The deep waters surrounding the island of Dominica welcome a vast array of some of the world's most breathtaking marine life, with many types of sea turtles, dolphins, and whales, notably the sperm whale, finding a home off the island's coast. With 70% of the islands' population living by the coast, Dominica's wealth of natural resources, particularly marine resources, plays a vital role in the economy. Accurate valuation of these ecosystems is necessary to understand the costs and benefits of conservation efforts and to guide decision-making regarding these ecosystems towards sustainable choices that foster a strong blue economy.
Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) is working on a project to estimate the value of Dominica's blue natural capital. Focusing on fisheries, diving and coastal tourism, sperm whale-related tourism, coastal protection, and climate regulation, our research will examine the benefits these ecosystem services provide to Dominica and to the global population.
This project will result in four deliverables. With the help of Dynamic Planet and National Geographic's Pristine Seas, the first will include a survey of fishermen's perceptions of the coastal fish population and an analysis of the economics of diving in Dominica. These analyses will also provide an understanding of the cost and benefits of increased conservation measures through marine protected areas (MPAs). The second element of the project will assess the contributions to coastal protection and climate regulation from seagrasses, coral reefs, and mangroves. Third, we will build a case for the conservation of the sperm whale, demonstrating the value of the species' services to local and global communities, as well as within its ecosystem. Finally, CSF will produce a one-hour webinar and a two-page policy brief to communicate the results with key actors and decision-makers effectively.
Our goal is to demonstrate the value of Dominica's blue natural capital to provide the necessary information for making future policy decisions. Furthermore, this deep understanding of the ecosystem services provided to the local and global communities will support the continued development of a robust blue economy.
Photo: Sperm whales
Photo credit: Wildestanimal / Shutterstock.com