A new report from an Australian think tank has made an attempt to estimate the value of services that the ocean surrounding the continent of Australia provides free of charge to human society, such as fishing, clean water, nursery habitats, carbon sequestration, and so on. The conclusion: Australia’s marine ecosystems are worth $25 billion a year.
And if you’re worried about jobs (and who isn’t?), consider this — as global fish stocks decline, Australia could lose 9,000 jobs and a marine tourism industry worth $11 billion a year. A summary is at the Sydney Morning Herald, an interview with lead author Laura Eadie at Australia’s ABC News here, and the full report is available from the Center for Policy Development here.
What to do about it? Recommendations from Ms. Eadie:
“We have five simple recommendations for the Federal Government that we think are very important to secure our marine resources. So first of all, protect the assets that underpin our marine estate by establishing marine protected areas. Rebuild fish stocks, currently 42 per cent of Australia’s Commonwealth stocks are overfished or unknown so they need to be rebuilt. Ensure all commercial fisheries are sustainably managed, establish accurate data on recreational catch and what fish levels, what fish stocks would be in undisturbed ecosystems and then finally support local communities through marketing and business innovation. We think there is great potential for regional fishing and for regional marine tourism to be marketed as a sustainable product.”
No doubt similar analyses could be done for other regions of the world that would greatly inflate those numbers. So let’s keep it clean!