.
Shark-diving is part of a rapidly growing industry focused on marine wildlife tourism. Our study aimed to provide an estimate of the economic value of shark-diving tourism across Australia by comprehensively surveying the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), grey nurse shark (Carcharias taurus), and reef shark (mostly Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos and Triaenodon obesus) diving industries using a standardised approach. A socio-economic survey targeted tourist divers between March 2013 and June 2014 and collected information on expenditures related to diving, accommodation, transport, living costs, and other related activities during divers’ trips. A total of 711 tourist surveys were completed across the four industries, with the total annual direct expenditure by shark divers in Australia estimated conservatively at $25.5 M. Additional expenditure provided by the white-shark and whale-shark-diving industries totalled $8.1 and $12.5 M for the Port Lincoln and Ningaloo Reef regions respectively. International tourists diving with white sharks also expended another $0.9 M in airfares and other activities while in Australia. These additional revenues show that the economic value of this type of tourism do not flow solely to the industry, but are also spread across the region where it is hosted. This highlights the need to ensure a sustainable dive-tourism industry through adequate management of both shark-diver interactions and biological management of the species on which it is based. Our study also provides standardised estimates which allow for future comparison of the scale of other wildlife tourism industries (not limited to sharks) within or among countries.
Scuba diving tourism has the potential to be a sustainable source of income for developing countries. Around the world, tourists pay significant amounts of money to see coral reefs or iconic, large animals such as sharks and manta rays. Scuba diving tourism is broadening and becoming increasingly popular, a novel type of scuba diving which little is known about, is muck diving. Muck diving focuses on finding rare, cryptic species that are seldom seen on coral reefs. This study investigates the value of muck diving, its participant and employee demographics and potential threats to the industry. Results indicate that muck dive tourism is worth more than USD$ 150 million annually in Indonesia and the Philippines combined. It employs over 2200 people and attracts more than 100,000 divers per year. Divers participating in muck dive tourism are experienced, well-educated, have high incomes, and are willing to pay for the protection of species crucial to the industry. Overcrowding of dive sites, pollution and conflicts with fishermen are reported as potential threats to the industry, but limited knowledge on these impacts warrants further research. This study shows that muck dive tourism is a sustainable form of nature based tourism in developing countries, particularly in areas where little or no potential for traditional coral reef scuba diving exists.