UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The economic benefits of ecosystem-based marine recreation : implications for management and policy Cisneros Montemayor, Andrés M.


Even as global fisheries are in decline, participation in ecosystem-based marine recreational activities (MRAs), defined here as recreational fishing, whale watching and diving, has increased around the world, adding a new dimension to human use of the marine ecosystem and another good reason to strengthen marine ecosystem management measures worldwide. After compiling available data for maritime countries, a meta-analysis was used to estimate the yearly global benefits of the largest MRAs. Results suggest that 121 million people a year participate in MRAs, generating 47 billion USD in expenditures and supporting one million jobs. Aside from offering the first global estimation of socioeconomic benefits from MRAs, this work provides insights on their drivers of participation and possible ecological impacts. In the case of whale watching, potential benefits are estimated for maritime countries that do not currently engage in this industry based on ecological and socio-economic criteria. Results suggest that whale watching could generate an additional 413 million USD in yearly revenue, supporting 5,700 additional jobs; this would bring the total potential benefits from the global whale watching industry to over 2.5 billion USD in yearly revenue, supporting 19,000 jobs. Recreational fishing is the largest MRA in the world, and can be a vital component of regional economies. Using available fisheries and ecosystem data, an Ecopath model was used to explore the ecological and economic effects of specific fisheries management measures in Baja California Sur, Mexico, particularly regarding longlining effort reductions and billfish bycatch. Results suggest that currently mandated policies will have little effect on marlin abundance in the area. The effects of ecosystem dynamics in an already overfished system must not be overlooked, as they can negate or even reverse desired outcomes from management. All results are discussed from an economic and conservation policy perspective, with emphasis on potential benefits and limitations.

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