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Encumbering Harvest Rights to Protect Marine Environments: A Model of Marine Conservation Easements


  • Deacon, Robert T
  • Parker, Dominic P.


We adapt the concept of a conservation easement to a marine environment and explore its use to achieve conservation goals. Although marine environments generally are not owned, those who use them for commercial fishing often are regulated. These regulations grant harvesters rights to use marine environments in specified ways, and the possibility of encumbering these rights to achieve conservation goals creates a potential role for marine easements. We examine this potential under alternative fishery management regimes and find, generally, that marine easements tend to be most effective when harvest rights are delineated most fully. Our analysis suggests ways the marine easements can have flexibility and transactions cost advantages over other approaches to achieving marine conservation goals. We also propose ways in which the design of laws allowing marine easements should follow, or depart from the design of laws authorizing conservation easements on land.

Suggested Citation

  • Deacon, Robert T & Parker, Dominic P., 2008. "Encumbering Harvest Rights to Protect Marine Environments: A Model of Marine Conservation Easements," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt16d083c3, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt16d083c3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Boyce, John R., 1996. "An Economic Analysis of the Fisheries Bycatch Problem," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 314-336, November.
    2. Marasco, Richard J. & Terry, Joseph M., 1982. "Controlling incidental catch : An economic analysis of six management options," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 131-139, April.
    3. Boyd, James & Simpson, R. David & Caballero, Kathryn, 1999. "The Law and Economics of Habitat Conservation: Lessons from an Analysis of Easement Acquisitions," Discussion Papers dp-99-32, Resources For the Future.
    4. Christopher M. Anderson & Jonathan R. King, 2004. "Equilibrium Behavior in the Conservation Easement Game," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 80(3), pages 355-374.
    5. Holland, Dan & Schnier, Kurt E., 2006. "Individual habitat quotas for fisheries," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 72-92, January.
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