After decades of excessive and often unregulated economic activity, the health of the Mediterranean Sea is in deep decline. Ecosystems and the services they provide have been degraded rapidly, putting at risk the economy and livelihoods of those that depend on the sea.

This report by WWF illustrates the economic value of the Mediterranean Sea which directly relies on healthy ocean assets.

The undertaken analysis demonstrates that ocean-related activities in the Mediterranean Sea generate an annual economic value of US$450 billion. This value represents about 20% of the world’s annual gross marine product, in an area which makes only 1% of the world’s ocean. It is stated that, although these figures are impressive, they only partially demonstrate the significance of the Mediterranean Sea, as the intrinsic value of biodiversity and the numerous intangible benefits of a healthy sea cannot be adequately reflected in economic terms.

The population in the region is expected to grow, and so will most of the economic activities. The authors of the report state that now is the moment to reset the agenda, before the shared wealth fund of the Mediterranean Sea is driven to collapse by unsustainable development.

The report proposes strategic priorities to achieve a sustainable economic model in the Mediterranean, all of which build upon the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, it explores in depth two key sectors in the Mediterranean Sea: tourism and fisheries. For each of these two sectors it offers a series of recommendations for policy makers, investors and developers, with the aim to improve their sustainability and to shift towards a “Blue Economy” development model that will sustain ocean assets and contribute to the region’s prosperity at the same time.

Randone M et al. (2017) Reviving the Economy of the Mediterranean Sea: Actions for a sustainable future. WWF Mediterranean Marine Initiative, Rome, Italy, 64pp