Scuba Divers Are Willing To Pay More To See Healthy Corals, Sharks And Sea Turtles
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Oceana released the results of a new study today that finds a strong economic incentive for protecting living ocean resources. Sea the Value: Quantifying the Value of Marine Life to Divers shows that scuba divers are willing to pay more to see healthy corals, sharks and sea turtles.

Scuba divers contribute more than $4.1 billion dollars to local coastal economies alone each year through dive-related vacations. As part of Sea the Value, conducted in collaboration with Duke University, scuba divers were asked the maximum amount of money they were willing to pay, in addition to their normal dive costs, for the increased likelihood of seeing a particular species. Information was obtained from more than 500 scuba divers from across the United States who responded to a 25 question, web-based survey.

Average additional amount scuba divers are willing to pay per dive to view wildlife and the total annual value (U.S. $) across all six million dives taken in the United States:
  • Sea Turtles: $29.63 per dive (annual value: $177.8 million)
  • Sharks: $35.36 per dive (annual value: $212.2 million)
  • Healthy Corals: $55.35 per dive (annual value: $332.1 million)
"Divers are great advocates for the oceans because they see first hand what's happening in the water," said Elizabeth Griffin, marine wildlife scientist at Oceana. "Failure of ocean managers to decrease pressures from commercial fishing, pollution and climate change continues to threaten the health and future of the world's oceans."

When asked whether the U.S. government sufficiently protects its dive sites, most divers said no. Scuba divers saw pollution as the most damaging threat to ocean health, followed by unsustainable fishing, loss of habitat, loss of biodiversity and, finally, climate change. These are all areas where divers feel the U.S. should improve ocean conservation and management to help better protect marine habitats.

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