A Seminal Volume of the Journal of Ocean Coastal Economics Moves International Consensus Forward


"A growing recognition of the oceans as a key natural resource for national and regional economies, coupled with increasing concern about the ecological health and sustainability of oceans has resulted in a number of countries around the world undertaking steps to measure the economic value of the oceans within national statistical systems, particularly national income and product accounts," writes Dr. Charles Colgan, Director of Research for the Center for the Blue Economy, and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics, in his introduction to the recently completed special issue of the journal on Oceans and National Income Accounts: An International Perspective.  This special issue presents the papers from an international symposium organized by the Center for the Blue Economy in October 2015.  Twenty-six representatives from the ten nations (US, China, Korea, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia and France) joined in what was a truly unprecedented discussion.

Dr. Colgan’s contribution to the papers, "Measurement of the Ocean Economy From National Income Accounts to the Sustainable Blue Economy," outlines the common set of core ocean industries shared among the participants and outlines the steps needed to move towards an acceptable international standard for measuring ocean values in national income accounts.  His paper then extends the discussions from the symposium to show how environmental and ecosystem service economic values, might be added to the standard measures of economic activity in national income accounts. 

“Developing standard approaches for including the industry outputs associated with oceans in national income accounts would be a major step towards better understanding and managing oceans,” Dr. Colgan said.  “But the real challenge comes in the next steps where the values of ocean resources such as fisheries are added to the accounts, and beyond that, when the new methods of measuring the values of ecosystem services are used to complete the measurement of the ‘sustainable blue economy.’  This work needs to shape the next generation of ocean economic valuation.”

The work on global consensus continues this October in China, with the Second Annual Oceans in National Income Accounts Symposium.  The Center for the Blue Economy is proud to have provided the leadership for this important international effort.

Learn More: 

The Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics Special Issue: Volume 2, Issue 2 (2016): Oceans and National Income Accounts: An International Perspective.

Summary article:  The Center for the Blue Economy first annual, “Oceans in National Income Accounts Symposium: Seeking Consensus on Definitions and Standards,” on October 25-29, 2015 at the Asilomar Conference grounds.