The Beacon

The Value of an Abundant Ocean

What are healthy fisheries worth? What, then, are healthy oceans worth?

Well, we’d argue they’re priceless, but a new report quantifies their value, and it’s no small change.

The first comprehensive, peer-reviewed estimate of the global social and economic contribution of fisheries was recently published online in four papers. In the report, scientists from the University of British Columbia’s Fisheries Centre quantify the value of the world’s fish, and calculate the loss of both revenue and dependable protein sources from overfishing.

Here are a few highlights from the report:

*Global fisheries, a vital source of food and revenue throughout the world, contribute between $225-$240 billion per year to the worldwide economy.

*Healthier fisheries could have helped nearly 20 million people in poorer countries avoid undernourishment.

*Recreational use of ocean ecosystems by sport divers, whale watchers and recreational fishermen contributes $47 billion each year to national economies worldwide and generates nearly 1.1 million jobs.

*Large developed countries are spending twice the amount of tax-payer money on global fisheries subsidies that encourage overfishing than they are on subsidies that protect oceans.

In sum, keeping our oceans full of fish is a smart move for the global economy, and essential for people around the world -- particularly the individuals whose livelihoods and health depend on it.

Learn more about the report findings at Pew.


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