GLOBAL - Two recent reports from WWF show how important the ocean is to human and economic well-being, but also show that it is changing more rapidly than at any other point in millions of years – and not for the better.
The reports highlight the threats facing this critical global resource as well as the solutions that can help support it.
Reviving the Ocean Economy shows that the ocean ranks seventh among the world’s top 10 economies. The report conservatively estimates the ocean's annual output of goods and services to be $2.5 trillion and places its overall value at $24 trillion.
“The ocean rivals the wealth of the world’s richest countries, but it is being allowed to sink to the depths of a failed economy,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, at the time of the report's release.
A separate analysis of the ocean focusing on marine protected areas concludes that every dollar invested in marine protection would be at least tripled in benefits from employment, coastal protection, and fisheries.
Further underscoring the ocean's enormous economic potential, the analysis demonstrated that increased protection of critical habitats could result in net benefits of up to $920 billion between now and 2050.
Despite all of the benefits offered by the ocean, the WWF say we are assaulting it through over-exploitation, habitat destruction, climate change and pollution. With most of the ocean's economic output reliant on its health, current conditions will only further erode the ocean's ability to provide essential services to humans and nature.
In coming months, governments will make critical decisions that will direct the fate of the ocean for generations. WWF argues that it is not too late to reverse the troubling trends and ensure a healthy ocean that benefits people, business and the environment.
“The ocean is collapsing before our eyes, but the good news is that we have the tools to fix it. We have serious work to do to protect the ocean, starting with real global commitments on climate and sustainable development,” added Mr Lambertini describing the conclusions of WWF's research.
Among the most urgent solutions presented by WWF are embedding ocean recovery throughout the UN’s post-2015 agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals, taking global action on climate change and delivering strong commitments to protect coastal and marine areas.
As human reliance on the ocean increases so does the need for us to protect it. WWF’s global ocean campaign, Sustain Our Seas, recognises this need and builds on decades of work by the organisation and its partners on marine conservation.
WWF is working with governments, businesses and communities to encourage leaders to take urgent measures to support the ocean and protect the lives and livelihoods of billions of people around the world.
TheFishSite News Desk