Oceans worth US$24 tril., but sea change needed to save them: WWF
The world’s oceans are awash in riches, with output rivaling that of some of the world’s largest economies, but over-fishing, pollution and climate change are rapidly eroding those resources, WWF warned Thursday.
In a new report, the conservation group said oceans each year generate goods and services worth at least US$2.5 trillion, while their overall value as an asset is worth 10 times that.
If oceans were a nation, they would constitute the world’s sev- enth largest economy, ranking just after Britain but ahead of the likes of Brazil, Russia and India, WWF said.
Their estimated asset value of US$24 trillion would meanwhile dwarf the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, in Norway, which holds just US$893 billion, it said.
The 60-page report, “Reviving the Ocean Economy,” meanwhile stressed that those estimates were clearly an underestimate, since they do not include offshore oil and gas and wind energy or “intangibles such as the ocean’s role in climate regulation.”
“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,” WWF chief Marco Lambertini warned in a statement.
Thursday’s report, produced in cooperation with Queensland University’s Global Change Institute and the Boston Consulting Group, indicated that oceans are changing more rapidly today than at any other point in millions of years.
‘Serious signs of failing health’
Collapsing fisheries, mangrove deforestation and disappearing corals and seagrass are among the changes that are threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people.
A full two thirds of the economic value generated by oceans depends on healthy ocean conditions, the report said.
But unfortunately oceans are “showing serious signs of failing health,” it said.
The statistics are frightening — some 90 percent of global fish stocks are already over-exploited or fully exploited, and marine species declined by 39 percent between 1970 and 2010, it said.