Restoring the UK’s seas could pump billions of pounds into the economy by 2050, bringing thousands of new jobs, huge climate benefits and wildlife restoration, according to a new report by Sky Ocean Rescue and WWF.
‘The Value of Restored UK Seas’ outlines the economic potential of healthy seas by examining two scenarios: ‘business as usual’, where the health of our seas continues to decline, and ‘restoring seas to full health’ by adopting a holistic approach and making significant investment in ocean recovery.
The report shows the latter will bring additional benefits of at least £50 billion by 2050.
Carbon sinks and clean jobs
Other potential gains include the creation of 100,000 clean energy jobs – mostly in marine renewables – and mitigating the worst effects of climate change by protecting and restoring natural carbon sinks, such as kelp forests and seagrass meadows.
Bringing industrial trawling to an end and allowing fish stocks to recover could allow the UK to land an extra 442,000 tonnes of fish every year, worth £440 million, and support an added 6,600 jobs.
‘Every second breath of oxygen we take comes from the ocean, but the pressures we are placing on UK seas, from pollution to overfishing, means they now need urgent life support.
‘We must halt and reverse decades of neglect to fully protect more of our ocean – the beating blue heart of our planet. We must invest to unlock the potential of the marine economy, to create tens of thousands of jobs both offshore and onshore.
‘If the UK is to show leadership at COP26 in Glasgow this year, our governments must work with us to put ocean recovery at the centre of our journey to net zero.’
Chief executive at WWF
The report comes as Sky Ocean Rescue and WWF launch the ‘Ocean Hero’ campaign, designed to drive ocean recovery over the next decade and inspire millions to become Ocean Heroes and take real action to save our seas.
This follows the commitment made by Sky in February 2020 to achieve net zero carbon across its entire value chain by 2030, two decades ahead of the UK government’s target.
The campaign also coincides with the announcement that Sky’s Executive Chairman, Jeremy Darroch, has extended his role as a member of WWF-UK’s Council of Ambassadors for a further three-year term.
In this critical year for the battle against the climate and nature crisis, Darroch will use his role as an Ambassador to engage with the business community, encouraging ambitious leadership and bold target setting in the lead up to COP26 and beyond.