A benefit-cost analysis of a regional global ocean observing system: Seawatch Europe
The Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) is a joint effort of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). GOOS will provide long-term ocean data based on a globally coordinated strategy. These data will be used for climate forecasting. The Seawatch Europe project of the European Marine environment programme (EUROMAR) is an on-line monitoring and surveillance system of the North Sea and is a regional component of GOOS. Seawatch forecasts and environmental data are distributed to public authorities, aquaculture/fish farming, commercial fishing, tourist industry, research institutes, navy and coastguards. The Seawatch system is now operative In Norway and Thailand. It is at present installed in Spain, and Indonesia Seawatch has aroused considerable interest in Sweden, The Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Mexico, China, Korea and the USA. In this paper some of the results of a benefit-cost analysis of the Seawatch System are discussed. So far the main revenues occur in the oil and gas exploitation, commercial fisherless and fish farming, tourism, meteorological forecasting, crises management etc. It is calculated that in the North Sea, a delay of 105 minutes in startup of the productional of a well will cover the costs of Seawatch. The global potential for the Seawatch System in the Exclusive Economic Zone is an estimated 50 units of ten buoys with a running cost of $100 million per year. A strong point of the Seawatch system is that it is commercially off-the-shelf technology. Seawatch is, however, still competing with academic and governmental institutions for funds when viewed as either a research venture or an operational programme. It is important for public authorities at the national and international level to participate in Seawatch and help to steer it towards the potential it was designed to fulfil namely a building stone of GOOS.
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