Each dollar invested to create marine protected areas (MPAs) yields three times the value, thanks to the creation of direct jobs, coastal protection and fishing. This was one of the main conclusions of the World Wildlife Fund’s report, released in parallel to the World Ocean Summit in Cascais, Portugal (near Lisbon). For this study, WWF leaders called on researchers at VU University Amsterdam. Based on their calculations, the Dutch scientists estimated that the value of the financial benefits from the expansion of marine protected areas could reach between $490 billion and $920 billion by 2050. This process of protecting and developing MPAs would also provide the opportunity to create between 150,000 and 180,000 new jobs.
Each dollar invested to create marine protected areas (MPAs) yields three times the value, thanks to the creation of direct jobs, coastal protection and fishing.
MPAs are maritime zones that are protected by local and/or international law, with the aim of preserving the environment. As a result, measures are applied to them that may, for example, prohibit the presence of fisherfolk in their surrounding areas or reduce the impact of tourism by restricting access to the zone. At present, most marine protected areas suffer from a lack of upkeep. WWF’s study shows that their expansion and supervision by additional personnel would lead to the generation of new economic resources. This is because MPAs are known to attract and sustain coastal tourism, contributing to growth in local employment and commerce.
But protecting these areas would, above all, have a direct impact on biodiversity, food security and local life. MPAs protect coastal habitats and infrastructure from natural disasters, absorbing some of the impacts of climate change. They also help to rebuild fish stocks and boost the livelihoods of people involved in the fishing industry, because the size and the density of the fish, and the biomass and diversity of species, will all increase as protection is improved.
In its report, the WWF assesses the economic value of the planet’s oceans. The figure is colossal: $24 trillion. For example, the economic added value of the Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Australia, is estimated at $5.7 billion. It provides 48,000 jobs through direct employment, and another 21,000 people make a living off it indirectly, chiefly via tourism. In this respect, the country is a pioneer in the field of MPAs: in 2012, it decided to create the largest network of nature reserves in the world.
In its report, the WWF assesses the economic value of the planet’s oceans. The figure is colossal: $24 trillion.
In conclusion, the World Wildlife Fund reiterated the fact that, in order to derive benefits from the oceans, we will need to protect them and take particular care of the 41% of the ocean surface that is heavily affected by human influence. The NGO advises that marine areas where fishing is completely prohibited should first be expanded to cover 10% of the ocean surface by 2020, and then 30% by 2030.
Lastly, WWF did not choose its study’s publication date at random: World Oceans Day came just four days later, on June 8. This served as the occasion for the Ocean and Climate Platform to launch the Ocean’s Call for the Climate on the petition website Change.org and to provide a podium for champions of the seabed, largely overlooked during negotiations at the international Climate Change Conference last December.
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