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Valuing the Unmarketable: An Ecological Approach to the Externalities Estimate in Fishing Activities

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  • Fabio Pranovi

    ()
    (Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics Department, University of Venice, Castello 2737b, Venice, 30120, Italy)

  • Gianluca Sarà

    ()
    (Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e del Mare, University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze ed 16, Palermo, 90128, Italy)

  • Piero Franzoi

    ()
    (Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics Department, University of Venice, Castello 2737b, Venice, 30120, Italy)

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    Abstract

    In a rapidly changing world, sustainability, if it can be said to exist at all, is concept that has attained mythic status, often pursued and rarely reached. In order to improve our capability to cope with environmental problems, adopting an Ecosystem Approach has been suggested. One of the major challenges in the implementation of this new paradigm relates to control of externalities. The recognition and quantification of externalities is often cast as valuing the unmarketable, and there are several approaches that have been proposed. Here, we analyze the opportunity to “feed” the economic valuation with ecological concepts. From an ecological perspective, the energy required to sustain a biomass unit at a given trophic level (TL) is the same, whatever the species. We build on this central tenet of ecology to assess the value of a TL unit for each trophic position using fish market data. The results obtained were then used to assign a value to each species living in a given habitat, together with consideration of their ecological role within the community. Estimates of both natural capital and functional value were applied to assess the ecological impacts of mechanical clam harvesting versus the multi-species artisanal fishery in the Venice lagoon. Results are discussed in relation to possible contribution to the implementation of a different management strategy.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 2 (February)
    Pages: 643-653

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:5:y:2013:i:2:p:643-653:d:23441

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    Related research

    Keywords: externalities; valuing process; trophic level; fishing activities; Venice lagoon;

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    1. Costanza, Robert & d'Arge, Ralph & de Groot, Rudolf & Farber, Stephen & Grasso, Monica & Hannon, Bruce & Limburg, Karin & Naeem, Shahid & O'Neill, Robert V. & Paruelo, Jose, 1998. "The value of ecosystem services: putting the issues in perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 67-72, April.
    2. Nunes, Paulo A. L. D. & van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M., 2001. "Economic valuation of biodiversity: sense or nonsense?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 203-222, November.
    3. Brito, Daniel, 2005. "The importance of sound biological information and theory for ecological economics studies valuing Brazilian biodiversity: A response to Mendonça et al. (2003)," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 5-10, October.
    4. Farber, Stephen C. & Costanza, Robert & Wilson, Matthew A., 2002. "Economic and ecological concepts for valuing ecosystem services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 375-392, June.
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