Measuring the ‘ocean economy’
The ocean plays a vital role in the global economy. Over three billion people depend on ocean and coastal resources for their livelihoods, and ocean-based industries generate trillions of dollars annually for the global economy. These are the traditional metrics of our economics, but they measure only a fraction of the benefits that oceans provide.
A healthy ocean also generates value that is less easily quantified, including ecosystems services that range from biodiversity to the absorption of atmospheric greenhouse gases. Because of the lack of metrics for these services, the negative impacts of human activity on the oceans’ health is not captured in the cost of doing business. With ocean-based economic activity certain to grow in the decades ahead, we need an approach to measuring the ‘ocean economy’ that mitigates these negative externalities and ensures we promote the sustainable development of ocean resources.
The challenge: How might we find shared standards to measure ocean-based economic activities and their impact on our oceans?