Natural Capital Accounting

Natural Capital is the stock of renewable and non-renewable natural resources (e.g. plants, animals, air, water, soils, minerals) that combine to yield a flow of benefits to people and support human life. 

Natural Capital Accounting applies a measurable value to natural capital in economic and/or ecological terms. It can be applied at national, regional, organisational or spatial scales. 

One of the major shortcomings of national income and/or financial accounts is that they do not reflect trends in environmental quality or degradation, or changes in stocks and flows of and/or from natural capital assets.

Global implementation of Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) is growing, with companies and governments using NCA as an input into decision making and communication with respect to sustainable development. An Irish agenda on NCA is being implemented through Natural Capital Ireland. 

In 2019 BIM conducted a feasibility study to assess and understand how NCA could be applied to the seafood sector in Ireland.  From 2020 the second phase of the project aimed to develop bay scale and business/activity level accounts in practice.  The objectives of the project were to:

The purpose of the accounts are to support the Irish seafood industry in the management of ocean resources sustainably, and to support seafood industry operators to create value. Clew Bay in County Mayo was chosen as a test area. Four priority applications of accounting information were identified:

This project has and will continue to inform the seafood sector, BIM and the Irish natural capital accounting community about the value and application of NCA and its potential future uses.


Read the full accounting assessment report here

Reports Reports

Natural Capital Accounting for Clew Bay

The Natural Capital Accounting project is funded through the Knowledge Gateway Scheme which is established under Union Priority 2 of Ireland’s Operational Programme under the EMFF and is co-funded by the Irish Government and the EU.

Contact Us

Aquaculture Environmental Officer

Grainne Devine