Essays in Honour of Karl-Göran Mäler
New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Edited by Bengt Kriström, Partha Dasgupta and Karl-Gustaf Löfgren
Chapter 14: An Economic Approach to the Control of Invasive Species in Aquatic Systems
14. An economic approach to the control of invasive species in aquatic systems Charles Perrings 1 INTRODUCTION The economics of fisheries has been dominated by the problem of fish stock depletion. Indeed, the theory of the optimal depletion of renewable resources other than forests has largely been driven by research on fisheries. Extension of models of the harvest of single species to the multi-species case has related depletion to the relative abundance of substitute species, and has drawn attention to the fact that harvest of target species can affect the dynamics of nontarget species (the problem of by-catch). To this point, however, relatively little attention has been paid to the economics of pests and pathogens in fisheries, and almost no attention to the problem posed by the introduction, establishment and spread of new species that may interact with fish stocks. This is the problem of invasive species. Most ecosystem types – terrestrial, freshwater and marine – have been impacted to a greater or lesser extent by biological invasions (Parker et al., 1999; Williamson, 1998, 2000). By altering biodiversity, invasions have transformed ecosystems into new configurations with often surprising and severe consequences for human welfare. Ecologists define any species that establishes, naturalizes and spreads outside its home range to be invasive (Rejmanek, 1989). However, the Convention on Biological Diversity limits the term to those invasives that cause appreciable harm to the invaded system. In many cases this involves a fundamental change in the state of a system. One of the best-known examples of...
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