Non-Consumptive Uses

What is non-consumptive use of the sea's resources?

What is a non-consumptive use of the ocean and coastal resources? Promoted at one time by environmental organizations, even whale-watching has proved not so benign to the environment, or to the animals themselves, off the Valdez peninsula of Argentina, when boats crowd the whales too close in search of the best view. Close encounters with dolophins at the sea's edge of Monkey Mia, Western Australia, promised a rich source of tourism revenues until researchers discovered the increased risk of disease to these marine mammals and urged a complete ban on mixing with the dolphins.
 
Even eco-tourism is controversial, despite its name. Many environmentalists question whether there can be ecologically benign tourism, particularly involving large numbers of people. Once it was believed that it was OK to walk on coral reefs, and few divers hesistated to touch coral polyps. Now we know this is probably as damaging as snapping off pieces to take home. What look like non-consumptive uses may impose a cost on the environment.
 
So many scientists avoid the term, pointing out that human impact on the marine environment has been a fact of life since the first person walked across a living beach into the sea. They talk rather of low-impact use, non-degrading use of resources, or sustainable use of the seas. Whatever the term used, the topics are likely to be the same, however: clean water, endangered species and biodiversity, protected areas, aesthetic values and amenities, and cross-sectoral issues such as trade, transport, tourism and recreation demand.