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Sustainable Finance

Marine Protected Areas and the habitats and species within them provide significant benefits to the economy and communities, including providing natural resources such as fish; beautiful places which people can enjoy; and services to people such as flood protection. These benefits provide services to people, and are known as natural capital.

However, these benefits are threatened because marine natural resources are continuing to decline under increasing pressure from people. Government funding for marine protection is likely to be further limited over time, and alongside this, many uses of and damage to the marine environment are not being paid for. This means that we urgently need new financing models to provide stable, long term funding for MPAs.

This is where the UK SEAS project comes in. We will be identifying and trialling sustainable finance mechanisms in our case study areas, which integrate the services derived from natural capital into MPA management. We will demonstrate the feasibility of sustainable financing by piloting new solutions, and influence policy through identifying sustainable finance mechanisms that can be applied elsewhere and policy changes required to support these. We will also build support amongst private and public sector stakeholders to participate and support these mechanisms.

This work is currently being progressed in North Devon

Sustainable Finance DiagramSustainable Finance Diagram

This is our approach to finding sustainable ways to fund marine management in North Devon:

  • Finding viable finance models for North Devon, for example through user fees, crowdfunding and marine improvement districts
  • Identifying gaps and opportunities for more efficient management spend – like monitoring, condition assessments and statutory management tasks
  • Identifying key natural capital assets and key threats and opportunities , for example saltmarshes provide food and climate regulation
  • Looking at what management is needed or missing, for example looking at management structures, plans and stakeholder participation