Tubío, A. et al. (including Pita, P., Villasante, S.) (2021). Frontiers in Marine Science
Humans are deeply connected to the oceans, who provide us vital ecosystem services (ES) (climate regulation, control of natural threats, wealth of its biodiversity, etc.), but the oceans are the first to suffer from human activity (climate change, destruction of ecosystems, overexploitation of marine resources, pollution, endangered species, etc.). Marine biodiversity is a fundamental natural capital in the generation of marine ecosystem services (MES), fundamental elements for the maintenance of human wellbeing. The objective of this article is to empirically demonstrate the role of marine ES in natural protected areas in Nature 2000 Rías Baixas (N2RB) (Galicia, NW Spain) in order to (1) to improve the knowledge on natural capital and ES associated to conserved coastal areas, (2) to analyze the contribution of these conserved coastal areas to the provision of sustainable business opportunities, and (3) to analyze if green-oriented policies can revert the current unsustainable exploitation model by providing real opportunities for business development. By creating an inventory, we gathered detailed information collected up to October 2020 of scientific literature, research projects, press releases, information on business initiatives and public policies regulations on ES and conservation of marine biodiversity in the N2RB (Cíes Islands and Island of Ons, including the Ons–O Grove Complex). Better protection of marine natural capital needs coordinated efforts among all sectors of government, business, and international institutions. It is a priority to generate a greater degree of social and business commitment that promotes the conservation of marine biodiversity, through the design of social and business participation strategies in the planning and use of ES in the N2RB areas.