Coral Reef Ecosystem Services Valued

A team of environmental economists have asked Bermuda’s residents to put a Total Economic Value on Bermuda’s reefs.

Household surveys of residents will be used to determine a mean TEV for the reefs, so that fines can be levied against any person or company, found to damage the reefs, whether by ship grounding, propellor scarring or anchor damage. The proposals aim to incorporate the coral reefs into future planning proposals too, so, for example if offshore wind farms are planned to be built over the reefs then their value can be included in any cost benefit analysis.

Project coordinator Dr. Sarkis spoke of the novelty and importance of the work:

“[This is] the first study which gives a voice to the environment, so when people are trying to make decisions and policies, we can bring the environment to the table on an equal footing.”

A draft version of a Marine Bill for England’s coast has been consulted on by relevant stakeholders and NGOs, including the BES. It is strongly hoped that the Government will take an ecosystem services approach to managing our marine wildlife, as is planned in Bermuda. The BES is actively engaged in work to ensure that British Government take an ecosystems services approach to all future developments proposals whether marine or land-based.

It is hoped that the coral reef valuation project, funded by the UK Overseas territory project, will be completed by mid-2009.

BES members and blog readers are invited to comment