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Citation Information

Type Report
Title Cost-Benefit analysis of community-based marine protected areas: 5 case studies in Vanuatu
Volume 3E1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
Publisher Agence française de Développement (AFD) and Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC
URL https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228377369_Cost-Benefit_analysis_of_community-based_marine_p​rotected_areas_5_case_studies_in_Vanuatu_South_Pacific
The number of reported small Marine Managed Areas (MMAs) driven by local communities has strongly increased in the Pacific region in the last 10 years. They are now presented as one of the main fishery and coastal management tool adapted to the context of many Pacific countries where intervention of the official agency is minimum and where the participation of community is still important. Almost all the MMAs include a Marine Protected Area (MPA) as one of their main management rules. The characteristics of these MPAs, estimated at more than 500 in 2007 (Govan, 2007), with a usual size in the order of magnitude of hundreds of hectares, differ in many aspects from the classical approach that gives preference to large areas managed by external agencies with a unique and important budget. To our knowledge, very few studies have evaluated their economic benefits and costs for the main stakeholders implicated.

The Agence française de Développement, the French development bank, has supported several community-based MMAs with MPAs in the last 5 years in the Pacific and now request a bottom line analysis of their impacts on economic growth and poverty reduction and on world biodiversity as a public good. The underlying principle is that if these MPAs produce locally and in the short-term visible benefits superior to their costs, people from the village will maintain their support for them in the future and some kind of sustainable development will have been reached. An appraisal of investment in community-based MPAs through a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and Return on Investment (RoI) has been conducted in 5 selected villages in Vanuatu. Precise criteria on socio-ecological context and on the presence of MPA success key factors have been respected for the selection of the villages with MPA. Main impacts of MPAs on fishery, tourism, social capital, coastal protection service and option value have been assessed. As far as possible impacts have been compared to villages without MPA (control sites) selected on their similarity with MPA villages through a precise socio-ecological assessment. An extensive fishery campaign of CPUE data collection has been setup in MPA and control sites to determine as precisely as possible the benefits from potential MPA spillover on subsistence and commercial fishery. Impacts on tourism were estimated through surveys and Advertising Image Analysis (AIA) to define the role of MPA in the tourism added value. The coastal protection ecosystem service as well as the contribution of MPA to this service has been assessed through damage costs avoided. A transfer benefit protocol was applied to value the impacts on the option values that local people assign to some of the ecosystem services for future generations. Benefits and costs have been identified for the village, national and international stakeholders.

The investments in the 5 MPAs has ranged from 5 000 € to 19 000 € per MPA for the initial setup phase and requested 900 € to 4 000 € per MPA every year for operational costs. The investments in these MPAs have presented some original aspects: (i) the amounts were relatively low per receptor (village or community) even if it has represented an average annual cost of 14 000 €.km-2 of protected area, (ii) the investment was mainly centered on capacity building in the villages (70% of the operational costs) and (iii) the communities had the main and final responsibilities of the MPA management. Regarding the impacts on economic growth and reduction of poverty, the following results have been found:

Result #1 MPAs managed by communities have made an average gross profit of around 8 900 €. y-1 (std=3 000). They concentrated mainly on rural tourism and fishery (56% and 26% of the total respectively), which represent both important sources of local cash incomes (30% of the total cash sources) and proteins for the villages. Less visible in the economic valuation, MPAs have had also positive impacts on the social capital, the ecosystem service of protection against waves and the option value attached to the ecosystem.

Result #2 Mean observed Return on Investment (RoI) is 1.8 after 5 years (std=0.9) with a potential of 5.4 (std=2.5) after 25 years. Not all the investments in MPAs have been recuperated after the first 5 years and for some of them the RoI stays close to 1 after 25 years of projections when main uncertainties on estimations are applied. Some precautions must therefore be taken in the MPA investment decision process

Result #3 If Return on Investment levels drives the investment decision in MPA, the development stage of the village fishery and tourism sectors must be taken into account. When other success key factors for MPA (e.g. ecological adequate context and effectiveness of enforcement) are met, the development stage of both sectors has a direct influence on the level of RoI and therefore on the optimal amount to be invested. Villages with low fishing effort and no tourism potential have given low RoI.

Result #4 Observed benefits on fishery sector from these small MPAs were revealed through an increase in productivity for the principal gears (estimated to vary from 4% to 33% increase in the catch per unit of effort). Both subsistence and commercial fishery were benefited. Other observed effects include: (i) catches more stable every fishing trip and, (ii) higher maximum fish size for villages with MPA. The MPA effects generally follow a gradient from the MPA border up to 500m before disappearing for the main species. For periodic MPA, the impact of opening temporarily the closed area seems to be low on the resource (less than 100kg.y-1) but important for the villages as catches are visible and shared within the community. Few effects have been observed on invertebrates. More generally, all these impacts on CPUES can be hard to perceive by local people, as increases are subtle for informal and artisanal fisheries. Fishery impacts have represented an average of 25% of the total benefits of the 5 MPAs.

Result #5 Benefits on tourism are present for the niche of rural tourism (through guest house and day tours family own-businesses). The importance of MPA in the choice of the site from visitors was estimated to vary between 40% to 75%. In a similar way, it was observed that, in average, for 60% of the visitors, at least one member of the group has realized some snorkeling activities. Nonetheless, the exact role of specific biodiversity indicators impacted by MPA (such as emblematic species, live coral reef coverage, etc.) compared to other attributes (i.e. transport, infrastructures, facilities) were not possible to be assessed due to the lack of control sites. The tourism benefits have represented more than 55% of the total benefits of the 5 MPAs.

Result #6 Other impacts include benefits on social and human capital, the option value and the ecosystem service of protection against waves. The first benefits have been observed through the estimated impacts of the learning from trainings and workshops. The benefits on the option value have been valued in terms of willingness to work through transfer benefit. This corresponds to the amount that people are ready to give to maintain in the future the potential of some ecosystem services such as fishing or tourism. The last benefit is the contribution of MPA in maintaining the ecosystem service of protection against wave produced by coral reefs. These three values have been estimated to represent 20% of the total benefits of the 5 MPAs.

Result #7 In average 70% of the benefits flows have been directed to the villages. The other 30% went to the national stakeholders (mainly through tourism activities). Main beneficiaries inside the villages are fishermen and tourism business owners. It was not possible to determine any revenue distribution indicators (e.g. Gini coefficient) because of the complex mix between subsistence, customary and market economy. Nonetheless, fishery sector seems to have a wider distributional impact than tourism where benefits are concentrated in a few households.

Result #8 The opportunity costs at local level have been found to be very low and no local stakeholders have been identified as really worse off as regards to before the setup of the MPA. If we take in account that most, if not all, of the direct MPA costs are assumed by external agencies, the cost-benefit ratio is likely to be positive at a village level even when benefits are low (i.e. commercial fishery or tourism sector in a startup phase). The need of compensation for conservation seems therefore not necessary.

Result #9 Observed benefits have represented an average of 7% of the total village Gross Domestic Income (GDI). Impacts have been assessed at a village level to take into account some characteristics of customary, community and subsistence economic specificities.

Result #10 No observations have been found to demonstrate that MPAs have influence on the level of maximum sustainable yield for fishery or for the maximum carrying capacity for tourism. Therefore the hypothesis that MPA can ensure sustainable benefits (from fishery and tourism) at intergenerational scale remains uncertain.

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