This paper provides a synthesis of results obtained as part of a long-term collaborative study involving biologists, fishers, and resource managers—centring on the occurrence of killer whales in the Crozet Archipelago before and after the implementation of a demersal longline fishery for Patagonian toothfish. Depredation behaviour was reported as soon as the fishery was initiated, with dramatic effects on both the demographic trajectories of the killer whales and on the amount of fish lost by the fishers. Killer whales interacting with the fishery exhibited very high mortality rates when illegal fishing took place, while killer whales not interacting were unaffected. However, after illegal fishing ended, killer whales interacting with the fishery exhibited both higher fecundity and survival rates compared with killer whales not interacting. Since whales typically removed fish entirely from the hooks, an adapted methodology that did not rely on determining the number of damaged fish was developed to estimate depredation rates. In the Crozet EEZ over a 10-year period, 33.9% of the total amount of Patagonian toothfish caught, representing a total of 28 million €, was estimated to be lost due to the combined effects of killer whale and sperm whale depredation. In an effort to reduce depredation losses, modifications to fishing methods, such as changing the fishing season, changing fishing areas when exposed to depredation and changing longline length and hauling speed were successfully tested. Acoustic deterrent devices were ineffective in deterring killer whales from depredating longlines. Alternative fishing gears, such as fish pots, were also tested. However, while providing encouraging results regarding the suppression of depredation and seabird bycatch, fish pots were not efficient enough to sustain an economically viable fishery. In conclusion, we discuss how the findings of this comprehensive study can be used elsewhere in fisheries confronted with depredation.
Designing effective management plans requires understanding fishers' behaviour under that plan, because fishers change their behaviour in response to economic and management incentives, which in turn will lead to different fishery outcomes. This study presents a modelling framework for management strategy evaluations which takes into account the response of fishers to management schemes. Based on the upcoming discard ban, two discard prevention strategies were tested for the North Sea saithe fishery, where fleet segments have either no or a generally low quota for cod. Costs and benefits were assessed under the current management, a non-flexible system, where fleet segments had to stop fishing once the cod quota was reached and a flexible system where quota of saithe could be used to cover over-quota catch of cod at a ratio 1:5. The flexible scenario was beneficial both in protecting the North Sea saithe and cod stock and in increasing net profits of fleet segments in the long term. The avoidance behaviour of fleet segments to over-quota catch led to a high SSB level of saithe and cod in the long term, ensuring high long-term catches and profits. A non-flexible scenario had a negative impact on the saithe stock, because mainly juvenile saithe before spawning were caught reducing the spawning-stock biomass in the longer term. A non-flexible scenario was costly in terms of up to 29% lower net profits for individual fleet segments generating little economic incentive to be compliant.
Restoration of degraded land is recognized by the international community as an important way of enhancing both biodiversity and ecosystem services, but more information is needed about its costs and benefits. In Cambridgeshire, U.K., a long-term initiative to convert drained, intensively farmed arable land to a wetland habitat mosaic is driven by a desire both to prevent biodiversity loss from the nationally important Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve (Wicken Fen NNR) and to increase the provision of ecosystem services. We evaluated the changes in ecosystem service delivery resulting from this land conversion, using a new Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment (TESSA) to estimate biophysical and monetary values of ecosystem services provided by the restored wetland mosaic compared with the former arable land. Overall results suggest that restoration is associated with a net gain to society as a whole of $199 ha−1y−1, for a one-off investment in restoration of $2320 ha−1. Restoration has led to an estimated loss of arable production of $2040 ha−1y−1, but estimated gains of $671 ha−1y−1 in nature-based recreation, $120 ha−1y−1 from grazing, $48 ha−1y−1 from flood protection, and a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worth an estimated $72 ha−1y−1. Management costs have also declined by an estimated $1325 ha−1y−1. Despite uncertainties associated with all measured values and the conservative assumptions used, we conclude that there was a substantial gain to society as a whole from this land-use conversion. The beneficiaries also changed from local arable farmers under arable production to graziers, countryside users from towns and villages, and the global community, under restoration. We emphasize that the values reported here are not necessarily transferable to other sites.
Improved fisheries management provides fishers with more opportunities to maximize harvest value by accounting for valuable attributes of the harvest such as species, harvest timing, fish size, product form, and landing location. Harvest values can also vary by vessel and gear type. Moreover, the extent of targeting can influence the ecosystem in which the fishers operate and provide important management challenges. We utilize a unique dataset containing daily vessel-level fish landings in one region of Norway in 2010 to investigate the value of an array of attributes, including species, product form, product condition, timing, fish size, vessel type, gear type, and landing location for cod and other whitefish species, as well as king crab. We also investigate to what extent landed value differs across different communities, firms, and plants. The results indicate substantial variation for all attributes, highlighting opportunities for fishers as well as potential management challenges. For whitefish, the species landed accounts for three-quarters of the variation in prices. For cod in particular, the fish size accounts for nearly all variation in prices. In these fisheries, market conditions justify management focus on the biological composition of the catch.
Economic instruments such as Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes are increasingly promoted to protect ecosystems (and their associated ecosystem services) that are threatened by processes of local and global change. Biophysical stressors external to a PES site, such as forest fires, pollution, sea level rise, and ocean acidification, may undermine ecosystem stability and sustained ecosystem service provision, yet their threats and impacts are difficult to account for within PES scheme design. We present a typology of external biophysical stressors, characterizing them in terms of stressor origin, spatial domain and temporal scale. We further analyse how external stressors can potentially impinge on key PES parameters, as they (1) threaten ecosystem service provision, additionality and permanence, (2) add challenges to the identification of PES providers and beneficiaries, and (3) add complexity and costs to PES mechanism design. Effective PES implementation under external stressors requires greater emphasis on the evaluation and mitigation of external stressors, and further instruments that can accommodate associated risks and uncertainties. A greater understanding of external stressors will increase our capacity to design multi-scale instruments to conserve important ecosystems in times of environmental change.
Coastal environments are increasingly under threat from multiple stressors and pressure from human activities across the land-sea interface. Managing these pressures from people requires, more than ever, understanding what is at stake in terms of the benefits and values associated with coastal waters. This article presents the results of a choice experiment which was designed to elicit society's willingness to pay in the context of economic and environmental trade-offs people to improve coastal water quality. The study site is a coastal Australian city, Adelaide, South Australia. The city discharges a large proportion of its stormwater and treated wastewater to the coastal waters of Gulf St Vincent. Willingness to pay for a package of improvements to urban water management is considerable. A mix of projects that restores 25 days per year of water clarity, seagrass area from 60% to 70% of the original area and five reef areas is worth $AUS67.1 M to households in the Adelaide metropolitan area. The results can inform public policy discussions including the cost-benefit analysis of different water management strategies including investments in urban infrastructure.
Marine debris is preventable, and the benefits associated with preventing it appear to be quite large. For example, the study found that reducing marine debris by 50 percent at beaches in Orange County could generate $67 million in benefits to Orange County residents for a three-month period. Given the enormous popularity of beach recreation throughout the United States, the magnitude of recreational losses associated with marine debris has the potential to be substantial.
To estimate the potential economic losses associated with marine debris, we focused on Orange County, California. We selected this location because beach recreation is an important part of the local culture and residents have a wide variety of beaches from which to choose, some of which are likely to have high levels of marine debris.
We developed a travel cost model that economists commonly use to estimate the value people derive from recreation at beaches, lakes, and parks. We collected data on 31 beaches, including some sites in Los Angeles County and San Diego County, where Orange County residents could choose to visit during the summer of 2013. At each of the 31 beaches, we collected information on beach characteristics, including amenities and measurements of marine debris. Plastic debris and food wrappers were the most abundant debris types observed across all sites. Then, we surveyed residents on their beach activities and preferences through a general population mail survey.
The mail survey data, beach characteristics, and travel costs were then incorporated in the model, and we were able to estimate how various changes to marine debris levels could influence economic losses to this area. The model is flexible in that it allowed us to simulate various levels of debris along these beaches (a percent reduction), from 0-100 percent, and generate economic benefits associated with those different reductions.
Estimating the value of entire ecosystems in monetary units is difficult because they are complex systems composed of non-linear, interdependent components and the value of the services they produce are interdependent and overlapping. Using the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) as a case study, this paper explores a new ‘whole ecosystem’ approach to assessing both the importance (to overall quality of life) and the monetary value of various community-defined benefits, some of which align with various ecosystem services. We find that provisioning services are considered, by residents, to be less important to their overall quality of life than other ecosystem services. But our analysis suggests that many community-defined benefits are overlapping. Using statistical techniques to identify and control for these overlapping benefits, we estimate that the collective monetary value of a broad range of services provided by the GBR is likely to be between $15 billion and $20 billion AUS per annum. We acknowledge the limitations of our methods and estimates but show how they highlight the importance of the problem, and open up promising avenues for further research. With further refinement and development, radically different ‘whole ecosystem’ valuation approaches like these may eventually become viable alternatives to the more common additive approaches.
Cooperation between the social and natural sciences has become essential in order to encompass all the dimensions of coastal zone management. Socio-economic approaches are increasingly recommended to complement integrated assessment in support of these initiatives. A systematic review of the academic literature was carried out in order to analyze the main types of socio-economic assessments used to inform the coastal zone management process as well as their effectiveness. A corpus of 1682 articles published between 1992 and 2011 was identified by means of the representative coverage approach, from which 170 were selected by applying inclusion/exclusion criteria and then classified using a content analysis methodology. The percentage of articles that mention the use of socio-economic assessment in support of coastal zone management initiatives is increasing but remains relatively low. The review examines the links between the issues addressed by integrated assessments and the chosen analytical frameworks as well as the various economic assessment methods which are used in the successive steps of the coastal zone management process. The results show that i) analytical frameworks such as ‘risk and vulnerability’, ‘DPSIR’, ‘valuation’, ‘ecosystem services’ and ‘preferences’ are likely to lead to effective integration of social sciences in coastal zone management research while ‘integration’, ‘sustainability’ and ‘participation’ remain difficult to operationalize, ii) risk assessments are insufficiently implemented in developing countries, and iii) indicator systems in support of multi-criteria analyses could be used during more stages of the coastal zone management process. Finally, it is suggested that improved collaboration between science and management would require that scientists currently involved in coastal zone management processes further educate themselves in integrated assessment approaches and participatory methodologies.
This paper uses the choice experiment methodology to estimate the value of the non-market benefits associated with the achievement of good (marine) environmental status (GES) as specified in the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The MSFD requires that the ‘costs of degradation’ (the benefits foregone if GES is not achieved) be considered within a broader ‘Economic and Social Assessment’ of the marine environment by EU member states. Assessing the costs of degradation as defined by the MSFD implies that changes in marine ecosystem services provided in each State should be analysed. The results show that there are high values attached with changes to the state of the marine environment by the Irish general public. The results of a random parameters logit model also demonstrate that preferences are heterogeneous, with changes in certain marine attributes generating both positive and negative utilities.