Incorporating compliance and transaction costs into the spatial optimisation of environmental reserves
This research investigates how to improve the management of marine areas when there are mutually-exclusive demands and competition for marine resources. This study applies economics to the spatial optimisation of marine protected areas through: identification of transaction costs involved with rezoning marine areas; and an assessment of factors likely to influence stakeholder compliance. This information is used to create an optimization model which will provide policy makers with better information regarding the benefits and costs of different marine zoning structures; specifically no take areas and territorial user rights for fisher agreements. Results allow explicit tradeoffs to be made between environmental assets and revenue from fishing activities. This work is being undertaken in the central marine region of Chile, in collaboration with researchers from La Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
To date, studies which have applied economics in the spatial optimisation of marine protected areas have failed to incorporate the transaction costs involved with rezoning marine areas into the optimisation process. They have also failed to incorporate the likelihood of stakeholder compliance when confronted with different transaction costs associated with marine management options (e.g. zoning restrictions), and how including this will affect success of marine zoning activities. This research will contribute to the achievement of marine biodiversity outcomes while minimizing a more comprehensive set of costs involved with rezoning marine areas, ensuring that results have the best chance of gaining stakeholder support and compliance.