Payment for Ecosystem Services: An Accountability Framework to Improve Marine Fisheries?

Posted on 14 September 2012    
POSTER: Payment for Ecosystem Services An Accountability Framework to Improve Marine Fisheries?
© Katherine Short
Katherine Short, a member of the Coral Triangle Core Team has been pursuing a Part-Time Masters Degree through Imperial College’s Conservation Science School since late 2010. For her second topic she has been exploring whether experience from terrestrial examples of Payment for Ecosystem Services projects can be used to strengthen our efforts to improve marine fisheries with a focus on tropical tuna fisheries. Katherine presented a poster about her current findings at the Payment for Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference in Oregon.

This topic is close to the WWF Coral Triangle’s heart and builds on our work in supporting the Tuna Think Tank and figuring out more broadly how to apply ecosystem service concepts in the Coral Triangle. Abbie Trinidad who runs that work recently wrote: “Whether fish itself fits into the purview of a PES is a debatable matter since it would have to be classified as an “ecosystem service” and not a “good” with a ready price in the market. The latter may be unarguably true but a list of services attributable to fish (Holmlund and Hammer 1999) can support the argument that fish is indeed both and that market price alone does not reflect the nurturing service fish derives from various ecosystems through its entire life history. At capture, fish size, shape, and quantity, reflects the amount of food and protection which are provided by the ecosystems that nurture it akin to a “board and lodging” transaction. Clearly, a host of ecosystem services is relied upon to deliver fish as an ecosystem good.” This material guides practitioners’ thinking about whether they can use ecosystem service approaches.

Katherine is especially thinking about the Albacore fisheries in the Philippines and Fiji where WWF is working closely to strengthen sustainability of those fisheries.

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