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The Global Partnership for Oceans (GPO) is an alliance of governments, private firms, international organizations, and civil society groups that aims to promote ocean health while contributing to human well-being. A Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP) was commissioned to develop guiding principles for GPO investments. Here we offer commentary on the BRP report from scholars in multiple disciplines that study the oceans: environmental economics, environmental politics, fisheries science, physical oceanography, and political economy. The BRP is a prominent, unique group of individuals representing diverse interests of GPO partners. We applaud the call for knowledge creation, but identify diverse issues that the BRP omitted: the need for effective governance to address data-poor stocks so that gaps do not dictate solutions; the deployment of projects that facilitate learning about governance effectiveness through program evaluation; and the importance of large-scale coordination of data collection in furthering the BRP's call for capacity building. Commenters' opinions are mixed on the likely impact of the report's recommendations on ocean health, governance, and economic development, but they highlight several key features of the report. A centerpiece of the report that distinguishes it from most previous high-level reports on the oceans is the prominence given to human well-being. The report emphasizes the commons problem as a critical institutional failure that must be addressed and focuses heavily on market-based mechanisms to improve governance. The report successfully acknowledges tradeoffs—across different stakeholders as well as across human well-being and ocean health—but there is little specific guidance on how to make these tradeoffs. Historical tensions among GPO partners run deep, and resolving them will require more than high-level principles. For instance, it is unclear how to resolve the potential conflict between proprietary data and the report's stated desire for transparency and open access to information. Some differences may ultimately be irreconcilable. The report appropriately advocates flexibility for the GPO to adapt solutions to particulars of a problem, avoiding the trap of one size fits all. However, flexibility is also a weakness because the BRP does not provide guidance on how best to approach problems that span multiple scales. Some scales may be beyond the scope of the GPO; for example, the GPO cannot meaningfully contribute to global climate change mitigation. Nevertheless, the GPO could play an important role in climate adaptation by facilitating the development of governance regimes that are resilient to climate-induced species migrations.
A nationwide survey was conducted to estimate welfare associated with large-scale wetland restoration in coastal Louisiana. Binary- and multinomial-choice survey instruments were administered via Knowledge Networks, using the latter to estimate willingness to pay (WTP) for increments in three ecosystem services: wildlife habitat provision, storm surge protection, and fisheries productivity. Results indicate that confidence in government agencies, political leanings, and “green” lifestyle choices were significant explanatory factors. All three ecosystem services significantly affected project support, with increased fisheries productivity having the largest marginal effect, followed by improved storm surge protection and increased wildlife habitat. Mean household WTP, in the form of a one-time tax, is estimated to be $909 (confidence interval $732–$1,185), with resource users being willing to pay substantially more. This figure implies a mean aggregate willingness to pay of $105 billion (confidence interval $84–$136 billion) in excess of the State of Louisiana's estimated $50 billion cost for a statewide restoration program similar to the hypothetical restoration in this study.
The economics literature on fisheries has focused primarily on stock externalities and, to a lesser degree, on crowding externalities. Yet for many fisheries, harvesting activities may affect the underlying biological productivity of the fish stock by impacting the forage or habitat quantity or quality. We refer to this as an “ecosystem externality.” Ecosystem externalities may be positive as well as negative. While fishing may damage habitat in ways that reduce productivity, in some cases it may increase food availability and thereby increase productivity of the target species of a fishery. Extending the model of Smith (1968), we use three equations to characterize dynamics of a resource stock, profit-maximizing individual behavior, and vessel entry/exit. We use this simple model to show how ecosystem externalities, in conjunction with stock externalities and crowding externalities, affect system dynamics, open-access equilibria, and optimal fishery regulation implemented through a tax.
This article investigates the impact of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification on a Japanese certified fishery. In September 2008, the MSC first certified the Kyoto Danish Seine Fishery Federation (KDSFF) as a sustainable fishery in Asia. In order to examine any impact of MSC certification on the KDSFF, this study examines structural changes in the market. Since no immediate impact of price premium changes can be realized, structural break tests and cointegration tests are conducted. The monthly ex-vessel price of flathead flounder in the Kyoto market is compared with those in the two adjacent uncertified markets. The structural break tests detected a significant impact two months after the KDSFF's certification. The cointegration and Granger causality tests showed that the Kyoto market was previously influenced by other larger markets, but has become less subject to their influence after introduction of MSC certification.
This paper gives an overview of sustainability and management of the straddling stock fisheries for Norwegian spring spawning herring, mackerel, and blue whiting. These stocks are harvested by coastal states and distant water fishing states (DWFS). Because multiple states access these stocks, reaching agreements on management has posed challenges, and some agreements have unravelled. For the blue whiting, the fishing industry itself played a major role in facilitating an agreement. A general lesson learned is that changes in fish migrations and stock distribution may destabilize international agreements.