Abstract

This paper investigates economic aspects of marine protected areas (MPAs) that are closely related to the underlying marine biota. Many marine scientists recognize that enough is now known about the marine biology for the scientific siting of MPAs to protect marine environments that create associated economic values. Marine scientists have identified several objectives of MPAs. These include protection of genetic and biodiversity, increase in population levels and structures (e.g., age, size, fecundity), enrichment of ecosystems by promoting species interactions, and the protection of continental shelf landscapes from invasive human actions. Indeed, some marine scientists and fisheries economists view MPAs as an 'insurance policy' against over-fishing and other human uses of oceanic resources that have damaged so many of the world's fisheries. The economic analysis presented here pays attention to optimal zoning, policies to maintain sustainable economic rents, and the optimal policing of MPAs.

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