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The dollars and sense of protecting the ocean

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, Fish
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Contact: Ussif Rashid Sumaila
r.sumaila@fisheries.ubc.ca
604-822-0224
SeaWeb
3-Feb-2003


Page: 1 2 3

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