A new NOAA publication suggests that outreach efforts have been successful in communicating to the public the benefits provided by coral reef ecosystems. Study results indicate that in the U.S. Pacific coral reef basin there is a stronger emphasis on the cultural importance of reefs, higher participation in marine activities, higher seafood consumption, and higher levels of fishing for food or income, suggesting greater cultural and personal provisioning service values among residents. In the U.S. Atlantic coral reef basin, residents have slightly higher values for the protection afforded by coral reefs, suggesting higher regulating service values.
Coral reefs face ongoing threats that could negatively impact the human populations that depend on them. The study's findings provide insight into which coral ecosystem services are valued in each region, allowing resource managers to make science-based decisions about how to communicate conservation and management initiatives.
NCCOS researchers contribute to the Socioeconomic Component of the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP), which gathers and monitors a collection of socioeconomic data in seven U.S. coral jurisdictions. This new paper, published in a Special Issue of Water, explores results from NCRMP’s first socioeconomic monitoring cycle (2014–2018). Using an ecosystem services framework, the team examines how these results can be used to improve coral reef management in U.S. coral reef jurisdictions.