The oceans provide food, employment and income for billions of people. We analyzed data from scientific stock assessments, and from a statistical model for other fish stocks, to summarize the past and present status, and the potential catch, abundance and profit for 4713 fish stocks constituting 78% of global fisheries. Three major scenarios of future trends are considered; business as usual (BAU) in which largely unmanaged fisheries move towards bioeconomic equilibrium but where well-managed fisheries maintain their management, maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in which fisheries are managed to maximize yield, and fisheries reform (REF) where the competitive race to fish is eliminated and fisheries are managed to maximize profit. The future prospects differ greatly based on region of the world and product type. This analysis forecasts that yield in major tuna and forage fish species will remain roughly the same as current levels under all three scenarios, while there does appear to be potential for increased yield of whitefish. There is considerable room for increased profit in most of these fisheries from better management. Increased yield will come from rebuilding overexploited stocks, reducing fishing mortality on stocks that are still abundant but fished at high rates, and surprisingly from fishing some stocks harder. Indeed in Europe and North America the primary potential for increased yield comes from fully exploiting stocks that are now lightly exploited. Asia provides the greatest opportunity for increased fish abundance and increased profit by fisheries reform that would lead to reduced fishing pressure.
The goal of food security increasingly serves as an objective and justification for marine conservation in the global south. In the marine conservation literature this potential link is seldom based upon detailed analysis of the socioeconomic pathways between fish and food security, is often based on limited assumptions about increasing the availability of fish stocks, and downplays the role of trade. Yet, the relationship between fish and food security is multi-faceted and complex, with various local contextual factors that mediate between fish and food security. We use data from interviews and food security assessment methods to examine the relationship between fish and food security among fishing households in San Vicente, Palawan province, Philippines. We highlight the local role of income and trade, emphasising the sale of fish to purchase food not easily accessible for fishers, particularly staples. In particular, we show that because rice is the primary staple of food security for these households, fish must be traded with the intent of buying rice. Trade is therefore central to household food security. We argue that the relationship between fish and food security must be considered in greater depth if marine conservation is to engage with food security as an objective.
The broader ecosystem impacts of fishing continue to present a challenge to scientists and resource managers around the world. Bycatch is of greatest concern for marine mammals, for which fishery bycatch and entanglement is the number one cause of direct mortality. Climate change will only add to the challenge, as marine species and fishing practices adapt to a changing environment, creating a dynamic pattern of overlap between fishing and species (both target and bycatch). Economists suggest policy instruments for reducing bycatch that move away from top-down, command-and-control measures (e.g. effort reduction, time/area closures, gear restrictions, bycatch quotas) towards an approach that creates incentives to reduce bycatch (e.g. transferable bycatch allowances, taxes, and other measures). The advantages of this flexible, incentive-oriented approach are even greater in a changing and increasingly variable environment, as regulatory measures would have to be adapted constantly to keep up with climate change. Unlike the regulatory process, individual operators in the fishery sector can make adjustments to their harvesting practices as soon as the incentives for such changes are apparent and inputs or operations can be modified. This paper explores policy measures that create economic incentives not only to reduce marine mammal bycatch, but also to increase compliance and induce technological advances by fishery operators. Economists also suggest exploration of direct economic incentives as have been used in other conservation programs, such as payments for economic services, in an approach that addresses marine mammal bycatch as part of a larger conservation strategy. Expanding the portfolio of mandatory and potentially, voluntary, measures to include novel approaches will provide a broader array of opportunities for successful stewardship of the marine environment.
With the increasing use of environmental valuation methods in coastal, marine and deep-sea settings, there is a growing need for the collaboration of natural scientists and environmental economists. Stated preference valuation methods in particular need to be based on sound natural science information and translate such information to be used in social surveys. This paper uses three applications to make explicit the flow of information between different disciplines in the preparation and implementation of stated preference studies. One approach for facilitating this flow is to increase knowledge and understanding of natural scientists on these methods. To address this, this paper highlights key opportunities and pitfalls and demonstrates those in the context of three case studies. It therefore provides guidance on stated preference valuation for natural scientists rather than for economists.
This paper aims to inform forward-planning policies in the face of sea-level rise due to climate change, focusing on the choice of reducing the vulnerability of property at risk through managed retreat or protection behind seawalls. This adaptation is important not only to reduce the cost of future damage but also to maintain the beaches which are an attractive feature for tourism, of vital importance for coastal areas. Some 421 residents with main and secondary homes were surveyed in Hyères-les-palmiers in the Var department (Southeast France). The survey sought to compare the willingness of residents to contribute financially to building a seawall or to relocating sea-front property. Preferences depend both on common variables and variables specific to the proposed arrangement. They reveal common concerns focused on effectiveness and the determining factor of property ownership. The results also show some awareness of the long-term advantages of managed retreat, despite some opposition from older people, who are also more skeptical about the reality of the risk incurred.
This paper presents a preliminary attempt to estimate the awareness and value that society gives to the maintenance and protection of marine protected areas, linking the ecological and economic value scale assigned to the study. To accomplish this, we took as illustrative example the Biophysical Interest Zone of Avencas (ZIBA), in Portugal. The ZIBA spans over one ha and its coastal ecosystems present a very rich biodiversity, providing several socio-economic opportunities to society. To estimate the value that society attributes to this area we conducted a contingent valuation exercise, considering two different aspects: 1) the direct economic value that people state to conserve the ecosystem and 2) the willingness to contribute through the allocation of hours of voluntary work to its conservation. The values obtained indicate the dependence and importance of this ecosystem to local population (willing to pay to conserve it of 60 € per household per year and willing to give 3 h of voluntary work per year). The proximity of the local population to the protected area increases the willing to pay for its conservation; this could reveal a good local indicator of ecosystem valuation. This valuation exercise highlights the importance of coastal ecosystem services to society and draws attention to the benefits that local populations derive from those systems. These results have also implications in future governance actions regarding protected areas, as well as to justify for sustainable investments in coastal management efforts, to sustain the flow of coastal ecosystem services for current and future generations.
China is amongst the countries most severely affected by coastal and marine disasters. In this study, the annual variation and geographic distribution of the direct economic losses and fatalities caused by rapid-onset coastal and marine disasters in China have been analysed. This was based on a collection of historical documents and official records. The five main hazards include storm surges, rough seas, sea ice, red tides and green tides. The results show that: (1) Storm surges caused the most economic losses (92% of the total); (2) At national scale, direct economic losses induced by coastal and marine disasters fluctuated with no clear trend; the number of fatalities per year declined, and in relative terms both economic losses and fatalities decreased dramatically throughout time; (3) Substantial heterogeneity exists across the 11 provincial-level administrative regions in terms of the spatial pattern and temporal trends of coastal and marine hazards, exposure, vulnerability and observed impacts. Guangzhou, Fujian, Zhejiang and Hainan provinces experienced the highest direct economic losses and fatalities due to repeated typhoon-induced storm surges. The decline in adverse impacts caused by hazards is due to substantial progress in coastal and marine disaster prevention and migration in China, largely thanks to institutional measures, plus adaptation and mitigation actions at both national and regional levels. Coastal China still faces growing risks due to socio-economic development, climate change, as well as subsidence and new emerging marine disasters (e.g. green tides). Further management needs to promote integrated solutions across socio-economic development, disaster risk reduction and environmental conservation in coastal regions. This should happen at national and international levels as disasters can affect neighboring countries, and their marine environments and socio-ecological systems. Lessons may be learnt from countries experiencing similar problems over the long-term.
Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes are proliferating but are challenged by insufficient attention to spatial and temporal inter-dependencies, interactions between different ecosystems and their services, and the need for multi-level governance. To address these challenges, this paper develops a place-based approach to the development and implementation of PES schemes that incorporates multi-level governance, bundling or layering of services across multiple scales, and shared values for ecosystem services. The approach is evaluated and illustrated using case study research to develop an explicitly place-based PES scheme, the Peatland Code, owned and managed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s UK Peatland Programme and designed to pay for restoration of peatland habitats. Buyers preferred bundled schemes with premium pricing of a primary service, contrasting with sellers’ preferences for quantifying and marketing services separately in a layered scheme. There was limited awareness among key business sectors of dependencies on ecosystem services, or the risks and opportunities arising from their management. Companies with financial links to peatlands or a strong environmental sustainability focus were interested in the scheme, particularly in relation to climate regulation, water quality, biodiversity and flood risk mitigation benefits. Visitors were most interested in donating to projects that benefited wildlife and were willing to donate around £2 on-site during a visit. Sellers agreed a deliberated fair price per tonne of CO2equivalent from £11.18 to £15.65 across four sites in Scotland, with this range primarily driven by spatial variation in habitat degradation. In the Peak District, perceived declines in sheep and grouse productivity arising from ditch blocking led to substantially higher prices, but in other regions ditch blocking was viewed more positively. The Peatland Code was developed in close collaboration with stakeholders at catchment, landscape and national scales, enabling multi-level governance of the management and delivery of ecosystem services across these scales. Place-based PES schemes can mitigate negative trade-offs between ecosystem services, more effectively include cultural ecosystem services and engage with and empower diverse stakeholders in scheme design and governance.
The Western Indian Ocean region ranks as one of the world’s richest and most biodiverse ocean areas. Coral reefs, mangroves, salt marshes, seagrass beds, as well as pelagic and deep-sea habitats generate high biodiversity and productive waters which in turn support economies and livelihoods. The importance of the ocean to the people of the region cannot be overstated: over a quarter of the population, some 60 million people, lives within 100km of the shoreline. The region is now at a crossroads as leaders face crucial decisions. This report details the values of the ocean assets, the growing threats they face and the priority actions needed to provide a more certain and sustainable future for its people.
Melanesia is a major part of the Pacific and its people have relied on the ocean for millennia but as human impacts build, locally and globally, can the ocean sustain this growing region? This report finds that Melanesia’s ocean economy is one of the main economic drivers in the region and describes the major role the ocean plays in providing food, livelihoods and well-being. As multiple pressures combine to threaten the ocean assets that deliver so much for the region, the report outlines clear steps for Melanesia to urgently translate commitments into scaled-up action to achieve a sustainable and inclusive blue economy and a healthy future.