We adopted an economic analysis to evaluate and discuss the management of conservation and commercial exploitation of whales. In particular, the paper starts from the recent proposal to create and implement a quota market for whale trading and attempts to address and develop selected economic issues, in order to move towards understanding the economics of whales. We can summarize our findings in 2 main points: (1) the choice of the quota pre-trade value, number and allocation criteria will have different impacts on the way trade will occur; (2) the definition of the rules of trade and the study of the market structure where trade occurs will also determine the final outcome. From this perspective, quota markets for whales will support conservation and discourage whaling only under stringent conditions and careful monitoring, the costs of which need to be carefully valued and distributed among stakeholders according to agreed criteria.
The objective of this Theme Section (TS) is to explore how economics, in conjunction with ecology and other disciplines (i.e. consilience), can be deployed to support the conservation of marine ecosystem biodiversity, function and services through time, for the benefit of both current and future generations. The TS also demonstrates the considerable progress made in the 60 yr following the pioneering works that practicably established the research discipline of fisheries economics. Eight papers explore various social and economic aspects of marine conservation, and address a variety of broad questions such as: (1) How can ecosystem service assessments be better used to inform policy? (2) How can ecosystem-based management principles be incorporated into governance? (3) Will trade in whaling quotas result in the conservation of whales? (4) How can spatial bioeconomics support effective management and conservation of marine ecosystems? (5) How can the welfare of coastal human populations and marine ecosystems be enhanced? (6) How much of the world‘s fish stocks are shared? (7) What are the values of the goods and services provided by ecosystems? (8) How large are the financial and ecological deficits (surpluses) of nations?
Marine coastal habitats provide valuable ecosystem services, including food provision, carbon sequestration, and coastal protection, but they are highly threatened by human activities. The multitude of human stressors affecting coastal habitats renders their conservation a difficult task for environmental agencies with limited budgets. This study, using seagrass meadows – one of the world's most threatened coastal habitats – proposes a transparent framework for the conservation of coastal habitats that links information from habitat and threat maps to conservation actions, and their costs. The proposed framework and the use of a predictive model of seagrass loss allowed the selection of the most cost-effective actions to abate stoppable threats (trawling and anchoring), while avoiding areas affected by threats that are more difficult to manage, such as coastal development. The relative improvement in cost achieved by using the proposed approach was examined by comparing with other common prioritization criteria that do not consider cost, including choosing sites based on threat level or habitat cover alone. The establishment of anti-trawling reefs was found to be the most cost-effective action to achieve the European Union conservation target for the protection of seagrass Posidonia oceanica meadows. The number of anti-trawling reefs and their establishment location was sensitive to fine-scale information on the distribution of fishing activities. The proposed approach always conserved the same habitat for lower cost than prioritization schemes that focus actions in areas of highest seagrass coverage or highest threat level. The study results suggest that conservation actions should not be prioritized on the basis of habitat maps and/or threat maps alone. Impact assessment and habitat vulnerability at a local scale would greatly benefit from detailed knowledge of the spatial distribution of stressors. At the same time, methods of scaling up the quantitative impact of stressors are urgently needed to understand their relationship with seascape-wide habitat coverage and to inform conservation of coastal habitats.
Detailed NOx, SO2 and PM2.5 emissions have been estimated for cruise ships in the five busiest Greek ports (i.e. Piraeus, Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu and Katakolo) for year 2013. The emissions were analyzed in terms of gas species, seasonality and activity. The total in-port inventory of cruise shipping accounted to 2742.7 tons: with NOx being dominant (1887.5 tons), followed by SO2 and PM2.5 (760.9 and 94.3 tons respectively). Emissions during hotelling corresponded to 88.5% of total and have significantly outweighed those produced during ships’ maneuvering activities (11.5% of total). Seasonality was found to play a major role, as summer emissions and associated impacts were significantly augmented. The anticipated health impacts of ship emissions can reach to €24.3 million or to €5.3 per passenger proving the necessity of control of the emissions produced by cruise ships in port cities or policy and measures towards a more efficient cruise industry.
Momentum behind the economic valuation of ecosystems, after a decade of hopeful support from researchers and policymakers, is currently petering out and decision-makers still do not consider biodiversity conservation to be a political priority. Surprisingly, the economic benefits provided by the conservation of ecosystems have been poorly investigated, unlike the ecosystems themselves. Furthermore, is the valuation of conservation (the valuation of the “interest rate” made on the natural capital saved, instead of the valuation of the natural capital itself) an efficient means to better serve decision-making? The research presented here addresses this question, in proposing a more effective approach to the valuation of conservation. It also investigates how such economic valuation exercises could best serve the decision-making process.
The research method for measuring conservation value relies on a comparison of Total Economic Values for analogous ecosystems both within a protected area and in outside adjacent areas. This methodology is tested in a sample of five marine protected areas in West Africa. For the estimation of the Total Economic Values in these sites, the research has applied most of the available valuation tools and includes all values for which data are available, including non-use values.
The results indicate a predominance of benefits linked to indirect use values over direct use values and non-use values. The marine protected areas display substantial benefits when compared to unprotected sites. These benefits are thought to derive primarily from the better marine health status associated with protected areas, and subsequent higher indirect use values which compensate for the decrease in direct use values caused by the conservation policy and the subsequent limitations imposed as a result. The ‘paper areas’ (i.e. those protected areas with no management plan) show, however, a deficit even when compared to unprotected sites.
The research discusses and highlights the shortcomings of such an approach within the West African context (data-poor situation, non-monetised economies, value transfer to developing countries, difficulties in communicating non-use values of biodiversity) and associated time and space considerations. It also underlines the importance of considering the socio-cultural context in any economic valuation, which provides key information for valuation interpretation.
Furthering the approach within the ‘economics of protection’ stream (after the ‘economics of degradation’ and the ‘economics of welfare’), this research delivers a new approach for valuing biodiversity conservation. The extensions of this research for policy purposes may include management support (comparison of conservation benefits with costs of management, increased consideration of indirect use values), advocacy information (through the calculation of the costs of policy inaction), and mechanisms for sustainable financing (through the development of payment for ecosystem services).
Ocean Prosperity Roadmap: Fisheries and Beyond is a new collection of research designed to inform decision makers, including governments and investors, on effective ocean and coastal resource management strategies to maximize social, economic, and environmental benefits.
The research demonstrates how governance and management reform can create significant economic gains while reducing poverty, increasing food production, replenishing fish and conserving ocean health for future generations. This is especially true in the case of wild capture fisheries. Taken together, the collection of six studies creates a more comprehensive overview of what’s possible for the ocean economy and emerging best practices on how to get there.
The collection is a result of independent work from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, California Environmental Associates (CEA), the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), and the University of Washington (UW).
While analyses of fisheries often demonstrate the potential biological, economic, and social benefits of fisheries recovery, few studies have incorporated the costs associated with the design and implementation of the management systems needed to achieve recovery. Available data and anecdotes suggest that the current cost of fishery management may be quite substantial and that additional costs arising from major upgrades in management could be prohibitive in some countries. A careful analysis comparing the country-level benefits of fishery management improvements to the additional costs of doing so has never been undertaken. Therefore, a study focusing on the current and incremental costs of fishery management upgrades could have important implications for policy design to efficiently rebuild global fisheries.
This analysis has three objectives. The first is to estimate the current cost of managing fisheries in the top fishing countries of the world. The second is to estimate, for a range of alternative management approaches, the concomitant change in cost, also at the country level. Finally, we combine these cost estimates with recent estimates of the economic benefits of fishery recovery to arrive at a cost-benefit calculation of improved fishery management around the world. This comparison determines if the expected economic benefits of a suite of fishery management reforms are greater than the management costs associated with those reforms. The analysis is decidedly practical – our goal is to derive ballpark estimates of these values to ultimately inform the question of whether the potential benefits can justify the likely increase in management costs.
Ocean and marine ecosystems provide a range of valuable services to humans, including benefits such as carbon sequestration, whose economic value are as yet poorly understood. This paper presents a novel contribution to the valuation of carbon sequestration services in marine ecosystems with an application to the Mediterranean Sea. We combine a state-of-the-art biogeochemical model with various estimates of the social cost of carbon emissions to provide a spatially explicit characterization of the current flow of values that are attributable to the various sequestration processes, including the biological component. Using conservative estimates of the social cost of carbon, we evaluate the carbon sequestration value flows over the entire basin to range between 127 and 1722 million €/year. Values per unit area range from −135 to 1000 €/km2 year, with the exclusive economic zone of some countries acting as net carbon sources. Whereas the contribution of physical processes can be either positive or negative, also depending on the properties of incoming Atlantic water, the contribution of biological processes to the marine “blue carbon” sequestration is always positive, and found to range between 100 to 1500 million €/year for the whole basin.
Integrated marine planning, which must take into consideration environmental and social impacts, is being introduced widely in Europe, the USA, Australia and elsewhere. Installation of offshore windfarms creates impacts both on local marine ecosystems and the view of the seascape and is one of multiple activities in the marine area that must be addressed by marine planning. The impacts on people's values (and hence welfare) of changes in ecology and amenity that could arise from the installation of a windfarm in the Irish Sea were assessed using a discrete choice experiment administered through an online survey. The ecological changes investigated were: increased species diversity resulting from artificial reef effects, and the effect of electromagnetic fields from subsea cables on marine life; whilst the amenity change was the visibility of offshore turbines from land. Respondents expressed preferences for ecological improvements but had less clear preferences regarding the height and visibility of the turbines. In particular distance decay effects were observed with respondents further away from the coast being less concerned about visual impact created by offshore turbines. Understanding ecological and amenity impacts and how they are valued by people can support the decisions made within marine planning and licensing.
We present a novel technique for analyzing price dispersion in non-centralized quota lease markets where pairwise negotiations determine price and price information from past transactions is not generally available. The technique does not require fishing cost or ex-vessel price data and employs social network analysis metrics (namely degree centrality and constraint) to measure access to information and network position for buyers and sellers. Our method is applied to the Gulf of Mexico red snapper quota lease market and finds that certain quota lease traders with larger information-sharing networks or stronger network positions have greater negotiating power. Also, average quota lease prices varied by region even though there are no geographic trading restrictions. Results indicate social networks are correlated with price dispersion and inefficiencies in the trading markets that can undermine the success of catch share programs that seek to improve fishery profits and reduce overcapacity.