A resource simply defined means something useful. Humans have been utilizing marine resources extending back into antiquity, but within the last couple centuries, exploitation of world marine resources have lead to increasing vulnerability to both resources of the natural environment and the communities who rely on them. Marine resources include exploitable physical resources (primarily petroleum, construction materials, and minerals) and biological resources (fish, shellfish, plants, and other wildlife utilized for fishing and aquaculture). A third category is aesthetic resources which include preservation of coastal scenery, wetlands and wildlife preserves, park lands and recreation, and applies to environmental quality of coastal communities. Unfortunately, economic and social factors with our growing human population lead to a myriad of conflicts relating to marine resources.
Figure 17.2. Petroleum resource map of the world. Most resources occur in sedimentary deposits in modern and ancient continental margin regions.