We present the first joint analysis of the ecological-financial deficits of nations and develop a simple index, the Eco2 index, which is useful in ranking the combined ecological and financial performance of countries. This index includes information on ecological and financial deficits, trade surplus and gross domestic product (GDP) to evaluate the potential impacts of ecological deficits on the overall economic performance of countries. Results show an ongoing trend towards increased ecological deficits, as natural resources are ‘traded’ for financial gain. We argue that countries cannot run large financial deficits forever without negative economic consequences and that globally, it is likewise impossible to ignore our global ecological deficit in the long run. Ecological deficits can only be temporarily and partially addressed by incurring financial costs through imports, bounded by available resource surpluses of other nations and the fact that some of these services are place-specific. Ultimately, ecological deficits jeopardize ecosystem functions, energy sources and the food security of nations, with direct implications for human well-being.
This study provides a preliminary review of the economic value of the ecosystem goods and services of the Chagos Islands, central Indian Ocean, in the period immediately prior to the designation of the Chagos marine reserve in April 2010. The goods and services valued include inshore and offshore fisheries, shoreline protection, scientific value, the islands’ possible role in supporting southwest Indian Ocean fisheries and in southwest Indian Ocean reef recovery and its value as a unique and unspoiled ecosystem. The goods and services identified were largely intangible, with few associated directly with a market. Both the nature of the subject, particularly the significance of its non-use values and the uniqueness of the site, as well as incomplete data, presented valuation challenges. In order to accommodate these characteristics, estimates of annual economic flow were provided in addition to economic values. The study estimated possible annual economic flows of several hundred million pounds, with an economic value in excess of £1 billion (£109), with the benefits accruing both regionally in the southwest Indian Ocean and globally.
Shared fisheries involve fish that are caught in the marine waters of more than one country, or in the high seas. These fisheries are economically and biologically significant, but a global picture of their importance relative to total world fisheries catch and economic value is lacking. We address this gap by undertaking a global-scale analysis of temporal trends in shared fisheries species catch and landed value from 1950 to 2006. We find that (1) the number of countries participating in shared fisheries has doubled in the past 55 yr; (2) the most commonly targeted shared species have shifted from those that were mainly restricted to the North Atlantic to species that are highly migratory and are distributed throughout the world; (3) countries which account for the highest proportion of global shared fish species catch and landed value tend to be large industrial fishing powers, whereas those which are most reliant on shared fisheries at a national scale are mainly smaller developing countries. Overall, our findings indicate the increasing need to accommodate a greater number and diversity of interests, and also consider equity issues in the management and allocation of internationally shared fishery resources.
Interacting drivers and pressures in many parts of the world are greatly undermining the long-term health and wellbeing of coastal human populations and marine ecosystems. However, we do not yet have a well-formed picture of the nature and extent of the human poverty of coastal communities in these areas. In this paper, we begin to fill the gap and present a multi-dimensional picture of the wellbeing of coastal communities, using nationally representative survey data to examine the health, wealth, and educational status of households in over 38000 communities across 38 developing countries. In general, we found high levels of poverty across the 3 dimensions (health, wealth, and education) analyzed, but each dimension also showed large heterogeneity within and across countries. We found that coastal communities had statistically significant higher levels of wellbeing than non-coastal communities. Coastal children were less stunted, less poor, and more likely to live in a higher educated household when compared to non‑coastal households. However, we found that across coastal communities, rural coastal communities had 1.5 times lower height-for-age standard deviation scores (representing high childhood stunting rates), were 4 times more likely to be poor, and were 1.6 times more likely to have low levels of educational attainment. A deeper understanding of human wellbeing along coasts is critical for generating wider social and more long-term economic benefits with respect to coastal marine management.
Bioeconomic theory predicts that the trade-offs between maximization of economic benefits and conservation of vulnerable marine species can be assessed using the ratio between the discount rate of fishers and the intrinsic rate of growth of the exploited populations. In this paper, we use this theory to identify areas of the global ocean where higher vulnerability of fishes to overfishing would be expected in the absence of management. We derive an index to evaluate the level of vulnerability by comparing discount rates and fishes’ intrinsic population growth rates. Using published discount rates of countries that are reported to fish in the ocean and estimating the intrinsic population growth rate for major exploited fishes in the world, we calculate the vulnerability index for each 0.5° latitude × 0.5° longitude grid for each taxon and each fishing country. Our study shows that vulnerability is inherently high on the northeastern coast of Canada, the Pacific coast of Mexico, the Peruvian coast, in the South Pacific, on the southern and southeastern coast of Africa, and in the Antarctic region. It should be noted that this index does not account for the management regime currently in place in different areas, and thus mainly reflects the vulnerability resulting from the intrinsic life history characteristics of the fish species being targeted and the discount rates of the fishers exploiting them. Despite the uncertainties of this global-scale analysis, our study highlights the potential applications of large-scale spatial bioeconomics in identifying areas where fish stocks are more likely to be over-exploited when there is no effective fisheries management; this applies to many fisheries around the world today.
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.
A simple bioeconomic leader-follower model was constructed to simulate snapper (family Lutjanidae) and grouper (family Serranidae) fisheries in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, an area of significant coral and fish biodiversity. We developed a leader-follower game, wherein the Regency government as the leader chooses an enforcement model to discourage illegal fishing. Fishers are then given a choice to fish using legal gears, such as handlines, or to fish with illegal gears, e.g. dynamite (for snapper) or cyanide (for grouper). Given prices and costs of legal and illegal fishing, the status quo simulations with no Regency enforcement result in a large amount of illegal catch throughout the 50 yr simulation, which agrees with expert opinion that destructive illegal fishing is occurring in the region. In an attempt to include ecosystem-based management principles into Raja Ampat governance, we introduce an enforcement regime in the form of detecting and punishing illegal fishing. Results suggest that current fishing practices do not account for the disproportionate ecosystem effects of destructive fishing, and that elimination of dynamite fishing may be easier for the government due to the high profitability of the live fish trade connected with cyanide fishing.
Ecosystem services assessments are increasingly being used to inform marine policy and planning. These assessments involve significant time, effort, and expertise. It is important at the outset to determine which of many ecosystem services should be quantified and which measures of ecological output, economic impact, or value should be assessed. Furthermore, the literature shows that in practice such assessments are unevenly applied and rarely used effectively in decision-making processes. We develop a structured decision-making approach, called a triage, to assess what types of ecosystem services should be assessed to improve the uptake and usefulness of such information in marine planning. Two case studies, in France and the United Kingdom, provide examples of the application of the triage approach.
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?
The implementation of marine protected areas, such as marine reserves and customary fishing areas, is considered an important step toward advancing ecosystem-based management (EBM), but has proven difficult due to resistance from well-organized fishing interests. This raises the question of how the values of less well-organised parties can be brought into the political decision-making process. We summarise the results of a discrete choice survey of the general public in New Zealand that elicits willingness to make tradeoffs among taxes and four socio-ecological attributes: biodiversity, maintenance of Maori customary practices, and restrictions on commercial and recreational fishing. We apply cluster analysis, which provides information about political ‘market shares’ of respondent preferences, and derive estimates of average public willingness to pay for various policy scenarios. Both analyses reveal broad-scale support for conservation of biodiversity and cultural practices, providing quantifiable input from the public in the process of marine space reallocation.