Earth’s oceans hold $31 trillion dollars worth of assets, a report linked with the University of Queensland said.
And the worlds fish species were either exploited, overfished or recovering from depletion, the report Reviving the ocean economy: the case for action, states.
Oceans produce $3.2 trillion per year – a sum that could amount to the world’s seventh largest economy behind the United Kingdom at $3.7 trillion and well ahead of Australia at $2 trillion, the report said (although OECD figures put Australia’s GDP at about $1.3 trillion).
The oceans assets are valued based on marketed goods and services that are directly linked to the oceans, but the report was unable to put a value on other aspects like coral reefs, mangroves which filter water, and the value people put on oceans.
“It is indisputable that these important ‘intangibles’ are indeed of enormous value to people and industries,” it states.
The report, produced with the Boston Consulting Group, the UQ Global Change Institute and the Worldwide Fund for Nature, said the largest share of the ocean’s value comes from fisheries, coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass, valued at $8.9 trillion.
Shipping lanes followed at $6.7 trillion, and in the less tangible categories, productive coastline was valued at $10 trillion and carbon absorption at $5.5 trillion.
“The ocean is very likely to already be producing far less than it potentially could,” the report states.
“While there are areas where effective ocean resource management is occurring, the broader picture is one of widespread mismanagement and often escalating decline.”
It calls on nations that use oceans to ally to better manage the common resource.
The report has called for “deep cuts to (greenhouse gas) emissions” to address risks to the ocean like acidification.
“We are running down our ocean assets and will push the ocean economy into the red if we do not respond to this crisis as an international community,” the report states.