It is possible that when we look at the seas and oceans, the idea of infinity immediately comes to mind, because we only see continuity on the horizon, without being aware of the entire marine world that exists below that blue line. The truth is that, despite its appearance of a great body of infinite water, the seas and oceans, and all living and non-living marine resourcesthat make it up, have a limit that we can seldom be aware of. The seas and oceans are the parts of planet Earth that occupy the most proportion, specifically three-quarters, and for this reason it is also known as the blue planet. In addition, they are essential for life, since they function as oxygen generators and carbon dioxide sinks, as well as climate and temperature regulators, which allows the existence of a multitude of underwater life forms on the planet. The benefits that are obtained from them are numerous, so it is not surprising that 38% of the world’s population lives in coastal proximity, precisely because of the products we obtain from the seas and oceans.
With this Green Ecology article you will discover what marine resources are, their types and examples , as well as their ecological importance and how to help conserve them.
What are marine resources and their characteristics
The marine resources are the set of elements, considering beings living and non – living elements, which can be found in the seas and oceans and have an intrinsic or economic value and, moreover, are or may be exploited for human beings.
The resources that we obtain from marine waters are multiple, encompassing resources from which we obtain economic and ecological benefits. However, none of them is infinite, since the overexploitation of marine resources entails great environmental impacts and, as a consequence, considerable economic losses.
Types of marine resources
The types of marine resources have been increasing over the years as new technologies entered the market, so that today the following types of sea and ocean resources are considered:
Animal species are one of the main resources of the marine extractive industry, fishing. This type of resource is exploited through artisanal, industrial, aquaculture or shellfish fishing. According to the United Nations (UN), fisheries and aquaculture provide 15% of animal protein per year to 4.3 billion people. The overexploitation of the fishing industry, as well as the pirate fishery, have helped reduce up to 90% of marine predators such as tuna, swordfish or cod. On the other hand, another living resource of great importance is also algae, which are used to make food, alcohol or even paper and cardboard. We encourage you to get to know Marine Animals: characteristics, types and list with this other post.
The most extracted resource from the seabed today is hydrocarbons and it is exploited to obtain oil or natural gas , although today the existing reserves under the seas and oceans are not exactly known. According to the UN, more than 30% of the oil and gas produced comes from the sea and to a lesser extent, due to their high cost and environmental impact, minerals such as gold, tin or diamonds can also be obtained. Here you can learn more about Mineral Resources: what they are, classification, examples and importance .
Different types of energy can be obtained from currents, tides, waves, thermal differences or differences in the concentration of salt in the water, helping to supply current energy demand. With these other articles you can learn more about the different energies we obtain from the sea: What is wave energy , Tidal energy: what it is and how it works and Tidal energy: advantages and disadvantages .
Another use of marine and coastal resources is tourism, which increasingly goes to countries with large proportions of beaches and good environmental quality to carry out sports or recreational activities (such as diving or surfing). This sector is of great repercussion, since coastal tourism accounts for 5% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The seas and oceans are a great way of international communication; From the first navigators they used them to discover new territories until today, where they represent a key piece for the world economy. They are not only a means of communication for commercial ships that transport goods from one place to another on the planet, but also for submarine cables that carry 95% of the world’s telecommunications.
The seas and oceans are home to many types of ecosystems and are one of the main reserves of biodiversity on the planet. More than 250,000 species are found in different marine ecosystems, such as mangroves, coral reefs, estuaries, coastal lagoons, marshes, estuaries or intertidal zones. Learn more about this topic with this article about the Marine Ecosystem: what it is, characteristics, flora and fauna .
Examples of marine resources
Next, we review some countries and examples of marine resources of these, as well as the danger in which some are.
- Marine resources of the Peruvian Sea: along the 3,000 km of coastline that encompasses Peru, is the Sea of Grau, known as the Peruvian Sea and which is part of the Pacific Ocean. In it, there is an extraordinary wealth with thousands of species of fish, mollusks, crustaceans or algae and its exploitation contributes significantly to the economy of Peru. We advise you to consult this other article about the Peruvian Sea: characteristics and animals .
- Chilean marine resources: in Chile, as well as in Peru, the anchovy is a resource that has been exploited for the production of fish meal and its subsequent export to other countries to feed salmon. It is known that in the north of Chile the anchovy is overexploited and in the south there are no longer any specimens.
- Marine resources of Panama: the exploitation of marine resources of Panama has led to species of white shrimp, sharks, manta rays, sea turtles or sea cucumber, among others, being currently overexploited. In recent years, this region has opted for aquaculture, concentrating on sea shrimp and trout.
- Costa Rica’s marine resources: in this region, sustainable fishing has been promoted, both commercial and recreational extractive, and aquaculture has been developed for the production of marine fish and shrimp.
Importance of marine resources
The conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal resources have been included in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 14 since 2013, since until then the importance of the conservation of seas and oceans had not been included.
The marine resources and their importance for the conservation of the environment are fundamental to the health of the planet Earth, since the imbalance resulting from overexploitation would be very important and irreversible ecological and economic losses. Therefore, the sustainable use of these is necessary because they provide innumerable services to everyone and reaching their end cannot and should not be an option.
How to conserve marine resources
To preserve these resources it is necessary to carry out a sustainable use of them, but what measures are applied to protect marine resources? Well, there are ways to conserve the oceans and seas and their resources such as:
- Increase the proportion of marine and coastal areas protected. Here you can find out about The importance of nature reserves and protected areas .
- Regulate the overexploitation of fishing and avoid the fishing of species that have suffered a drastic decrease in their populations.
- Carry out citizen awareness campaigns to inform about the state of the resources and thus promote responsible consumption and sustainable use of marine resources.
- Promote and participate in sustainable marine and coastal tourism, in which the impacts on the environment are reduced and so that future generations can enjoy the benefits that these marine resources provide.
- Carry out actions that contribute to the fight against climate change, since the impacts on the oceans and seas lead to the loss of a large part of their biodiversity.