CalOceans News

Showing all articles with tag: ocean economy.


California's outdoor economy thriving

May 17th, 2011

In Sunday’s Los Angeles Times, reporter Hugo Martin wrote on the critical role California’s beaches, mountains and deserts play in the state’s economy. California's vast outdoor assets are at the center of its $95-billion tourism industry, the state's fifth-largest job creator.

At a time when the state budget crisis has necessitated widespread cuts, we’re reminded that California’s iconic natural resources – from Yosemite National Park to Santa Monica Bay – are a significant revenue source worthy of careful management. A full 25 percent of California’s coastline is protected in state parks, and the Marine Life Protection Act is working to create a network of “underwater parks” offshore to extend that stewardship from land to sea.

The LA Times article, as well as several economic studies, remind us that protecting natural areas is a smart investment for the state, and one that can pay both economic and environmental dividends:
A National Ocean Economics Program study found that tourism and recreation account for 75 percent of the jobs in California’s ocean economy, and estimates that the intrinsic value of U.S. ocean and coastal resources is more than $100 billion.
In Southern California, where a new system of marine protected areas will soon go into effect, more than 80 cents out of every dollar spent by coastal visitors is driven by tourism and recreation (and other “non-consumptive” uses).  Total spending for these activities is more than $115 million each year in the Santa Barbara and Los Angeles areas, according to a study by economists Linwood Pendleton and Chris LaFranchi.

From realtors to art galleries, many businesses will benefit from a healthier ocean, and that is why more than 130 business leaders signed a letter to the Fish and Game Commission last October urging timely implementation of the Marine Life Protection Act.  And that is why so many Californians are urging state decisionmakers to keep our State Parks open. We hope you will join CalOceans and countless other concerned citizens in advocating to keep our treasured parks in business, by taking action here.

Marine preserves pay

May 13th, 2010

Marine Ecologist Enric Sala (a National Geographic Explorer and Scripps Institution of Oceanography Professor) explains that the "economy versus environment"frame for ocean protection is a false choice.  We can have more fish and catch them too with well-designed marine protected areas and reserves. 
Sala says that marine preserves can increase the quality of fishermen's catches in the near term, increase their long-term job security, and boost tourism and recreation. As Sala puts it, a marine reserve is a savings account and you have to keep up a principle balance in order to maintain an income from it.

Additionally, marine reserves actually create jobs, and for just a fraction of the cost of what we're currently spending on unsustainable fishing subsidies.


California's oceans are too big to fail

December 16th, 2009

Carl Safina and Sylvia Earle are no strangers to the benefits of marine protected areas.  Dr. Earle won the TED prize for her work to protect the planet's "blue heart," and her goal is to see a worldwide network of marine protected areas to keep the world's oceans healthy and sustainable.  

Both ocean experts worry about the effects of climate change, overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction on sea life.  And now, Safina and Earle are calling for a bailout plan for the ocean.  At a recent event, they had conservationists repeat, "the oceans are too big to fail."

That's certainly true in California.  The coast and ocean are our most iconic attraction.  According to the National Ocean Economics Program 2009 report, they drive $22 billion dollars in revenue and 350,000 jobs each year.  And the lion's share of that--three quarters of the revenue, and over half the jobs--come from tourism and recreation.

In order to keep those industries thriving, we have to protect the iconic ocean places and wildlife people come to enjoy.  If our oceans are too big to fail, then the Marine Life Protection Act is a wise investment indeed for California.



Coastal recreation is big business in southern California

August 27th, 2009

A new peer-reviewed study by economists Linwood Pendleton and Chris LaFranchi found that 93% of coastal recreation in southern California is non-consumptive. Swimming, diving, wildlife watching, surfing, and other no-take activities generate $115 million each year, driving more than 80% of ocean-related revenues, while fishing account for just 2%. The balance of spending comes from visitors who enjoy a mix of consumptive and non-consumptive activities.

The Pendleton and LaFranchi study was commissioned by the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation to help inform efforts to protect southern California’s ocean. It found that non-consumptive ocean visitors spent 40 times more during their visits than sport and commercial fishermen.

This study confirms the findings from a June report by the National Ocean Economics Program, which showed that 75% of California's ocean-related jobs come from tourism and recreation. Protecting the natural resources that attract millions of visitors to the south coast each year is not just a moral obligation for local communities; it’s an economic imperative.