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
Chapter 7: The Value of Recreational Sport Fishing in the Lagoon of Venice
Valentina Zanatta, Anna Alberini, Paolo Rosato and Alberto Longo 7.1 INTRODUCTION The Lagoon of Venice is a site of exceptional interest, due to its distinctive environmental features and unique cultural and social significance.1 It is regarded as a unique hydrological resource and its ecosystem is rich in native plants, animals and marine organisms. As one of the most important wetland sites in the Mediterranean region, the Lagoon of Venice is covered by the European Union’s policy for wetlands preservation. Moreover, conservation of the Lagoon is a priority for the local economy. At this time, however, the Lagoon of Venice is environmentally degraded, due to the industrial pollution from chemical plants and refineries in nearby Porto Marghera, and its fish stocks have been depleted by excessive commercial fishing, an important economic activity for the Venice area and the Veneto region. In addition, biodiversity is endangered by an exotic clam species that was artificially introduced for commercial fishing during the 1980s. The introduction of the tapes philippinarum clam has been blamed for serious changes in the natural lagoon environment, as harvesting this species involves the use of invasive (and illegal) fishing techniques, such as mechanical scrapers, which were eventually prohibited in the lagoon (Pranovi and Giovanardi, 1994; ICRAM, 1999). Public programs are currently under consideration that would seek to restore environmental balance in the Lagoon of Venice by removing pollution and implementing and managing sustainable commercial fishing practices. When examining these programs, economists would suggest that at least some consideration be given...
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