Economics of the Ocean Environment

Economics provides a framework for the assessment of the impacts of human behaviors that affect ocean resources. Many different important human activities from harvesting fish in commercial and recreational activities, production of raw materials, transporting goods via merchant marine vessels, to providing habitat for endangered and threatened marine species generate values that are dependent on the health and vitality of marine resources and the ocean environment. Many different social and natural sciences are involved in understanding human and living marine resource interactions. The role economics plays in understanding the ocean environment is its ability to integrate these separate research activities into a single assessment that is greater than its individual parts. Changes in market conditions, biological abundances, and resource availability that affect resource demand or the productivity of a renewable or nonrenewable resource base can be clearly understood through this integrated framework. Most importantly, how these changes affect the ocean environment and the industries, communities, and habitats dependent upon it can be understood over time.
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