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The marine economy of the United Kingdom

Stebbings, Emily; Papathanasopoulou, Eleni; Hooper, Tara; Austen, Melanie C.; Yan, Xiaoyu

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Emily Stebbings

Eleni Papathanasopoulou

Tara Hooper

Melanie C. Austen

Xiaoyu Yan


Eleni Papathanasopoulou


The marine and coastal environment is an important economic asset in the UK, and there is a need for greater information about marine economic activities for the purposes of marine management and policy. However, due to the difficulties of quantifying some marine sectors and separating them from terrestrial activities, the current size and structure of the marine economy is unknown. This paper defines a systematic approach to quantifying the UK marine economy, aiming to capture all activities in the market economy that occur within and depend upon UK marine and coastal environments, and estimates its contribution to the UK economy as a whole. The approach draws on previous research in this area and links sectors used in marine planning with the methodologies used in national accounts. The results suggest that the marine economy contributes double the amount of previous estimates to the UK economy. Changes in the structure of the marine economy, partly due to the expansion of offshore wind energy, may affect its economic contribution. The results also show that marine and coastal leisure and recreation sectors, which were previously thought to have a small economic contribution, are the second largest sector in the UK marine economy and account for the largest number of jobs. By disaggregating the economic sectors, the approach used here can underpin a marine natural capital approach, enabling economic activities to be linked with aspects of marine natural capital.


Stebbings, E., Papathanasopoulou, E., Hooper, T., Austen, M. C., & Yan, X. (2020). The marine economy of the United Kingdom. Marine Policy, 116,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 24, 2020
Online Publication Date Mar 6, 2020
Publication Date Jun 1, 2020
Deposit Date Nov 7, 2020
Publicly Available Date Nov 11, 2020
Journal Marine Policy
Print ISSN 0308-597X
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 116
Article Number 103905
Keywords Economics and Econometrics; Aquatic Science; Law; Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law; General Environmental Science
Public URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: The marine economy of the United Kingdom; Journal Title: Marine Policy; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


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