UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A cost benefit assessment of implementing marine reserves in the Northern Shelf Bioregion of British Columbia Jonas, Isaac


Marine reserves are one type of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that are no-take used as instruments for achieving ecosystem-based conservation globally. Currently, over 6 percent of the global oceans are protected under MPAs, with about 2,7 percent highly protected through marine reserves. A recent study estimates that protecting at least 30 percent of the global oceans by 2030 could generate additional economic benefits of between US$170 and $534 billion annually by 2050. Canada surpassed its 10 percent target protection of ocean and land for 2019, with the country’s current targets being to protect 25 percent by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030. To that end, this thesis estimates the net benefits of creating and implementing marine reserves in the Northern Shelf Bioregion (NSB). To do so, I first conducted a literature review on the valuation of MPAs in general, highlighting the past and current studies on the valuation of marine reserves. Secondly, I carried out a Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) of implementing marine reserves in the NSB and conducted the CBA under three scenarios of reserve sizes, i.e., 10, 30 and 50 percent, respectively. These scenarios were ultimately compared with the status quo, where no marine reserves were implemented. The economic indicator used for this comparison is discounted profit of both market and non-market values generated by marine reserves in the NSB. I calculated net benefits for the (i) short term (eight years); and (ii) long term (50 years). The results suggest that the highest net benefits of $67 million/year are achieved over the long term when a marine reserve of 30 percent is implemented. Finally, comparing results from the three scenarios points to the need to strike a balance between the level of MPA protection and the resulting net benefits associated with implementing marine reserves as protecting half of the NSB could result in a decline in net benefits of 30 percent protection to ~$47 million/year over the long term.

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