Mediterranean marine ecosystems, economic value of sustainable benefits

Key figures

Low estimate of the sustainable benefits: 26 billion € (2005)

  • – Fisheries and aquaculture: 11%
  • – Tourism and recreational activities: 68%
  • – Climate regulation: 8%
  • – Coastal protection: 2%
  • – Liquid waste treatment: 10%

A wealth threatened

Its position linking three continents, its nature of semi-enclosed sea and its marked seasonal climate make the Mediterranean a melting pot of biodiversity recognized worldwide.

Sheltered habitats are subjected to many anthropogenic pressures. Concentration of socio-economic activities in coastal areas and effects of climate change are intensifying threats to biodiversity in the region.

Important economic issues

These threats are particularly worrisome as significant economic challenges are also attached to biodiversity. To illustrate their importance, Plan Bleu has established a first assessment of the annual economic value of sustainable benefits rendered by ecological services provided by marine ecosystems at the Mediterranean regional scale.

An assessment of ecosystem services

The sustainable benefits from several ecological services have been evaluated as: production of food resources (fisheries, aquaculture), provision of amenities for tourism and recreational activities as well as several regulating services (CO2 sequestration, coastal protection, waste treatment). This exploratory study also showed limits of this kind of evaluation in terms of method and data.

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