Oceans are world's seventh largest economy worth $24tn, says WWF report

The Guardian. By Oliver Milman.

The monetary value of the world’s oceans has been estimated at US$24tn in a new report that warns that overfishing, pollution and climate change are putting an unprecedented strain upon marine ecosystems.

The report, commissioned by WWF, states the asset value of oceans is $24tn and values the annual “goods and services” it provides, such as food, at $2.5tn.

This economic clout would make the oceans the seventh largest economy in the world although the report’s authors, which include the Boston Consulting Group, say this is an underestimate as it does not factor in things such as oil, wind power and intangibles, such as the ocean’s role in climate regulation.

The economic value is largely comprised of fisheries, tourism, shipping lanes and the coastal protection provided by corals and mangroves.

However, the oceans are facing mounting pressures. They soak up around half of the carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere by human activity, a process that is warming the water and increasing the acidification of the ocean.

The report warns that nearly two-thirds of the world’s fisheries are “fully exploited” with most of the rest overexploited. The biological diversity of the oceans slumped by 39% between 1970 and 2010, while half of the world’s corals and nearly a third of its seagrasses have disappeared in this time.

Conitnue reading here; includes table showing economic value.

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