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Marine Preserves to Save Ocean Life

TED | May 14, 2010

Marine biologist Enric Sala relays some of the lessons he has learned from exploring pristine coral reefs. His findings turn the accepted view of the top predator biomass pyramid upside down. Sala also explores some of the economics of marine preserves, one of the only effective means of conserving ocean species. He finds that the gains made from ecotourism and fisheries productivity far outweigh any losses related to the rezoning of fishing grounds.

Sala estimates that setting aside 20–50 percent of the oceans as marine preserves (as scientists have recommended for preserving healthy ecosystems) would cost a mere $16 billion, less than half the amount the world already spends on fishing subsidies, much of which promotes destructive practices. In this sense, conservation can be a vehicle for local investment and development.

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