This paper reviews economic valuation of marine ecosystem services in the Wider Caribbean Region (WCR) for the three major marine ecosystems addressed by the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem (CLME) Project: reef, pelagic and continental shelf. A review of over 200 value estimates suggests that marine economic valuations in the WCR have focused on a limited number of benefits derived from marine ecosystems, primarily those that are relatively easy to measure and convey, such as recreation opportunities in protected areas, and benefits that are ascribed to easily measured market indicators. Values associated with reefs have received far more attention than those associated with the pelagic or shelf ecosystems. The economic impacts of overfishing remain largely unexplored. Regulating and maintenance services provided by the marine ecosystems of the WCR have been recognized as important, but have not been linked to valuation. Finally, estimates of non-use values for WCR marine ecosystem goods and services are few. It is suggested that future work on valuation be coordinated among countries and agencies so that gaps can be prioritized and valuation studies can be directed toward a more comprehensive understanding of the full value of the goods and services provided by marine ecosystems in the WCR.
Caribbean economies depend on coastal ecosystem services, including tourism, fisheries, and shoreline protection. However, coastal ecosystems continue to degrade due to human pressures. Many pressures arise from decisions that fail to take full range of ecosystem values and benefits into account.
Economic valuation can contribute to better-informed decision making about coastal resource use and development. More than 100 studies in the Caribbean contain monetary values of coastal ecosystem goods and services. However, only a minority of these studies have had an observable influence on policy, management, or investment decisions. Through a series of interviews, we identified 17 valuation studies that have directly influenced decision making. Due to the difficulty of tracking influence, our review was not exhaustive.
These 17 “success stories” highlight the potential for economic valuation to improve decision making. Building on literature on the challenges of integrating science into policy, we used these 17 cases to identify enabling conditions for informing decision making. These conditions include a clear policy question, strategic choice of study area, strong stakeholder engagement, effective communications, access to decision makers, and transparency in reporting results.
Our findings suggest that valuation practitioners can and should do more to ensure that valuation studies inform decision making.
The deterioration of coral reefs in Japan is a serious environmental problem. Conventional conservation policies for terrestrial ecosystems are sometimes difficult to apply to coral reef protection because of the large number of stakeholders involved. In what seems to be an interesting attempt to solve this problem, tourist divers in Okinawa, Japan have begun to transplant coral fragments onto deteriorated coral reefs, by participating in a tour provided by diving shops. However, the problem here is that when the transplanted fragments have been taken out from the natural coral colonies, it tends to cause a host of potential problems such as decreasing fecundity of donor colonies, negative effects on the surrounding environment of the exploited corals and low species diversity of transplanted fragments. In this paper, we examine the merits of commercial coral transplantation in marine ecosystem conservation, and to suggest some reforms that could help to mitigate the problems encountered when using sexually propagated coral transplants. Finally, we discuss how the commercial transplantation in Okinawa could be applied to the conservation of other marine ecosystem.
Recent concern over the loss of estuarine and coastal ecosystems (ECEs) often focuses on an important service provided by these ecosystems, their role in protecting coastal communities from storms that damage property and cause deaths and injury. Past valuations of this benefit have relied on the second-best replacement cost method, estimating the protective value of ECEs with the cost of building human-made storm barriers. A promising alternative methodological approach to incorporate these factors is using the expected damage function (EDF) method, which requires modeling the production of this protection service of ECEs and estimating its value in terms of reducing the expected damages or deaths avoided by coastal communities. This paper illustrates the EDF approach to value the storm protection service of ECEs, using the example of mangroves in Thailand to compare and contrast the EDF with the replacement cost approach to estimate the protective value of ECEs. In addition, the example of marshes in the US Gulf Coast is employed to show how the EDF approach can be combined with hydrodynamic analysis of simulated hurricane storm surges to determine the economic value of expected property damages reduced through the presence of marsh wetlands and their vegetation along a storm surge path.
The Colombian Seaflower marine protected area (SMPA) is the largest MPA in the Caribbean. The economy of the main island, San Andres (SAI) relies on tourism. This study conducted 1793 surveys to capture information about tourists’ experience and the value they placed on SAI’s beaches. Tourists considered beaches as the main reason for choosing SAI as a destination and expressed that they would be willing to pay additional money, US$ 997,468 annually, on top of what they had already paid for their vacation to protect SAI’s beaches. The study also showed how beach erosion could negatively impact economically the tourism sector of SAI, reducing revenue by 66.6% (estimated at US$ 73 million annually). This research contributed to the first stage in the development of a payment for ecosystem services (PES) scheme to protect SAI’s beaches. The importance of beaches for SAI and the potential loss of revenue due to beach erosion create an opportunity to incentivize the private sector to invest in natural infrastructure that maintains and protects beaches. This study also informs the potential application of valuation studies for the development of innovative financing instruments, such as PES, to achieve financial sustainability for the MPA network in Colombia.
Introduction to a special issue of Ecosystem Services on "Marine Economics and Policy related to Ecosystem Services: Lessons from the World’s Regional Seas."
The Economic Impact of the Recreational Fisheries on Local County Economies in California National Marine Sanctuaries, 2010, 2011 and 2012, was produced by the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. Among the findings:
Based on a three-year average from 2010 to 2012, the total economic impact from recreational fishing in California national marine sanctuaries--the so-called "ripple effect"--totaled $213.1 million.
Communities served by a national marine sanctuary, on average, saw an additional $74.4 million in income to business owners and employees as a result of recreational fishing in the sanctuary.
Of the places anglers fish, national marine sanctuaries accounted for 13.4 percent of the total person-days of recreational fishing in California each year on average.
Land-based shore fishing in the sanctuaries accounted for an average of 9.9 percent of shore fishing person-days in California; charter and passenger fishing vessels (CPFV) in the sanctuaries accounted for 22.3 percent of all CPFV person-days in California; and private/rental boat fishing in the sanctuaries accounted for 25.8 percent of all private/rental boat person-days in California.
- Anglers spent $79.7 million on trip-related expenses, with fuel one of the largest expenditures for anglers. Non-residents had higher trip-related expenditures for auto rental and lodging. Anglers spent an additional $75.9 million on durable goods purchases, with the highest expenditures for rods and reels, tackle and boat storage.
The Regional State of Coast Report for the western Indian Ocean (WIO) is the first comprehensive regional synthesis to provide insights into the enormous economic potential around the WIO, the consequential demand for marine ecosystem goods and services to match the increasing human population, the pace and scale of environmental changes taking place in the region and the opportunities to avoid serious degradation in one of the world’s unique and highly biodiverse oceans.
The report goes a step further and presents exploratory scenarios and policy analysis to better inform anticipatory planning and management of coastal and marine resources.
Thirty years after the Nairobi Convention was enacted, there is no better way to mark this major milestone than launching this report in 2015 - a report which amongst others, will provide the Convention with the basis for reflection on where it is coming from and where it would wish to be in another thirty years from now.
This report highlights the enormous economic potential and development needs of countries around the WIO and, at the same time, points out the growing natural and anthropogenic pressure imposed on the region coastal and marine environment, and the opportunities to avoid them.
The ecosystems of the Baltic Sea are under severe pressure, threating the long-term prosperity of the region and human wellbeing. New marine management approaches need to be tested and developed. Valuation of ecosystem services in the process of ecosystem-based marine spatial planning in the Baltic Sea region could be useful in improving communication between stakeholders, as well as, the evaluation of progress towards achieving good environmental status. This thesis investigates why, when and how valuation of ecosystem services could be integrated into the marine spatial planning process in the Baltic Sea Region. The rationales for this are many, including recent regional policy developments supporting ecosystem-based management that contributes to the achievement of good environmental status, and substantial work initiated making ecosystem services visible through mapping and assessment, as well as, the testing of methods of ecosystem valuation. This thesis suggests that ecosystem-based marine spatial planning and valuation of ecosystem services could be seen as mutually supportive; the marine spatial planning decision-making process would benefit from valuation and valuation of ecosystem services would benefit from having a policy framework to impact decision-making. Following a template for marine spatial planning, this thesis suggests that valuation of ecosystem services could be relevant to consider at all stages of the planning process, and that the process could benefit from a pragmatic approach, including exploring qualitative, quantitative, as well as, monetary valuation. This thesis argues that a broad and multi-disciplinary stakeholder learning process is necessary to integrate valuation of ecosystem services in marine spatial planning, strengthening the understanding of the link between resource systems and governance systems, and indeed, the link between the economy and the environment.
This paper explores management challenges in relation to human impacts on cold water corals (CWC) in Norway. CWC are a slow growing organism about which there is uncertainty regarding distribution and values. We discuss area closures to protect this environmental public good against destructive fishing practices. Focus groups were combined with questionnaires to inform precautionary management measures that can be used to protect known CWC as well as areas where CWC are thought to exist. The research finds that respondents believe CWC are valuable and should be protected, but that this requires information on their presence and importance. Furthermore, priorities for protecting CWC differed between group discussions and the questionnaire responses. Use-values, particularly habitat supporting fish production, dominated the focus group discussions, while non-use and intrinsic values were emphasised in the questionnaire responses. Respondents rejected the use of the precautionary measure of temporary closures to gain information on CWC presence. Reasons were costs to fishers, and the rejection of the premise that precautionary closures would prevent further damage. This study shows that both use- and non-use values are effective arguments motivating people to support policies for nature protection. However, they are not sufficient to motivate support for precautionary measures that would provide significant but uncertain benefits for known costs. To motivate support for precautionary policies, there is a need to communicate better the types of organisms, services and values that may be lost without protection.