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$25 Billion a Year: Value of Australia’s Oceans

$25 Billion a Year: Value of Australia’s Oceans

A study of the Australian oceans’ economic value has pegged the total number at $25 billion dollars a year. Research director for the Sydney Center for Policy Development said, It’s not an easy thing to put a price on the value of life let alone an ecological treasure chest that sustains and if protected could sustain us for future lifetimes, but that’s what this study aims to do.” (Source: ChinaDaily)

Australia is surrounded by beautiful, biologically-rich marine habitats. Marine tourism brings in an estimated $11 billion a year. Depletion of fish stocks and marine wildlife could cause the loss of 9,000 jobs, says the study. The largest economic benefit, was found to be taking carbon out of the air and atmosphere. This natural function of the oceans as a carbon sink (including seagrass beds and coral reefs) was calculated to be $15.8 billion.

Protecting regional fish stocks could bring in another $3.3 billion a year, if global overfishing continues, meaning Australia’s market would increase in value to meet the same level of demand. The study says that currently forty-two percent of Australia’s fish populations are in need of being rebuilt, so there is room for increased economic growth if that were to occur. Five recommendations for sustainably managing Australia’s oceans were included in the report for consideration by the national government.

One area of concern is deep sea fisheries, which have been operated like terrestrial mining operations in some cases. Ending deep sea fisheries would be particularly appropriate for the high seas outside the [exclusive economic zones] of maritime countries, where fisheries from a few countries are harming the biodiversity that is a vital interest for all of humankind,” said an American scientist. (Source: smh.au)

One thing that was mentioned is the potential for the economic value of Australia’s oceans to increase over time. As climate change worsens, the value of natural carbon removal will likely increase. Increases in the human population might also create more interest in developing aquaculture, especially if there is less arable land available with more droughts and other extreme weather.

Image Credit: NASA, Public Domain

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28 comments

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4:31AM PST on Dec 14, 2011

Thanks for the article.

5:43AM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

Thanks for sharing - I had no idea, and I live in Aus! I also didn't ever think about the fact that oceans would of course be carbon sinks! Talk about another reason to protect and preserve them!

7:41PM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

wow

1:52AM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

"Earth does belong to man; it is man who belongs to the Earth,"
~Chief Seattle

11:43PM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

Thanks ! Very intresting!!

10:37PM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

interesting - but sad the thought that such things i.e. our natural world must be viewed in monetary terms before it's valued...

7:22PM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

Noted/Saved/Shared/Uploaded .... Tks 4 sending ....

5:17PM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

kool

3:40PM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

Thanks.

2:58PM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

glad too see studies like this as it seems people pay more attention to things if there is a price tag involved. Shame though that it has to be done that way.

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