Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The dollars and sense of protecting the ocean

04.02.2003


Groundbreaking research released on the economics of marine protected areas



For the first time anywhere, the analysis of leading economists and ecologists worldwide has been brought together in one place, to examine the economics of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Two special issues of the international research journal Natural Resource Modeling (Vol. 15 Nos. 3 &4) have just been published, within which the editors, Ussif Rashid Sumaila (University of British Columbia) and Anthony Charles (Saint Mary’s University) have assembled ten critically important research articles on MPAs. The articles are by leading economists and ecologists such as Lee Anderson, Rognvaldur Hannesson, Daniel Pauly and Callum Roberts. A wide range of approaches are used to assess the benefits and costs of running MPAs, how economic and ecological factors interact to determine how MPAs fare, and how economics has an influence on decisions about the size and location of MPAs in the ocean.

Over-fishing, habitat destruction and pollution are harming much of the world’s oceans and the life within them. For instance, recent studies have shown that the biomass of ’food’ or high tropic level fishes in the North Atlantic have declined by two-thirds since the early 1950s, and that world fisheries catches have been declining by about 700 thousand tonnes per year since the late 1980s. Recent scientific evidence show that ’fencing off’ parts of the sea, in marine protected areas (MPAs), where fishing and other human uses are closely regulated is a good strategy that can help protect, and possibly restore ocean richness and marine biodiversity. Hence, there seem to be clear ecological advantages to MPA establishment, but what are the economic pro’s and con’s? Until now, there has been little coordinated effort to explore economic questions related to the creation of MPAs.


Sample Results

Taken together, the studies show that there is no single, simple answer to the question: are MPAs a good thing? There can be clear conservation benefits: for example, Fishery benefits of fully protected marine reserves: why habitat and behavior are important, by Roberts and Sargant, shows that MPAs can help maintain the long-term survival of migratory species such as billfish, tunas and sharks, that are most under pressure from fisheries. Both The economics of marine reserves, by Hannesson, and A bioeconomic analysis of marine reserves, by Anderson, show that in most cases MPAs succeed in helping fish populations to increase or to be kept at ’safe’ levels. However, in both the latter cases, the results show that the overall catch declines. A counter-example of this is given in A model of tropical marine reserve - fishery linkages, by Rodwell, Roberts, Barbier, and McClanahan, showing that if a fishery starts out heavily exploited, an MPA could produce higher catches, as well as conserving the fish. The impacts of marine reserves on limited-entry fisheries, by Sanchirico and Wilen, also describes a win-win situation, in which both the fish stock and the value of the fishery increase.

When fishing is not the only ocean use, things can get complicated, as shown in Fish, fishers, seals and tourists: Economic consequences of creating a marine reserve in a multi-species, multi-activity context, by Boncoeur, Alban, Guyader and Thebaud. An examination of MPA economics for a ecosystem containing both fish and seals shows that in one particular situation, the MPA may be good for ecotourism (seal watching) but not for the fishery. Contingent valuation of marine protected areas: Southern California rocky intertidal ecosystems, by Hall, Hall and Murray estimates the benefit of more effective enforcement and management of MPAs designed to avoid coastal ecosystem decay.

Some of the studies produce estimates of the economically desirable MPA size in particular situations – estimates that are well beyond what we see in most of the world. For example, the analysis in A model for the bioeconomic evaluation of marine protected area size and placement in the North Sea, by Beattie, Sumaila, Christensen and Pauly, suggests that an MPA 25-40% of the area being studied would be economically best, while Marine protected area performance in a model of the fishery, by Sumaila, indicates (in the face of true uncertainty) an economically optimal MPA size 50-70% of the total area. These studies provide important insights into the crucial matter of just how much ocean we need to protect.

The goal of a protected area, as its name suggests, is to protect a specified location from certain human impacts. Marine Protected Areas are simply protected areas in the ocean – designated ocean spaces within which human activities are regulated more stringently than elsewhere, typically to achieve certain conservation objectives. The regulation of human uses can range in format from marine reserves (’no-take’ areas in which any form of extraction is prohibited) to ’zoned’ areas in which a variety of uses are permitted to some extent and managed in an integrated manner. MPAs are of great interest both in fishery management and as a tool for ’integrated ocean management’, dealing not only with fishing but also ocean tourism, mining, aquaculture, and so on.

While the successful development and implementation of MPAs clearly involves biological and technical matters, as big a challenge lies on the human side – with connections between MPAs, ocean users and coastal communities, and the task of maximizing overall benefits for society. After all, the implementation of MPAs – like human actions of any sort – produces both benefits and costs. Furthermore, these benefits and costs do not appear uniformly: some may benefit (or suffer) more than others, and both benefits and costs may appear at different stages in time.


Information on how to get hold of copies of the special issues can be obtained by emailing to rmmc@asu.edu

For further information please contact:

Ussif Rashid Sumaila
Fisheries Economics Research Unit
Fisheries Centre
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z4
Canada
1-604-822-0224
r.sumaila@fisheries.ubc.ca

Anthony Charles
Management Science / Environmental Studies
Saint Mary’s University
Halifax N.S. Canada B3H 3C3
1-902-420-5732
t.charles@smu.ca

John Hearne
Editor, Natural Resource Modeling
Department of Mathematics
University of Natal
Private Bag X01 3209
Scottsville, South Africa
hearne@nu.ac.za




Ussif Rashid Sumaila | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.seaweb.org/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
23.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>