Scuba diving tourism has the potential to be a sustainable source of income for developing countries. Around the world, tourists pay significant amounts of money to see coral reefs or iconic, large animals such as sharks and manta rays. Scuba diving tourism is broadening and becoming increasingly popular, a novel type of scuba diving which little is known about, is muck diving. Muck diving focuses on finding rare, cryptic species that are seldom seen on coral reefs. This study investigates the value of muck diving, its participant and employee demographics and potential threats to the industry. Results indicate that muck dive tourism is worth more than USD$ 150 million annually in Indonesia and the Philippines combined. It employs over 2200 people and attracts more than 100,000 divers per year. Divers participating in muck dive tourism are experienced, well-educated, have high incomes, and are willing to pay for the protection of species crucial to the industry. Overcrowding of dive sites, pollution and conflicts with fishermen are reported as potential threats to the industry, but limited knowledge on these impacts warrants further research. This study shows that muck dive tourism is a sustainable form of nature based tourism in developing countries, particularly in areas where little or no potential for traditional coral reef scuba diving exists.
While ecological links between ecosystems have been long recognised, management rarely crosses ecosystem boundaries. Coral reefs are susceptible to damage through terrestrial run-off, and failing to account for this within management threatens reef protection. In order to quantify the extent to that coral reef users are willing to support management actions to improve ecosystem quality, we conducted a choice experiment with SCUBA divers on the island of Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands. Specifically, we estimated their willingness to pay to reduce terrestrial overgrazing as a means to improve reef health. Willingness to pay was estimated using the multinomial, random parameter and latent class logit models. Willingness to pay for improvements to reef quality was positive for the majority of respondents. Estimates from the latent class model determined willingness to pay for reef improvements of between $31.17 - $413.18/year, dependent on class membership. This represents a significant source of funding for terrestrial conservation, and illustrates the potential for user fees to be applied across ecosystem boundaries. We argue that such across-ecosystem-boundary funding mechanisms are an important avenue for future investigation in many connected systems.
Industrial harbours are a complex interface between environmental, economic and social systems. Trying to manage the social and economic needs of the community while maintaining the integrity of environmental ecosystems is complicated, as is the identification and evaluation of the various factors that underpin the drivers of economic, community and resource condition. An increasingly popular strategy to deal with the identification and evaluation challenges in complex human-environmental systems is to use a report card system which can be used as a summary assessment tool to monitor the health of aquatic ecosystems. To date though these have largely focused on environmental factors, and it is only very recently that attempts are being made to include social, cultural and economic indicators. There has been limited consensus in the selection of social and economic indicators applied in different aquatic report cards but as recreation is such an important activity, typically some measure of recreation benefit is included. However, there has been no commonality in the measures applied to assess its performance as an economic indicator.
This paper is focused on the assessment of recreational benefits as an indicator of economic value in the report card for Gladstone Harbour in Queensland, Australia. It is the first aquatic health report card to include an assessment of the nonmarket value of recreation which makes it a more comprehensive indicator of economic value compared to other report cards based on measures of employment, participation or expenditure. There have now been three consecutive years of reporting (2014–2016) of the Gladstone Harbour report card, and the results indicate that the recreation index appears to be effective in monitoring changes over time.
- The Territory marine and coastal environment is a critical tourism asset generating an estimated 1.7 billion per annum to the NT economy.
- Currently there is a lack of finer scale data on how tourism in the Territory’s marine and coastal environment is evolving.
- The development of the Coastal and Marine Management Strategy in 2017 offers a key opportunity for game-changing new initiatives to stimulate significant growth in nature and culture-based tourism in the Top End.
Economic benefits are derived from sea turtle tourism all over the world. Sea turtles also add value to underwater recreation and convey non-use values. This study examines the non-market value of sea turtles in Tobago. We use a choice experiment to estimate the value of sea turtle encounters to recreational SCUBA divers and the contingent valuation method to estimate the value of sea turtles to international tourists. Results indicate that turtle encounters were the most important dive attribute among those examined. Divers are willing to pay over US$62 per two tank dive for the first turtle encounter. The mean WTP for turtle conservation among international visitors to Tobago was US$31.13 which reflects a significant non-use value associated with actions targeted at keeping sea turtles from going extinct. These results illustrate significant non-use and non-consumptive use value of sea turtles, and highlight the importance of sea turtle conservation efforts in Tobago and throughout the Caribbean region.
Several international agreements and conventions require nations to establish Marine Protected Area (MPA) networks as an approach to alleviating biodiversity declines; however, a common problem in planning MPA networks is how to balance conservation objectives against economic objectives. Here, using the distributions of 102 biodiversity features and 7 extractive uses we trial the systematic conservation planning software Zonation as a decision-support tool to facilitate progress towards New Zealand's commitment to establishing a representative network of MPAs while providing for economic development. Our results indicate that: (i) New Zealand's existing MPAs provide on average 70% less representation of the input biodiversity features than would be achieved by an MPA network of equivalent area designed from the outset using Zonation; (ii) small increases in the geographic extent of existing protection results in rapid increases in representation of the selected biodiversity features when systematic conservation planning software is used to inform expansion of existing protection; and (iii) the impacts on existing resource users of an expanded MPA system can be minimized by using Zonation to identify areas that increase biodiversity representation, while avoiding areas where existing uses may be incompatible with marine protection. These results demonstrate the utility of systematic conservation planning software as a decision-support tool within a broader social process for MPA network design and implementation. The iterative application of tools such as Zonation during participatory processes that balance alternative uses could potentially lead to more informed, efficient and socially enduring outcomes that enhance the ability to establish representative MPA networks.
Understanding the performance of each coastal area as it develops is the primary task of policy-makers in a marine economy; however, quantitative regional differences in China's marine economy have not been empirically examined. This paper offers a methodological contribution by applying a series of techniques, including the variation coefficient, Gini coefficient, and Theil index decomposition, to illustrate the relative differences among coastal areas. Additionally, the coastal areas of China were divided into two categories to reveal the provincial differences and regional disparities in China's marine economy. The results show that although the numerical economic differences in Gross Ocean Product (GOP) among coastal areas have increased significantly during the 21st century, the gaps among coastal regions have gradually decreased. In addition, China's marine economy presents three levels of regional development (developed, medium-developed, and developing). The results of the Theil index decomposition show that the overall difference in China's marine economy is derived mainly from differences within the three macro marine economic regions; these differences account for more than 95% of the overall difference. Furthermore, the underlying reasons for and driving mechanism of regional differences in China's marine economy can be illuminated in terms of differences in natural resource endowments and geographic locations; industrial agglomeration and diffusion; changes in regional development policy; and foreign investment. These findings offer basic data support and policy recommendations for marine economy management at the national and regional levels.
The paper develops and analyses a dynamic general equilibrium model with heterogeneous agents that can be used for assessment of the economic consequences of fish stock-rebuilding policies within the EU. In the model, entry and exit processes for individual plants (vessels) are endogenous, as well as output, employment and wages. This model is applied to a fishery of the Mediterranean Sea. The results provide both individual and aggregate data that can help managers in understanding the economic consequences of rebuilding strategies. In particular, this study shows that, for the application presented, all aggregate results improve if the stock rebuilding strategy is followed, while individual results depend on the indicator selected.
Around the world, governments are establishing Marine Protected Area (MPA) networks to meet their commitments to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. MPAs are often used in an effort to conserve biodiversity and manage fisheries stocks. However, their efficacy and effect on fisheries yields remain unclear. We conducted a case-study on the economic impact of different MPA network design strategies on the Atlantic cod ( Gadus morhua) fisheries in Canada. The open-source R package that we developed to analyze this case study can be customized to conduct similar analyses for other systems. We used a spatially-explicit individual-based model of population growth and dispersal coupled with a fisheries management and harvesting component. We found that MPA networks that both protect the target species’ habitat and were spatially optimized to improve population connectivity had the highest net present value (i.e., were most profitable for the fishing industry). These higher profits were achieved primarily by reducing the distance travelled for fishing and reducing the probability of a moratorium event. These findings add to a growing body of knowledge demonstrating the importance of incorporating population connectivity in the MPA planning process, as well as the ability of this R package to explore ecological and economic consequences of alternative MPA network designs.
Marine ecosystems provide a range of valuable services, some of which come with market prices to quantify value and others for which markets have not set prices. Lacking perfect information, policy makers are at risk of undercounting non-priced values and services, leading to biases in policy decisions in favor of services valued through markets. Furthermore, understanding users’ valuation of specific site attributes, such as marine biodiversity, can contribute to effective policy decisions. This paper presents a non-market valuation of private recreational boaters (PRBs) in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary located in California, USA, using data from an intercept survey conducted in 2006 and 2007. A Random Utility Model is used to estimate PRBs’ daily trip values and the importance of specific site attributes. The average consumer surplus was estimated at $48.62 per trip, with a total non-market value of non-consumptive private recreational boating of $86,325 annually. PRBs show a preference for visiting locations with lower exposure to prevailing winds and greater species richness and abundance, which to the authors’ knowledge is the first time that PRBs have been found to value biological diversity in site choices. Furthermore, this suggests that improved biodiversity and productivity of marine ecosystems contribute to better recreational experiences. The results from this study reveal the importance of including non-market services and stakeholder's preferences into policy decisions.