Island ecosystems are recognised as high priority for biodiversity conservation, with invasive species a significant threat. To investigate prioritisation invasive species control, we conducted cost-effectiveness analysis of donkey control on Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands. Successful prioritisation must take account of ecological, economic and social aspects of conservation. Further improvements are possible where impacts are measured across ecosystem boundaries, and management is tied to funding. We modelled the expected ecological impacts of control options, estimated costs, and connected this to the willingness of beneficiaries to fund such projects. Finally we surveyed experts to understand the social acceptability of donkey control. Of the control options, eradication is predicted to have the highest ecological impacts across two ecosystems, and to be cost-effective over the long term. Costs of all control options were within user willingness to pay. Social acceptability was highest for fencing, and lowest for lethal control. Though eradication offers the highest ecological benefits, we suggest that lower initial costs and higher social acceptability make fencing the better choice for Bonaire in the immediate future. In this way we illustrate the importance of considering economic and social impacts alongside the ecological in environmental conservation, and present an integrated application for prioritising conservation choices.
This study sought to quantify the potential effects of changes in Caribbean reef fish populations on recreational divers' consumer surplus. Over five hundred tourist SCUBA divers were interviewed at seven sites across three Caribbean countries representing a diversity of individuals within the Caribbean dive market. A choice experi- ment was used to assess willingness to pay as a function of the abundance and size of reef fishes, the presence of fishing activity/gear, and dive price. Despite some preference heterogeneity both between and within sites, the results indicate that future declines in the abundance of reef fishes, and particularly in the number of large fishes observed on recreational dives, will result in significant reductions in diver consumer surplus. On the other hand, improvements in fish populations and reduced fishing gear encounters are likely to result in signif- icant economic gains. These results can be used to justify investment in pre-emptive management strategies targeted at improving reef fish stocks (namely reducing unsustainable fishing activities and land-based reef im- pacts), managing conflicting uses, as well as to indicate a possible source of financing for such conservation activities.
To investigate a potential relationship between financial and marine resource use decisions, we conducted a time preference experiment with 153 fishers and 197 SCUBA divers on Curaçao and Bonaire. The experiment was part of a socioeconomic survey wherein interviewees were asked about their fishing and diving practices, views on fish population and coral reef health, and preferred marine resource management approaches. We use a βδ-model to identify discounting and present bias. Divers had a mean individual discount factor (IDF) of 0.91, significantly higher than fishers' mean of 0.82. Fishers and divers had similar distributions of IDFs and present bias; overall 66% of interviewees were non-biased, 22% future-biased, and 12% present-biased. IDFs and present bias were able to predict management preferences after controlling for demographic factors. However, the effect of discount factors is unique to divers, and the effect of present bias is concentrated among fishers on Curaçao. Differences in time preferences between fishers and divers should be considered when developing management strategies. Transfer payments from the dive industry could facilitate a transition to sustainable fish- ing practices. Establishing property rights alone may not be sufficient for ensuring sustainability if fishers are present-biased and greatly discount the future.