The World Resources Institute has been working to quantify the economic value of coastal and marine ecosystems throughout the Caribbean. Projects have so far been completed in Tobago, St Lucia, Belize and, most recently, the Dominican Republic. Reef Check Dominican Republic (RCDR) helped with this latest report; carrying out studies to look at protecting beaches in tourist areas, providing suitable commercial fishing habitats and examining potential tourism in protected areas. In doing this, better management practices and plans can be drawn up to ensure a better understanding of the fundamental role these environments play in supporting local communities and their industries.
Results from the three major study areas forecast revenue losses to the hotel industry due to beach erosion, a decrease in local fisheries income due to overfishing, and potential revenue transfer resulting from training local fishermen to become dive guides in National Park areas.
In order for the long term economic interest to be protected in the Dominican Republic, stronger and tighter regulations for protecting these environments need to be enforced, along with increasing public awareness about continuing to protect and enjoy the benefits of marine and coastal ecosystems.
The objective of these valuation studies is to help ensure that improvements are made in coastal policy planning and that effective management of these important ecosystems promote and support the future environmental and economic health of the region.
Further details of the WRI report and its findings can be found here http://www.wri.org/project/valuation-caribbean-reefs
Click here to read the full report on the Dominican Republic.