intrinsic and biological benefits of marine reserves, in a broader context some of our marine reserves make a considerable contribution to local economies.
Crothers and McCormack (2008) estimated the local Leigh fishers would contribute to household incomes in the town approximately $800,000 per annum. Although the household income associated with the marine reserve was calculated for all of Rodney District, the value ($5.5 million) still implies a real shift in the focus of economic activity for the area from what was once primarily a fishing village. This shift in economic value creation away from resource extraction in favour of newer economic activities such as tourism is being seen at many levels from small communities (Collins 2008, Gibbs 2008, Orams 2000) up to national levels.
Statistics New Zealand releases data on the marine economy but notes that for marine tourism most spending can not be isolated from National Accounts. Hence marine equipment retailing was the only classification included in the marine tourism and recreation category. However, the Allen Consulting Group published a study on the economic contribution of Australia's marine industries. The report, which covered an economic impact assessment of Australia's marine tourism, marine fisheries and seafood, refining of petroleum from offshore sources, shipping, shipbuilding, and port based industries, found that the marine tourism sector was the largest of the marine related industries in terms of direct value added and employment in 2002-2003. Marine tourism contributed $11.3 billion in direct value added (43 % of the total for all marine industries) and $28.2 billion in indirect (or total) value added (61 % of the total for all marine industries). Marine tourism was also the second largest contributor to
While social acceptance of these sorts of economic shifts can take time to build, this report assists in highlighting the considerable economic value created by marine reserves, and shows the real quantifiable economic value of conserving marine sites. Crothers and McCormack (2008) record shrinkage in the Leigh-based fishing activity at a time when the tourism value for the Rodney District of the marine reserve is increasing. From an economic activity aspect the Rodney District appears to be better off for having the CROP marine reserve.
The study also shows that conservation is an important part or our economy and society in material economic value, as well as the value of conservation to our national identity and way of life.