Cultural heritage and identity are intrinsically linked to the provision of food and employment is the support of cultural and spiritual traditions associated with fishing communities. There is benefit associated with marine biodiversity for example for religion, folk lore, painting, cultural and spiritual traditions. Human communities living by and off the sea often attach special importance to marine ecosystems that have played a founding or significant role in the economic or cultural definition of the community. This identification may be associated with a strong economic interest in the extraction of the site but as economic significance decreases the community may attach increased symbolic values to the preservation of the site. For example a mussel bed may long have lost its economic significance while the symbolic importance may be high. This valuation should be distinguished from the economic importance of revitalised and commercialised cultural heritage which is included under the heading Leisure and recreation.
In Europe some of our most beautiful natural amenities are clean marine ecosystems, such as coasts, seas and estuaries, which enhance our landscapes and form an integral part of our cultural and natural heritage.
- Beaumont, N.J.; Austen, M.C.; Atkins, J.P.; Burdon, D.; Degraer, S.; Dentinho, T.P.; Derous, S.; Holm, P.; Horton, T.; van Ierland, E.; Marboe, A.H.; Starkey, D.J.; Townsend, M.; Zarzycki, T. (2007). Identification, definition and quantification of goods and services provided by marine biodiversity: implications for the ecosystem approach. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 54(3): 253-265