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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 530:213-222 (2015)  -  DOI:

Microeconomic framework for the economics of whales

Laura Onofri1,*, Paulo A. L. D. Nunes2

1Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, University of Padua, 35122 Padua, Italy
2Ecosystem Services Economics Unit, Division of Environmental Policy Implementation, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), PO Box 30522, United Nations Avenue, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: We adopted an economic analysis to evaluate and discuss the management of conservation and commercial exploitation of whales. In particular, the paper starts from the recent proposal to create and implement a quota market for whale trading and attempts to address and develop selected economic issues, in order to move towards understanding the economics of whales. We can summarize our findings in 2 main points: (1) the choice of the quota pre-trade value, number and allocation criteria will have different impacts on the way trade will occur; (2) the definition of the rules of trade and the study of the market structure where trade occurs will also determine the final outcome. From this perspective, quota markets for whales will support conservation and discourage whaling only under stringent conditions and careful monitoring, the costs of which need to be carefully valued and distributed among stakeholders according to agreed criteria.

KEY WORDS: Marine natural resources · Economic value · Trade · Quota system · Market structure · Perfect competition · Monopsony · Impure public good · Public policy

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Cite this article as: Onofri L, Nunes PALD (2015) Microeconomic framework for the economics of whales. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 530:213-222.

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