UK marine protected areas worth billions, new report claims

Jul 17, 2013
UK marine protected areas worth billions, new report claims

Designation of marine protected areas (MPAs) in England, Wales and Scotland would be worth a one-off value of £0.92 – 1.93 billion to recreational users, says a new interim report of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, based on research led by the University of Aberdeen.

University of Aberdeen research provides basis of report into value of the UK's

These values would further increase if MPAs would put significant restrictions on commercial fisheries.

The research also estimated the current recreational value of MPAs to lie between £148 - 248 million for divers and £1.86 – 3.38 billion for anglers per year, although there is considerable uncertainty around these recreational figures, because it is difficult to precisely estimate how often divers and anglers visit each of the 151 proposed areas examined in the study. There are 1-2 million sea anglers and around 200,000 divers in the UK.

The study also compared the value of conservation to the projected costs associated with English Marine Conservation Zones, and found that the economic benefits to society of designating 127 zones were likely to outweigh the costs, even without accounting for the potential benefits to other recreational users. Benefits would depend on most areas remaining open to diving and angling.

Researchers asked 1,683 divers and sea anglers how much they would be willing to give as a one-off donation for the protection of a wide range of different , such as mussel and flame shell beds, corals, kelp and tide swept channels. Participants were also asked about 40 vulnerable and rare species found in UK waters, from stalked jellyfish to gooseneck and spiny lobsters to basking sharks.

Besides looking at the economic value of marine conservation, researchers also looked at non-monetary values, including the health, therapeutic, spiritual and social benefits of diving and angling of the marine sites. All sites were important to some degree for these benefits, while Scottish sites scored highest.

"This study clearly demonstrates how important these potential areas are for divers and sea anglers," said Jasper Kenter, from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Aberdeen, who led the project.

"The way that divers and anglers relate to these places goes much deeper than just recreation. It an experience that is important on so many levels: physical health, stress relief, engagement and connection with nature, beauty, a sense of wonder. It is these profound bonds that makes divers and anglers very concerned about the future of these special places."

The survey was conducted by researchers from the Universities of Aberdeen, Aberystwyth, De Montfort, and Birmingham City, and the James Hutton Institute, in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society, the Angling Trust and the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC). It formed the first stage of a broader study on shared and cultural values of nature, which is due to be published in March 2014 as part of a large-scale follow-on report to the National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA).

Explore further: Deep-sea shark nursery found in Outer Hebrides coral reef

More information: uknea.unep-wcmc.org/Resources/tabid/82/Default.aspx

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tortugas marine reserve yields more, larger fish

Feb 04, 2013

A new NOAA research report finds that both fish populations and commercial and recreational anglers have benefited from "no-take" protections in the Tortugas Ecological Reserve in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Marine Protected Areas are keeping turtles safe

Mar 18, 2012

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are providing sea turtles with an ideal habitat for foraging and may be keeping them safe from the threats of fishing. A study by an international team of scientists led by the ...

How much protection is enough?

Feb 27, 2013

Protection of marine areas from fishing increases density and biomass of fish and invertebrates (such as lobster and scallops) finds a systematic review published in BioMed Central's open access journal Environmental Evidence. The su ...

Recommended for you

Invasive vines swallow up New York's natural areas

3 hours ago

(Phys.org) —When Antonio DiTommaso, a Cornell weed ecologist, first spotted pale swallow-wort in 2001, he was puzzled by it. Soon he noticed many Cornell old-field edges were overrun with the weedy vines. ...

Citizen scientists match research tool when counting sharks

18 hours ago

Shark data collected by citizen scientists may be as reliable as data collected using automated tools, according to results published April 23, 2014, in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Gabriel Vianna from The University of Wes ...

Researchers detail newly discovered deer migration

Apr 23, 2014

A team of researchers including University of Wyoming scientists has documented the longest migration of mule deer ever recorded, the latest development in an initiative to understand and conserve ungulate ...

How Australia got the hump with one million feral camels

Apr 23, 2014

A new study by a University of Exeter researcher has shed light on how an estimated one million-strong population of wild camels thriving in Australia's remote outback have become reviled as pests and culled ...

Former Iron Curtain still barrier for deer

Apr 23, 2014

The Iron Curtain was traced by an electrified barbed-wire fence that isolated the communist world from the West. It was an impenetrable Cold War barrier—and for some inhabitants of the Czech Republic it ...

Humpback protections downgrade clears way for pipeline

Apr 22, 2014

Environmentalist activists on Tuesday decried Canada's downgrading of humpback whale protections, suggesting the decision was fast-tracked to clear a major hurdle to constructing a pipeline to the Pacific ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

New breast cancer imaging method promising

The new PAMmography method for imaging breast cancer developed by the University of Twente's MIRA research institute and the Medisch Spectrum Twente hospital appears to be a promising new method that could ...

Research proves nanobubbles are superstable

The intense research interest in surface nanobubbles arises from their potential applications in microfluidics and the scientific challenge for controlling their fundamental physical properties. One of the ...

Using antineutrinos to monitor nuclear reactors

When monitoring nuclear reactors, the International Atomic Energy Agency has to rely on input given by the operators. In the future, antineutrino detectors may provide an additional option for monitoring. ...