MEPS 345:305-310 (2007)  -  DOI:

Potential costs and benefits of marine reserves in the high seas

Ussif Rashid Sumaila*, Dirk Zeller, Reg Watson, Jackie Alder, Daniel Pauly

Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, 2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada

ABSTRACT: The issue of conservation and sustainable use of high seas resources is increasingly becoming significant, as is reflected in the number of planned international activities in ocean science and management, e.g. the United Nations General Assembly Working Group on marine bio-diversity beyond national jurisdiction. Essentially, the increasing exploitation pressure on high and deep sea resources makes discussion of viable policy options for international waters an important topic. To our knowledge, this paper provides the first global, economically supported assessment of the impact on fisheries of potentially protecting a portion of the high seas in no-take marine protected areas. Such closures are likely to result in relatively little global annual profit loss. For example, closure of 20% of the high seas may lead to the loss of only 1.8% of the current global reported marine fisheries catch, and a decrease in profits to the high seas fleet of about US$270 million per year. Thus, at globally minimal costs, the international community could benefit substantially by securing insurance against extinctions and the loss of the spectacular marine diversity in the high and deep seas, while protecting many market and non-market values for the benefit of both current and future generations.

KEY WORDS: Fisheries · RFMOs · Economics · Future generations

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Cite this article as: Sumaila UR, Zeller D, Watson R, Alder J, Pauly D (2007) Potential costs and benefits of marine reserves in the high seas. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 345:305-310.

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