A Bioeconomic Model for Evaluating the Role of Conservation Finance in Fisheries

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Current contributions from public and philanthropic sources, while significant, are insufficient to finance global fisheries reform. Private capital markets are a largely untapped resource that many argue can help support and sustain sustainable fisheries management. This paper explores this topic by analyzing the challenges and opportunities facing conservation finance, a growing industry seeking to balance financial returns with improvements to local environmental, economic, and social conditions. Using open access fisheries as context, we present the first application of a bioeconomic model to inform conservation finance for fisheries. We identify three strategies described by the conservation finance industry and evaluate their capacity to generate financial returns and to promote positive triple bottom-line impacts. Our model suggests that, in order for conservation finance to be effective, strong fisheries governance must first be established. If governance is not established, then conservation finance is faced with a perverse incentive in which a conservation finance project can generate value and increase employment while depleting the stock biomass. The results also suggest a tradeoff between environmental and social outcomes for fisheries operating at open access: in order to promote the recovery of the fish stock, fishing effort must be reduced. This conflicts with the stated goals of conservation finance and the broader sustainable development community to promote sustainable natural resource use without impacting the livelihoods of local stakeholders.
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Environmental economics; Bioeconomics; Conservation Finance; fisheries; Natural resource management
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Gomez, Miguel I.
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Sethi, Suresh Andrew
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Applied Economics and Management
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M.S., Applied Economics and Management
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Master of Science
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Government Document
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dissertation or thesis
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