Estimating the value of the benefits of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive
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The European Union introduced the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) to ensure that Europe's seas are healthy, clean and productive. To meet these goals, decisions will have to be made and cost and benefits weighed against each other. Many of the benefits that the MSFD aims to create are not captured in the marketplace. This thesis estimated the value of these benefits using a variety of market and non-market valuation methodologies. The thesis initially captured the attitudes of the general public to the marine environment. This was done to understand what motivates the general public’s values and understanding towards ensuring a sustainable and healthy marine environment. The first valuation method used is an ecosystem services approach using market data and value transfer to identify, quantify and value the different benefits that Ireland derives from its marine and costal environments. Then to estimate the non-use value of the Irish public, two stated preference techniques are used. The first, a contingent valuation approach provides a holistic value for the benefits to society from the achievement of good environmental status, as envisaged under the MSFD, in Irish marine waters. Using the results of the contingent valuation approach in conjunction with value transfer allows for the estimation of the benefits of meeting the goals of the MSFD in the North-East Atlantic for EU member states. The estimated value of achieving good environmental status in the North East Atlantic was €2.3 to €3.6 billion per annum. This work also demonstrated the estimation issues associated the ‘modifiable unit areal problem’ for the first time using value transfer. The second approach employed to valuing non-use value, a choice experiment approach, allows policymakers to target parts of the MSFD that will bring the most benefit to Irish society and also demonstrated the heterogeneity of values amongst the Irish public. Overall, the results show that the Irish public will gain from having Irish marine waters that are healthy, clean and productive and that they are willing to pay towards achieving those goals.
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