Stocking up: Securing our marine economy is the first in a series of reports that will look at how different sectors of Australia’s economy can benefit from policies to preserve the environment and resources that sustain them.
Our oceans are often out of sight, but that doesn’t mean they should be out of mind. Australia is surrounded by a vast wealth of oceans.
We have the world’s third largest marine estate. We have the highest marine biodiversity in the world. Our marine economy supports thousands of regional jobs through commercial fishing, marine tourism and recreational fishing. Yet official accounts record only a fraction of the real, long-term value of our oceans.
In a ground-breaking new report, CPD’s Sustainable Economy Program reveals a shortfall in our official accounts of $25 billion per year. Our oceans contribute at least this much to the national economy in ecosystem services – such as carbon storage, fish nursery services and recreational fishing – free of charge.
Australia’s oceans provide a wide range of values, worth over $69 billion per annum. Yet our economic accounts recognise only $44 billion of this value. Ecosystem services – the non-market benefits we derive from nature – are worth at least a further $25 billion per year. These services support many local economies. Any decline in their value could impact thousands of regionaljobs.
In a national first, Stocking up assesses the economic value of Australia’s oceans and finds:
Stocking up fills a gap between the scientific knowledge of our oceans and the poor understanding of the economic and social value they provide, showing how we can secure marine jobs today and in the future by maintaining the value of the assets that these jobs rely on.
The report measures essential ecosystems services provided ‘free of charge’ by our oceans, such as:
Stocking up recommends five simple measures to secure our marine resources for all Australians; support long-term jobs in commercial fishing and marine tourism; and provide better catches for recreational fishers:
As global fish stocks decline and the risk of ecosystem collapse grows worldwide, Australia can still take action to secure the third largest and most diverse marine estate in the world. This would support long-term jobs for commercial fishers, secure marine resources for tourism development, and provide better catches for recreational fishers.
In Stocking up we’ve brought common-sense thinking to the question of how we can develop a thriving marine economy over the long term. It’s not a trivial question.
As the world heads into challenging times, Australia must make smart and informed decisions about how to navigate the waters ahead. These decisions need to be driven by the value of our oceans and the people who rely on them, not by politics.
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