Valuing Complex Natural Resource Systems

Valuing Complex Natural Resource Systems

The Case of the Lagoon of Venice

The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development

Edited by Anna Alberini, Paolo Rosato and Margherita Turvani

In complex natural resource systems, modifications or disruptions tend to affect many and diverse components of the ecological system, settlements and groups of people. This book uses the Lagoon of Venice – a unique natural resource, wildlife habitat, centre of cultural heritage and recreational site – as an example of one such system that has been heavily affected by human activities, including the harvesting of natural resources and industrial production. The contributors explore the Lagoon’s potential for regeneration, examining public policies currently under consideration. The aim of these policies is to restore island coastlines and marshes, fish stocks, habitat and environmental quality, defend morphology and landscape through the strict control of fishing practices, and to protect the islands from high tides.

Chapter 6: Valuing the Implementation Costs of Ecosystem Friendly Clam Fishing Practices in the Venice Lagoon: Results from a Conjoint Choice Survey

Paulo A.L.D. Nunes, Luca Rossetto and Arianne de Blaeij

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, valuation, environment, environmental economics, valuation

Extract

Paulo A.L.D. Nunes, Luca Rossetto and Arianne de Blaeij 6.1 INTRODUCTION The Lagoon of Venice is a complex wetland coastal zone characterized by the presence of dynamic and open systems, involving terrestrial and aquatic, freshwater and marine ecosystems. The introduction of exotic marine species into the Lagoon has resulted in significant environmental damage to the lagoon ecosystem. In this chapter we focus on the environmental damages associated with the introduction of the exotic clam species Tapes philippinarum. Many of these environmental damages are associated with the fact that this exotic clam species has a very high commercial value relative to other Lagoon native species. Such a market price incentive brought important changes in clam management practices. These include the abandon of the traditional, manual rakes system in favor of fishing management practices based on the use of mechanical rakes systems, such as the use of suction dredgers and vibrating rakes for harvesting clams. The latter is responsible for important environmental damages, including the erosion of the Lagoon bottom the reduction of the clam and native fish stocks in the Lagoon. In this chapter we focus on measuring the monetary costs of clam management policies that impose reverting to traditional, and hence less environmental damaging technologies. The organization of the chapter is as follows. Section 6.2 describes recent clam fishing practices and the associated environmental damages. Section 6.3 explores the use of an economic model to study fishermen’s behavior in general and the choice of fish management practices in particular. Section...

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