Scholarly article on topic 'Payments for ecosystem services in developing world fisheries'

Payments for ecosystem services in developing world fisheries Academic research paper on "Law"

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Academic research paper on topic "Payments for ecosystem services in developing world fisheries"


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Payments for ecosystem services in developing world fisheries

Annabelle J Bladon1, Katherine M Short2, Essam Yassin Mohammed3 & E J Milner-Gulland1

imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7PY, UK; 2FLOW Collaborative (Fisheries Livelihoods Oceans Well-being), P.O. Box 7669, Newtown Wellington 6242, New Zealand; international Institute for Environment and Development, 80-86 Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8NH, UK


Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) is a powerful economic tool that gives positive conditional incentives for the provision of additional ecosystem services over the status quo, which has been used widely in terrestrial conservation. Interest in the concept of marine PES has recently emerged, but the fluid, transboundary and often common pool nature of marine ecosystems presents challenges for PES design and implementation. Here, we consider the potential role of PES in addressing current gaps in fisheries management. Used in combination with conventional regulatory approaches, PES may increase private sector engagement and generate more sustainable financing for fisheries management whilst spreading accountability throughout the supply chain. The approach is most likely to be feasible and effective in commercially valuable fisheries with: (i) demand for one or more ecosystem service and a threat to supply; (ii) suitable baseline data available and potential management actions underpinned by robust science; (iii) clarity and security of property rights; (iv) capacity for hybrid multi-level governance; (v) capacity for rigorous monitoring, control and surveillance; and (vi) potential for financial sus-tainability of the scheme. An examination of four contrasting fisheries - Namibian hake, Mozambican shallow-water shrimp, Western and Central Pacific skipjack


Annabelle J Bladon, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7PY, UK

Tel.: +447910034692 E-mail: a.bladon12@

Received 15 May 2014

Accepted 4 Aug 2014

© 2014 The Authors. Fish and Fisheries Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. DOI: 10.1111/faf.12095

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License,

which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

tuna and Bangladesh hilsa - demonstrates that a developing world fishery will rarely fulfil each of these preconditions a priori, but that the potential for successful application of PES still exists. In practice, PES design will depend on the institutional context and require creative and innovative approaches to the maintenance of conditionality and additionality.

Keywords Additionality, conditionality, financial sustainability, positive incentives, shrimp, tuna


Marine fisheries are of significant value to the global economy, both in extractive terms - through industry, employment and food security - and in terms of their delivery of other ecosystem services (ES) such as nutrient cycling and biological regulation (World Bank 2010; TEEB 2012). Nevertheless, inadequate fisheries policy and management have led to an international decline in marine fish stocks and ecosystem health, and economic under-performance (Ye et al. 2012). Subsequently, there has been a shift away from traditional single-species fisheries management towards an ecosystem-based approach and the concurrent development of and government commitments to a plethora of new management tools such as marine protected areas (MPAs) and catch shares (Pikitch et al. 2004; FAO 2008; Vietch et al. 2012).

However, despite individual sustainable fisheries management achievements (Hilborn 2007), current efforts are still not operating at the scale necessary to rebuild fisheries globally (Beddington et al. 2007; Mora et al. 2009; Ye et al. 2012). Effective implementation of management tools is limited by a lack of adequate financing and appropriate institutional support, particularly in the developing world where fisheries often lack data, political will and capacity for monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) (Grafton et al. 2008). The major challenge now remaining is how to create the enabling conditions for sustainable investment in innovative approaches to fisheries management (Rangeley and Davies 2012).

Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) is a tool widely used in terrestrial conservation to change incentives for environmental decisions, particularly in middle-income developing countries (Engel et al. 2008; Muradian et al. 2010). Although there has been little empirical analysis of PES implementation and efficacy (Farley and Costanza 2010), evidence

suggests that PES can effectively complement conventional regulatory approaches to conservation (Wunder et al. 2008). While any conservation intervention is less likely to succeed in weak institutional settings, PES may facilitate the strengthening of institutions and ease cooperation in cases where governance is poor (Kosoy et al. 2007; Clements et al. 2010; Wunder 2013). Furthermore, the approach can be sustainable in the long term, especially when integrated with other interventions such as community management (Clements et al. 2010; Fisher 2012) and when developed in parallel with creative financing mechanisms such as trust funds (Goldman-Benner et al. 2012).

The concept of marine PES is still nascent, largely due to the fluid, transboundary and often common pool nature of marine ecosystems. Discussion has been directed towards the development of payments for the protection of coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, particularly for their role in carbon sequestration, where lessons can be drawn more easily from terrestrial experience (Lau 2012; Locatelli et al. 2014). However, interest in the application of PES in fisheries has emerged in recent years (Lau 2012; Binet et al. 2013; Mohammed 2013; Micheli et al. 2014). Attention has in particular focused on developing world fishing and coastal communities, but critical discussion and empirical analysis are limited (Barr and Mourato 2009; Begossi et al. 2011a; Barr 2012; Hallwass et al. 2013; Begossi 2014). In this study, we explore the potential for a PES approach to help address current challenges and gaps in fisheries management in the developing world. Although they may present the greatest tests for PES in terms of weak governance, ill-defined property rights and lack of technical resources and capacity, developing countries also present some of the greatest opportunities for additional gains, particularly through possible contributions to food security and poverty alleviation.

We first outline the principles that, in theory, distinguish PES from other fisheries management tools and explore the ways in which PES may be applied in fisheries. We then discuss the institutional and environmental preconditions that would help to ensure successful delivery of a fisheries PES scheme in practice, before illustrating some real-world opportunities for and limitations to the approach using four contrasting case-studies.

The defining principles of PES in a fisheries context

PES is most commonly defined as a voluntary transaction whereby a well-defined ES (or actions likely to secure it) is 'bought' from at least one ES provider by at least one buyer, if and only if the payment is conditional on provision of that ES (Wunder 2005). In other words, it translates external values into positive incentives for behavioural changes, which are expected to increase the provision of one or more ES. These positive incentives, which might be financial or in-kind, are paid to the ES provider (the individual or group accountable for ES delivery) for carrying out a specific management activity. Although Wunder's definition is the clearest and most detailed, in practice PES schemes rarely fulfil each of his five criteria (Muradian et al. 2010). Recent conceptualizations focus on the core principles of positive incentives and conditionally and emphasize the consideration of additionally - the degree to which a PES scheme adds value over what would have happened in its absence (Sommerville et al. 2009; Tac-coni 2012). Here, we outline the principles that theoretically set PES apart from other fisheries management tools and the extent to which they may be addressed in a fisheries context (Fig. 1).

Clearly defined ES

Theory states that the service(s) in question should be clearly defined in order for provision to be quantifiable (Wunder 2005; Tacconi 2012), but the interconnectivity of marine ES makes them difficult to define in time and space. For example, if payments were made to fishers for avoiding a specific area of habitat with the aim of increasing fish provision, this service might be difficult to disentangle from other ES that may also be delivered through this action (such as improved benthic habitat). 'Bundled' PES schemes could be used to address

Max = value of ES to buyer


Min = opportunity costs incurred by provider


/ Buyers x

fcondWong/rty"! I Management activity]..............■••"'* /

Seafood sector

\ Government / \_____

ES provision I

1 .........' , Desired _J

r outcome

Figure 1 Schematic for a fisheries PES. Buyers may include seafood supply chain actors, governments and NGOs and may form public-private partnerships; the maximum payment is represented by the value of the ES in question to the buyer and the minimum by the opportunity costs incurred by the provider for carrying out the management activity, which leads to ES provision; desired outcomes might include fishery recovery and therefore enhanced profitability or provision of other ES of concern to the buyer; payment should be conditional on provider behaviour or ES outcomes.

these challenges, whereby payment is received for multiple ES grouped together in a single package of conservation outcomes (e.g. habitat conservation or fishery performance), which, in turn, may raise the incentive for management activities with multiple potential outcomes and may reduce trade-offs between ES (Lau 2012). Lau (2012) also considers the benefits of 'stacking', whereby separate payments are generated for distinct ES, but this kind of payment structure is less able to reflect the complexity and interconnected nature of ecosystems. Successful implementation of bundling in terrestrial conservation has been rare (Engel et al. 2008); it can be more costly and difficult than dealing with single ES due to an increase in stakeholder groups involved (Lau 2012). However, efforts are underway to address these challenges (Wendland et al. 2010; LaRocco and Deal 2011), and lessons from work on markets for the bundling of agricultural products with other ES in Africa and Latin America may be applicable to the bundling of seafood with other ES (Andersson et al. 2010).

Buyers and providers

The potential providers in a fisheries PES scheme range from individuals or communities of small-scale fishers to industrial fishing fleets to nation states. If a provider is to receive payment

and thereby be held accountable for ES delivery, or at least for management actions, they must have some level of ownership or control over ES delivery (Wunder 2013). However, property rights are often unclear in fisheries, particularly in the developing world where they may be traditional or undocumented, making identification of providers potentially difficult (Muradian 2013). Even when rights are defined and enforced, the high mobility of marine resources makes it difficult to prevent others from access to the resources and their ES, which might reduce the suitability of a PES approach (Kemkes et al. 2010). Furthermore, fisheries stakeholders tend to be numerous, dispersed and mobile; in a scheme where fishers are the providers, although as a group they may have a strong incentive to change their behaviour, as individuals they each have an incentive to avoid doing so (Pagiola 2008). This fragmentation could also lead to multiple and conflicting claims for payment and raise transaction costs - issues encountered in forest conservation, where goods and services are supplied by a variety of different stakeholders at a range of geographic scales and where land tenure is complex (Wunder 2007; To et al. 2012). There can also be interdependence between fisheries sectors: for example, shellfish gleaners might be affected by fisheries practices, but not necessarily included in a PES scheme.

The buyer in a PES scheme can be any actor who benefits from service provision - fishers, an NGO, a government body, a private company, consumers or any combination of these. Interested buyers may vary with the ES or action that is targeted; a government might have an interest in paying for an overall management plan, an NGO for actions such as reduction in the use of damaging gear, whereas a private company is more likely to be interested in a specific ES such as fish provision. Although no single source is likely to be sufficient, the seafood sector is a potentially significant and largely untapped source of investment for PES (Blasiak et al. 2014). It has already shown willingness to support the transition to sustainable fisheries through corporate social responsibility programmes and involvement in fisheries improvement projects (FIPs), certification schemes and ecolabelling (Micheli et al. 2014). However, research suggests that this willingness is not fully exploited (Vallejo et al. 2009; Short 2011, 2012). PES could be used to capture this willingness and guide investment, thereby strengthening supply

chain accountability. For example, by providing fishers with an economic incentive to avoid fishing in nursery grounds, private companies may invest in the natural capital of this habitat, that is, the fish stocks and the flow of ES that support these stocks. Through increased fishery profitability, this mechanism may in turn stimulate additional public or private investment.

Voluntary transaction

It is generally agreed that PES should at least be voluntary for the provider in order for the payment to have conditionality, but that this is less important for the buyer (Lau 2012; Tacconi 2012). For example, payments may be generated through taxation, where the buyers themselves may not necessarily be directly involved in the transaction (Goldman-Benner et al. 2012). Others propose that the extent to which the transaction is voluntary depends on institutional context; for instance, if payments are being used to alter behaviours that are already illegal, in combination with regulatory approaches, then the providers may not act voluntarily (Sommerville et al. 2009; Farley and Costanza 2010). Furthermore, in cases where communities as a whole are acting as the provider, as may often be the case in artisanal fisheries, the transaction may be voluntary at the level of the group rather than the individual (Sommerville et al. 2009).


Conditionality is the conceptual core of PES, the component that creates a consequence for not providing the ES (Sommerville et al. 2009). Payments that are conditional on outcomes, that is, ES provision, are thought to be the most effective (Ferr-aro and Kiss 2002; Banerjee et al. 2013), but in practice, the technical and financial challenges of monitoring mean that provider compliance with the agreed management actions is often used instead (Sommerville et al. 2009; Pattanayak et al. 2010). Due to the high levels of uncertainty attached to most marine ES, conditionality on their provision may be particularly difficult to establish. Where the target is fish provision or habitat protection, conditionality on, for example, stock status or area protected may be relatively easy to maintain, but proxy indicators are much less available for regulating and cultural services

than they are for provisioning ES (Liquete et al. 2013). Action-based payments still require enforcement, however, and may therefore still lead to high transaction costs in marine systems.


Additionally is a measure of the outcome of an intervention relative to the situation in its absence and thus is an important indicator of the benefits of PES as an approach (Sommerville et al. 2009; Tacconi 2012). It is important to assess the cost-effectiveness of a PES scheme, in relation to not only the original situation but also the alternative management approaches, if it is to be efficient. Displacement should also be considered, where payments allow ecosystem damage to be shifted elsewhere resulting in no net change in fisheries practice or ecosystem condition on a broader scale (Wunder et al. 2008). However, additionally is often difficult to establish and therefore rarely explicitly monitored in PES schemes (Sommerville et al. 2009). The estimation of baselines and coun-terfactuals in the marine environment suffers from similar challenges to those encountered in the monitoring of ES provision, particularly in small-scale developing world fisheries that often lack even the most basic management tools such as stock assessments. It may be more practical to assess actions rather than outcomes in such cases, and surveys assessing perceptions of compliance and scheme acceptability could be used to monitor and evaluate some components of PES impact over time (Hallwass et al. 2013). Furthermore, social diffusion, where the change in behaviour of a small percentage of fishers may have positive impacts on the behaviour of others, should also be taken into account when assessing overall additionally of a scheme (Goldman-Benner et al. 2012).

Scope for PES in fisheries

A fisheries PES scheme may be used to support an overall management plan, a specific management action or the provision of a specific ES. It might, for example, be a short-term measure to support seafood provision, or the adoption of actions known to increase seafood provision. However, the principles of an ecosystem approach would ideally require a broader focus, which encompasses additional ES. A scheme supporting a management plan, conservation outcome or bundle of ES is

more likely to maintain additionally over alternative approaches and therefore may be more sustainable in the long run.

There are examples in the peer-reviewed literature of mechanisms which compensate fishers for earnings lost or costs incurred through a change in gear type, fishing location or fishing practice (Doring and Egelkraut 2007; Vinha et al. 2010; see Table 1). In particular, the feasibility of government and tourist compensation payments to small-scale artisanal fisheries has been investigated (Barr and Mourato 2009; Begossi et al. 2011a), but examples of actual implementation are rare. Furthermore, the extent to which many of these mechanisms conform to the defining principles of PES is unclear; although they use positive incentives, conditionality rarely appears to be in place. For example, the Brazilian government operates a payment scheme called the defeso, whereby fishers receive compensation for costs incurred during periods of fishery closure (Begossi et al. 2011a). However, criticism of their systems of MCS indicates that payments are not fully conditional on compliance, nor is the transaction voluntary from the perspective of the providers (Begossi et al. 2011a). According to Begossi et al. (2011a), improvements in the scheme could allow it to serve as the 'basis for more effective PES instruments'.

The only example of a fisheries payment mechanism formally referred to as PES in the literature to date is that of the Banc d'Arguin National Park in Mauritania, where the European Union (EU) allocates part of its payment for the EU-Mauritania Fisheries Partnership Agreement to the management of the Park (Binet et al. 2013). By investing in the biomass productivity of the Park, the EU is protecting nursery and breeding sites that contribute to the productivity of its commercial fishing grounds. This mechanism is the first international payment of its kind and breaks down some of the theoretical barriers to marine PES; it has led to enhanced management of the Park, and there is potential for the mechanism to be extended to benefit other major fisheries in Mauritania and in Guinea Bissau (Binet et al. 2013).

Seafood certification schemes are sometimes described as a form of PES (e.g. Forest Trends & The Katoomba Group 2010), although they fulfil only some of the defining principles. The most prevalent of these, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), aims to create positive market incentives

Table 1 Summary of marine and coastal fishery payment mechanisms documented in the peer-reviewed literature. All are based on positive incentives, but the extent of conditionality and additionality are unclear in all but the case of the European Union-Mauritania fisheries agreement - the only example to be explicitly described as a PES.

Scheme Start Buyer Provider Payment Ecosystem service

Defeso: compensation 1986 Brazilian Artisanal fishers, Financial Fish production

for fisheries closure government Brazil compensation

during fish reproduction

(Begossi et al. 2011a).

Marine Stewardship 1997 Consumer Certified fishery Price premium Meeting MSC

Council scheme standards

(Roheim et al. 2011)

Sea turtle by-catch 1998 Watamu Turtle Artisanal fishers, Financial Sea turtles

release (Ferraro and Watch: Kenyan Kenya performance

Gjertsen 2009) NGO payments

Sea turtle by-catch 2000 RENATURA: Artisanal fishers, Materials to Sea turtles

release (Ferraro and Congolese NGO Congo fix/replace net

Gjertsen 2009)

Biodiversity offsets or 2004 FISH: an ASUPMATOMA: Financial Sea turtles

by-catch mitigation association of Mexican NGO payments

scheme (Janisse et al. California drift

2010) gillnet swordfishers

Vaquita by-catch 2007 Mexican Artisanal fishers, Gillnet permits Vaquita population

reduction (Gjertsen and government Northern Gulf of purchased or

Niesten 2010) California leased from fishers

Compensation for hilsa 2005 Government of Affected Compensation in Fish production

conservation in Bangladesh Bangladeshi the form of rice

Bangladesh (Mohammed communities and alternative

and Wahab 2013) livelihoods

International payment 2006 European Union Banc d'Arguin Funding for the Biomass productivity,

operating through a National Park, direct conservation including protection

bilateral fisheries Mauritania of marine and of nursery and

agreement (Binet coastal biodiversity breeding sites for

et al. 2013) commercial species

'Reverse fishing licence' 2008 Multiple public Government Financial Protection of tuna

programme for lost and private of Kiribati compensation spawning areas,

commercial fishing bodies acting seamounts and reefs

revenue (Lau 2012) through the PIPA1 Trust

1Phoenix Islands Protected Area, Kiribati.

for sustainable fishing by shifting consumer demand towards MSC-certified products, thereby generating a return on investment in sustainable practices. In theory, the certified fishery (voluntary provider) receives a price premium from the consumer (the buyer), which is conditional on the effective management and health of the fishery and its impact on the environment (Roheim et al. 2011; MSC 2013). However, although the MSC has begun quantitatively to evaluate its performance (MSC 2013), it has been criticized for weak linkages between certification and conservation outcomes (Ward 2008; Jacquet et al. 2010;

Christian et al. 2013; Micheli et al. 2014) and it does not currently explicitly address defined ES other than seafood production - certification of bundles of marine ES may increase opportunities for ecological and socioeconomic impacts. Furthermore, the participation of developing world fisheries in MSC certification is currently limited by the costs of entering the scheme and monitoring of compliance with standards (Micheli et al. 2014). There is already pressure on companies throughout the seafood supply chain to source MSC-certified products; PES initiatives have the potential to complement and strengthen MSC cer-

tification schemes by channelling investment from these companies to help cover some of the costs to potential providers of participating in the scheme (Short 2011, 2012).

Preconditions for PES in fisheries

From the terrestrial and marine literature (e.g. Wunder 2005; Sommerville et al. 2009; Lau 2012; Tacconi 2012), six key preconditions have emerged, which are likely to enable the successful delivery of a fisheries PES scheme as defined by the principles mentioned earlier. Ideally, there should be: (i) demand for one or more ES where supply is threatened; (ii) suitable baseline data available and a set of potential management actions underpinned by robust science; (iii) clarity and security of property rights; (iv) capacity for hybrid multi-level governance; (v) capacity for rigorous MCS; and (vi) potential for financial sustainability of the scheme.

Demand for one or more ES where supply is threatened

In order for a PES to deliver additional benefits, there should be some level of current or future threat to ES supply, be it overfishing or a more indirect threat. Terrestrial experience indicates that PES is most feasible when this threat is intermediate or robustly predicted (Wunder 2005). Finding buyers is likely to be more difficult in Iow-threat scenarios where conservation benefits are unIikeIy to be additionaI, but in very high-threat scenarios, the opportunity costs of ES provision to providers tend to be very high - for example, when fishers depend on a rapidIy decIining resource for their food security.

The more demand there is for the service(s) in question, the easier it will be to identify buyers and the greater the payment is IikeIy to be. For exampIe, sea turtIe conservation and carbon sequestration wouId probabIy generate greater demand than demersaI invertebrate biodiversity or the bioIogicaI reguIation provided by coraI reef shark popuIations. AIthough economic vaIuation is by no means a prerequisite for PES, it can, in addition to giving an indication of scheme viabiIity and appropriate design, heIp to promote this demand (Emerton 2013; Wunder 2013). Because of the existing market for seafood, there is IikeIy to be sufficient demand for seafood provision, particu-

larly if the species are commercially valuable; it may be more difficult to convince potential buyers of the benefits provided by other non-market services impacted by fisheries. An investigation into the dependence of seafood companies on ES, using standardized metrics and indicators (Houdet et al. 2012), and advances in valuation methods for non-market services (Barbier et al. 2011), may help to generate demand by demonstrating the interrelatedness of seafood supply and wider ES. Moreover, bundling closely coupled services that are in high demand and have established PES markets (e.g. carbon sequestration) with seafood production may attract buyers from outside the seafood sector.

Availability of suitable baseline data and robust science

For good design, implementation and monitoring, PES requires a clear understanding of the social-ecological system, and therefore the availability of baseline data on the ES in question, system dynamics and current/previous management approaches (Wunder 2005). Although marine ES data are often lacking (Guerry et al. 2011), novel approaches are now emerging for their rigorous assessment, quantification and mapping, particularly for commercial fisheries but also for non-market services (Chan and Ruckelshaus 2010; Tallis et al. 2012; Liquete et al. 2013; Blasiak et al. 2014). In the developing world, however, fisheries are rarely well characterized, and new approaches to stock assessment, ecosystem modelling and the incorporation of uncertainty will be required (Costello et al. 2012). For instance, low capacity for data collection might be addressed through the application of existing mobile phone technology; mobile application surveys are being trialled in the Solomon Islands with a view to improving the management decisions of its inshore fisheries (K. Rhodes, T. Welch, R. Pomeroy, M. Knight, S. Diffey and K. Simeon, unpublished data). In many developing countries, even the poorest of fishers have access to mobile phones, and fishers could be compensated for using their phones to participate in data collection. When low-quality or few data are available, models of intermediate complexity for ecosystem (MICE) assessments can be used to support fisheries decision-making in an ecosystem context, while accounting for a broad range of uncertainties (Plaganyi et al. 2012). They take into account ecosystem objectives, but include only the

components essential to answering the management question at hand. Furthermore, PES may facilitate investment in building capacity for data collection and identification of the minimal data requirements. Alternatively, ecological data and model frameworks from well-understood fisheries can be transferred and applied to data-deficient situations.

A clear and preferably causal link should also be established between the management action which is being paid for and service delivery, allowing for strong conditionality on outcomes (Binet et al. 2013). Causal relationships are dynamic and difficult to establish in marine systems (Guerry et al. 2011). Furthermore, the fluidity of the marine environment means that resources can travel quickly between management areas - particularly in the case of migratory species and those with a long-distance larval dispersal phase - making it difficult to directly link conservation outcomes with activities undertaken by the provider. Nevertheless, as discussed in detail by Lau (2012), the types of management activities that lead to enhanced service delivery are well understood in fisheries (e.g. no-take zones, seasonal closures, by-catch reduction devices) - although causal links may not always be established specifically for the system in question.

Clarity and security of property rights

Rights-based management systems such as individual transferable quotas (ITQs) and territorial use rights (TURFs) can empower fishers to use resources more sustainably and help to build institutional capacity that could benefit PES schemes, if these management systems act at the same scale as the PES (Costello et al. 2008; Kemkes et al. 2010). TURFs are likely to be more appropriate than ITQs in developing world coastal fisheries (Costello et al. 2012). However, in small-scale and artisanal fisheries, where recognition and enforcement of rights often fails, PES has the potential to facilitate the process of rights clarification, which can in turn act as a precursor to other forms of management (Clements et al. 2010; Van Noo-rdwijk et al. 2012). For example, Janssen et al. (2013) have proposed that PES might be used to address rights allocation issues and achieve both fishery sustainability and protection of traditional fishing communities in South Africa, by compensating artisanal fishers for limiting their catch with

revenues from commercial fishery licence fees. Success would depend, however, on the interde-pendencies of those two fisheries and the sustain-ability of the commercial fishery. PES schemes might also be established under open-access or common property regimes, as they have been in terrestrial systems, by providing incentives for collective action (Clements et al. 2010; Muradian 2013; Muradian et al. 2013). Moreover, in Lower Amazon floodplain fisheries, the creation of co-management fishing agreements (FAs) has defined some access rules and established a legal institutional framework, a process that could in theory be applied to provide an institutional basis for PES in other coastal fisheries (Hallwass et al. 2013). In the high seas, which are essentially devoid of rights, PES is not currently thought to be feasible (Lau 2012). However, the concept of 'side payments' is being explored for internationally shared tuna stocks (Bailey 2013), and with the right cooperative institutional arrangements and industry-wide agreements, a high-seas PES scheme might help address current weaknesses in high-seas governance (Aqorau 2007; Blasiak et al. 2014; Visbeck et al. 2014).

Capacity for hybrid multi-level governance

A PES mechanism requires a good governance structure if it is to provide the accountability mechanisms to facilitate payments to the correct providers, increase transparency and reduce transaction costs (Vatn 2010; Wunder 2013). Due to the highly mobile and dispersed nature of most marine resources and stakeholders, hierarchical (e.g. state) and market governance structures will rarely be suitable in marine PES schemes. Instead, Muradian (2013), Muradian et al. (2013) argues that hybrid forms of governance such as collective management, which sit between markets and hierarchies, are most efficient, although this will depend on the institutional context (Ingram et al. 2014).

Although PES is often viewed as an alternative to the failure or lack of conventional regulatory measures, government regulation can be complementary and synergistic (Habtezion 2013) and is likely to be very important in a fisheries context. First, the variability of fish markets and subsequent variability of opportunity costs mean that in some circumstances a fisheries PES scheme would probably fail without regulation (Barr and Moura-to 2009; Van Noordwijk et al. 2012). Second, if

fishing rights are ambiguous, governments may need to assist with their clarification and enforcement. As such, the willingness and support of the government in the state(s) where the fishing takes place is necessary (Binet et al. 2013). Where state governance is poor, however, collective institutions and systems of community governance could increase the opportunity for and durability of a PES scheme (Clements et al. 2010; Begossi et al. 2012; Ingram et al. 2014). These institutions may in turn benefit from the introduction of PES, if collective payments included, for instance, funding of training to improve internal collaboration (Hallw-ass et al. 2013). The pre-existence of certain locally developed institutions like co-management schemes may thus prove an advantage for PES (Kemkes et al. 2010; Vatn 2010; Ingram et al. 2014). However, the formation of new multi-level institutions may also be necessary to drive coordination between relevant stakeholders at multiple scales (Van Noordwijk et al. 2012; Habtezion 2013). At a regional or national scale, this might entail the integration of community-level organizations, government agencies and NGOs. On an international scale, a PES might be integrated into pre-existing multilateral environmental agreements such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which would benefit from increased international coordination (Habtezion 2013; Visbeck et al. 2014). Lessons in multi-scale PES governance can be drawn from Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+; Van Noordwijk et al. 2012).

Capacity for MCS

With good governance, there should come rigorous systems of MCS. Whether a PES scheme is outcome- or action based, the technical and financial challenges of MCS are heightened in the marine environment (Lau 2012). The requirement of conditionality under PES may raise transaction costs compared to other management approaches. However, MCS is vital for sustainable fisheries management, regardless of whether PES is in place, and many management agencies already have the equipment and resources required. In low-income developing countries where this is not the case, there are alternatives that would reduce transaction costs. For example, if a scheme were established under the common property rights of a fishing community, conditionality might be

achieved through social norms that emerge from collective action (Sommerville et al. 2009), or through active community-level enforcement (Begossi et al. 2012).

If payments are conditional, they should therefore incentivize investment in MCS so that providers qualify for these payments. Furthermore, PES could be designed explicitly to alleviate or cover the costs of MCS. For example, collective providers of PES could use their payments to cover the cost of boats and fuel or for the training or participation of community members (Hallwass et al. 2013). It has been proposed that coastal artisanal fishers participating in compensatory mechanisms could use their local knowledge to monitor fishing sites used by industrial fishers, in order to reduce the catch of juveniles and supplement landings data (Begossi et al. 2011b). On an international scale, through the EU-Mauritania Fisheries Agreement and PES scheme, the EU is investing in MCS of the Banc d'Arguin National Park (Binet et al. 2013).

Potential for financial sustainability

To ensure the continuity of a PES scheme, there must be a mechanism in place for financial sustainability - whether this is established through a tool that generates a constant flow of finances, for example in the form of user fees or taxes on fishing licence fees, or through one that generates revenue from investments in ES provision. It is likely that any investment in an ES related to seafood provision will increase fishery profitability, whether this is a result of stock recovery or the ability to set a price premium on an end product. However, this may not be the case if, for instance, the action being paid for is one that may not affect fishery profits (e.g. by-catch reduction). Experience from watershed PES schemes indicates that the development of a trust fund can enhance long-term PES benefits, in such cases (Goldman-Benner et al. 2012). A trust fund, where payments are made using the revenue from investment or a portion of principal funds, can act as an intermediary between buyers and providers and thus enable the use of tools such as endowments and revolving funds to create a sustainable source of financing for PES (Bladon et al. 2014). Furthermore, the model provides flexibility, independence from political instabilities and a medium to draw together diverse stakeholders (RedLAC 2010). Although the majority of experience comes from

terrestrial conservation, trust funds are being used to generate and allocate funds in Marine Conservation Agreements, MPA management plans and some marine PES schemes. For example, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area Trust finances a conservation contract with the Government of Kiribati, and the creation of a trust fund for Mauritania's marine PES scheme has played a role in attracting investment (Binet et al. 2013).

An exploration of the applicability of PES in real-world circumstances

To assess whether PES could actually satisfy its defining principles and successfully be implemented in a real developing world fisheries management situation, we explore the presence or absence of the above-mentioned preconditions in

four contrasting case-studies (Table 2). In each case, the potential configurations and contributions of PES are discussed and the suitability of and barriers to such an approach are analysed, thereby highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of PES under a broad range of institutional and ecological circumstances. The case-studies are: (i) a relatively simple and well-managed domestic whitefish fishery; (ii) a complex multi-sector domestic shrimp fishery; (iii) a lucrative international fishery targeting a highly migratory species; and (iv) a multi-sector and poorly understood domestic fishery targeting an anadromous fish.

Namibian hake fishery

This industrial demersal trawl and Iongline fishery, targeting cape hake (Merlucius capenis) and

Table 2 Potential structure of PES mechanisms in three contrasting fisheries and a summary of the extent to which they fulfil the design preconditions for marine PES. A tick indicates complete fulfilment of a precondition; a tick and cross indicates partiaI fuIfiIment; a cross indicates faiIure.

Namibian hake fishery

Mozambican shallow-water shrimp fishery

PNA skipjack tuna fishery Bangladesh hilsa fishery

Potential PES configuration ES/management Hake production/ action by-catch reduction



Design preconditions Demand for and threat to ES Baseline data and science Property rights Capacity for governance Monitoring and enforcement Financial sustainability

International seafood companies; European retailers; governments of Namibia, South Africa and Angola; international consumers Namibian and South African hake fleets

Mangrove or seagrass habitat/shrimp production

International seafood companies; European retailers; commercial fishing companies; international consumers; tourism, oil and gas industries Artisanal fishing communities in Mozambique

Skipjack production/ reduction in juvenile and non-tuna by-catch

PNA, tuna retailers; Pacifical; seafood companies; international consumers; longline fleets

PNA skipjack fleet.

Fish production (hilsa and other food products)/range of regulatory and supporting services of coastal habitat.

Commercial marine fishers; governments of Bangladesh, India and Myanmar; international consumers; national and international companies

Artisanal river fishing communities in Bangladesh

deep-water hake (Merlucius paradoxus), is the country's most valuable fishery and almost entirely exported (OECD 2012). Although it is widely thought to be relatively well managed, stocks appear to be in decline and issues of social equity have been highlighted (Paterson et al. 2013). A PES scheme might improve management by realigning social, ecological and economic goals.

Demand for one or more ES where supply is threatened

There is evidence of a decline in hake stocks in Namibia (BCC 2011) and global demand is high, so a short-term transitional and international PES scheme may be appropriate. This could be expanded to pay for, for instance, by-catch reduction, but whitefish fisheries tend to deliver relatively few other ES and opportunities for bundling may therefore be limited. In turn, this reduces the potential for PES to produce additional ecosystem benefits over conventional management approaches in the long term.

Availability of suitable baseline data and robust science

After decades of over-exploitation, Namibia has rebuilt its hake fishery through access limitation and a reduction in effort, so the impacts of these actions are well established. Reliable stock assessments, strong ecosystem understanding and modelling approaches are available, which could be used to support conditionality on ecosystem outcomes (Roux and Shannon 2010; Kirchner et al. 2012). However, more detailed and reliable social data might be required to ensure the equitable distribution of benefits (Paterson et al. 2013).

Clarity and security of property rights Namibia has developed a clear rights-based legal framework and distributed individual non-transferable quotas (Armstrong et al. 2004). This policy aims to ensure that social benefits are returned to citizens, but has been criticized for favouring the elite minority over local development (Paterson et al. 2013) - an issue that any PES scheme should address. Nevertheless, the pre-existence of clear and secure access rights would make the identification of buyers and providers relatively simple, considering that the marine fisheries sector is exclusively industrial and conflict with other users is unlikely.

Capacity for hybrid multi-level governance A PES approach would fit within the perspective of current fisheries management. Despite being a developing country with limited financial resources, Namibia has made a formal commitment to ecosystem-based fisheries management (Roux and Shannon 2010; MFMR 2012) and the government has already shown interest in a participatory and incentive-based approach and in maximizing the value returned to Namibians - the allocation of fishing rights was itself driven by tax reductions connected to quota fees. Although they hardly enter international waters, both species of hake are managed together as a single stock, which is shared with South Africa and Angola, so a PES scheme would require international cooperative governance - a prospect that is currently being put into action through the Benguela Current Convention and Commission (MFMR 2012).

Capacity for MCS

With the majority of fishing rights owned by Nam-ibians, users are proximate and not too high in number, and there is a good MCS system already in place (Bergh and Davies 2004; OECD 2012). This should reduce transaction costs and allow benefits to be directly linked back to the activity that is being paid for.

Potential for financial sustainability Buyers could be promised a return on investment through increased fishery profitability. Furthermore, the Namibian government currently collects catch levies for a 'fisheries fund', which is used to finance fisheries research (OECD 2012), although it is unclear whether it would have the institutional capacity to administer a PES.


The hake fishery satisfies most of the preconditions; it has clear and secure property rights, the beginnings of a hybrid multi-level governance system, good MCS and a potential mechanism for financial sustainability. Nevertheless, there may be limited opportunities for long-term additionality of a PES scheme.

Mozambican shallow-water shrimp fishery

Mozambique's shallow-water shrimp fishery (Indian white prawn Fenneropenaeus indicus and speckled shrimp Metapenaeus monoceros) is a

commercially important and multi-sector fishery (Palha Sousa et al. 2011). It fulfils some of the preconditions for a PES scheme, which has the potential to address the need for a holistic management approach, but there are a number of social and ecological uncertainties that may limit implementation.

Demand for one or more ES where supply is threatened

Although the fishery is considered to be relatively sustainable, there are over-capacity, conflict between the artisanal and commercial sectors, and high levels of non-shrimp by-catch and discarding (Banks and MacFadyen 2011). For example, continued expansion of the artisanal sector, which experiences juvenile overfishing, could have serious economic implications for the semi-industrial sector (Palha Sousa et al. 2011). If a PES scheme were to operate through payments from downstream supply chain companies to artisanal fishers - for instance, as compensation for avoiding nursery grounds in a marine reserve - between-sector conflict may be reduced. Economically, the shrimp fisheries are the most important in Mozambique, and the artisanal sector is the most important source of food and employment for coastal communities (Banks and MacFadyen 2011). Local and foreign demand for shrimp production from producers, retailers and consumers is therefore high, and buyers may be convinced of the importance of mangrove and seagrass habitats in this production. The potential for mangrove-based PES systems is well recognized (Locatelli et al. 2014), and if services were bundled, it may also be possible to attract investment from other industries such as tourism or oil and gas, and via the global carbon market.

Availability of suitable baseline data and robust science

This ecosystem is not well understood, and fishery success in any 1 year is likely to be strongly affected by variation in freshwater flow from the Zambezi River and its effect on recruitment (Gammelsrod 1992), making a direct link between a particular management activity and ecological outcomes difficult to establish. Artisanal catches are not yet incorporated into annual stock assessments, although they are estimated to form a substantial proportion of total shrimp catch, and data on the number of artisanal vessels in operation

are highly inconsistent (Banks and MacFadyen 2011). The resulting uncertainty in catch data is one of the main reasons why a pre-assessment for MSC certification found the fishery to be unsuitable in its recent state (Moody Marine Ltd. 2008). However, the requirement for conditionality in PES may incentivize investment in innovative new methods of artisanal data collection. It may also be possible to use models developed for other fisheries as a framework for the Mozambican shrimp; there has been extensive work conducted on the well-managed and well-understood multi-species Australian northern prawn fishery, which incorporates the issue of uncertainty (Dichmont et al. 2006a,b,c).

Clarity and security of property rights The fishery is constrained within Mozambique's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and commercial access is restricted to licence holders. Furthermore, government is moving towards a rights-based approach, which would make the system more amenable to PES (Tindall 2012). However, there is a great deal of interaction between the shallow-and deep-water fisheries in the region, and a PES scheme should perhaps therefore not be constrained to the shallow-water fishery. The artisanal sector is essentially open access and supports several thousand fishers along the coastline (Banks and MacFadyen 2011), so the identification of providers would be complex. Nevertheless, local co-management committees operating licensing systems have now been established in most fishing communities, with some success, which might provide an institutional basis for PES (MRAG 2010).

Capacity for hybrid multi-level governance Through a comprehensive management plan, the government is beginning to address management concerns, but it still lacks implementation capacity. Furthermore, the interactions between the shallow- and deep-water fisheries in the region, and between the commercial and artisanal sectors of the shallow-water fishery, are not currently reflected in their governance. A PES scheme would require the development of institutional capacity through the coordination and integration of management authorities in different sectors, in different regions and at different levels, and with corporations and co-management organizations (Banks and MacFadyen 2011).

Capacity for MCS

For a basic level of conditionally to be achieved, the current system of MCS would need improvement (Banks and MacFadyen 2011). Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a problem in Mozambique (MRAG 2005), the industrial vessel monitoring system (VMS) is not fully operational (Banks and MacFadyen 2011), and the artisanal fishery is largely unregulated; artisanal fishers are not included in the seasonal closures imposed on commercial sectors, and they operate close to shore, often in estuarine mangrove nursery areas, and increasingly using illegal mosquito nets (M. Rodrigues, personal communication). Low levels of national educational capacity and access to technology in Mozambique may mean that considerable investment in capacity building would be required to achieve the necessary improvements in top-down research, administration and enforcement (FAO 2007). A system of co-management may be preferable (Bene et al. 2010), and it may be possible for a PES scheme to be designed so as to include mechanisms for and alleviate the social costs of community monitoring and enforcement (Begossi et al. 2011b).

Potential for financial sustainability Buyers could be promised a return on investment through increased fishery profitability, and there may be opportunities for mechanisms that generate a constant flow of revenue through user fees.


Application of PES to the shrimp fishery in its current state may in theory be limited by poor ecosystem understanding and a lack of institutional capacity for integrated governance, MCS and financial sustainability. But through investment in capacity building and identification of the gaps in understanding, PES may provide a mechanism to address these deficiencies.

PNA Western and Central Pacific purse seine skipjack tuna fishery

The application of PES to tuna fisheries would be ideal in terms of their lucrative markets, but also particularly challenging in terms of the highly migratory nature of tuna. The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) is a subregional alliance between eight adjacent Pacific Island states for the management of a purse seine skipjack tuna

(Katsuwonus pelamis) fishery. Although the institutional and political complexities of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) tuna fisheries might preclude them from suitability for PES on first assessment, the PNA has created an environment in which PES could be feasible.

Demand for one or more ES where supply is threatened

Tuna has high economic value (Collete et al. 2011), and demand is therefore great from consumers, international retailers, producers and the economies of dependent Pacific states. PNA skipjack is considered to be sustainably managed, and the free-school skipjack fishery has gained MSC certification (Moody Marine Ltd. 2011). However, those fleets that still target skipjack near fish aggregating devices (FADs) catch undersize tuna and contribute to the overfishing of other species such as bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) (Bailey 2013). A PES targeting skipjack production and/ or by-catch reduction might generate additional benefits over those delivered by current PNA management. Payments to PNA skipjack fleets channelled from various potential sources, including Iongline fleets that target bigeye, could incentivize free-school purse seining.

Availability of suitable baseline data and robust science

Good stock assessments and data on skipjack and bigeye movements are avaiIabIe, and reIa-tiveIy advanced spatiaI ecosystem and popuIation dynamics modeIs can aIso be used for the investigation of tuna management scenarios and inter-species interactions in the Pacific (Lehodey et al. 2008).

Clarity and security of property rights WCPO tuna fisheries faII under the jurisdictions of muItipIe states that hoId property rights within their EEZs, and fishing operations range from coastaI artisanaI fleets to industriaI purse seine and IongIine fleets on the high seas (Aqorau 2007). The variable movements of tuna therefore compIicate the identification of buyers and providers and may create a free-rider probIem; one buyer might end up paying for conservation measures whiIe a distant actor reaps the benefits (BaiIey 2013). However, the PNA states have asserted their property rights to control 70% of WCPO and 50% of global skipjack tuna catch and established

high-seas closures in the areas between their EEZs (Maurice Brownjohn, Commercial Director of PNA, personal communication). The PNA also operates a vessel day scheme (VDS) for purse seiners, a rights-based transferable effort scheme where PNA members are allocated fishing days which they can trade between themselves and allocate to distant water fleets at their discretion (Aqorau 2009; Havice 2013). The strengthening of rights that this entails would make it possible to clearly identify providers in a PES regime.

Capacity for hybrid multi-level governance PNA was established following mutual concerns of the participating states over sustainability and economic opportunity, and there has since been a paradigm shift in the way they view and manage their resources. In addition to political will from individual states, the PNA forms an institutional basis for the implementation of a PES scheme, although the complexity of creating such a large-scale and international PES should not be underestimated. PNA resources are not constrained solely within the PNA states and fall under the jurisdictions of multiple overlapping regional management and advisory bodies, including the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), PNA and TVM (Te Vaka Moana). A multi-level governance framework for the integration of each of these bodies would be desirable, but mutual economic and ecological objectives would first need to be identified.

Capacity for MCS

PNA terms of licence enforce strict management rules with 100% observer coverage (M. Brown-john, personal communication), and the VDS provides a mandatory real-time vessel monitoring system (Havice 2013), which might allow payments to be conditional on actions or outcomes. Enforcement is difficult on the high seas, but PNA has also established high-seas closures in areas between EEZs, reducing IUU and therefore the risk of free-riding.

Potential for financial sustainability PNA management is currently funded through fixed conservation levies from fishing vessels, and although these levies are not currently conditional on meeting any specific ecosystem objectives or MSC standards, this could provide the basis for a

sustainable PES. Furthermore, there is already strong supply chain and market interest in the sustainability of the fishery; through the market access enabled by its joint venture with import and branding agency Pacifical, the PNA generates a 20% premium on free-school skipjack products via MSC certification and labelling, the majority of which is channelled back to industry. Its co-branding programme with Pacifical also allows trace-ability of a can of tuna back to the vessels and factory involved in its production (Tindall 2012) -a system that has created an unprecedented level of transparency within the supply chain and that could allow corporate responsibility to be apportioned accordingly (Short 2012).


This case-study fully satisfies five of six preconditions. The only theoretical barrier to PES is the complexity of WCPO tuna governance; increased levels of coordination between PNA and other governance bodies may not be a realistic expectation.

Bangladesh hilsa fishery

Hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha) is anadromous, the majority of the population migrating from marine to fresh water for spawning, and as such supports riverine and marine fisheries in Bangladesh (Blaber et al. 2003 a; Amin et al. 2008). There is currently a compensation scheme in place to encourage sustainable fishing practices in Bangladesh, which appears to have had a positive impact on hilsa production, but there are questions surrounding sustainability, equity and efficiency of the scheme, which might be addressed through a more formalized PES approach (Mohammed and Wahab 2013).

Demand for one or more ES where supply is threatened

The hilsa fishery is the largest and most valuable single-species fishery in Bangladesh, but there has been a decline in stocks in recent years (Mome et al. 2007). As a fish with historical significance in Bengali culture, there is strong local and international demand for hilsa, mainly amongst the Bengali diaspora. Not only is it essential for the food security of Bangladesh, particularly the coastal poor, but also it provides direct livelihoods for over 280 000 fishermen and an additional 22.5 million workers involved in the supply chain

(Mohammed and Wahab 2013). Although there may be Iess demand for hiIsa from internationaI companies than for seafood which is more popuIar in the west, the nationaI government has aIready demonstrated a strong wiIIingness to invest in the fishery through its current management approach, whereby affected river fishers are compensated for Ioss of earnings during fishing bans (Mohammed and Wahab 2013). The bundling of other ES into a PES scheme wouId increase investment opportunity outside of the seafood sector; for exampIe, smaII-meshed giIInets used to catch hiIsa are associated with aquatic biodiversity issues in the riverine fishery (BOBLME 2012), and the coastal habitats protected within the hiIsa sanctuaries provide reguIating and supporting services, incIuding those that contribute to the resiIience of fisheries and coastaI communities to cIimate change (AIIi-son et al. 2009). There is great potential for payments for hiIsa conservation to be integrated with other sociaI and environmentaI protection schemes.

Availability of suitable baseline data and robust science

HiIsa is poorIy understood, stock assessments are highIy uncertain, and there are IittIe baseIine sociaI, economic or ecoIogicaI data avaiIabIe, par-ticuIarIy for the riverine fishery (Mome et al. 2007; Amin et al. 2008; BOBLME 2010). Stock decIine has prompted the government to designate sanctuaries in major riverine hiIsa spawning and nursery grounds where seasonaI fishing bans are implemented (BOBLME 2010). However, the degree to which the sanctuaries actuaIIy contribute to hiIsa conservation and the scientific basis for their Iocation need criticaI evaIuation. HiIsa is threatened not onIy by overfishing but by poIIu-tion, upstream damming and cIimate change (BIaber et al. 2003b; BOBLME 2010); it is possibIe that due to the impacts of cIimate change on hiIsa migration, some of these sanctuaries are no Ionger important spawning grounds, and there are inshore marine areas of potentiaI importance that currentIy receive no protection (BIaber et al. 2003a). Furthermore, payments wouId probabIy have to be conditionaI on actions rather than outcomes, and aIthough ecoIogicaI additionaIity may be impossibIe to measure directIy, any scheme wouId need to be adaptive to keep pace with the rapid environmentaI changes that are affecting the hiIsa fishery.

Clarity and security of property rights The process of buyer/provider identification would be compIex due to the migratory nature of hiIsa and the open-access nature of the fishery; there is a Iack of recognition of traditionaI property rights, and most vesseIs are unregistered (Amin et al. 2008; BOBLME 2010). Identification cards are being issued to heIp authorities distinguish genuine fishers from those cIaiming to be, but hiIsa stocks in the Bay of BengaI are aIso commerciaIIy expIoited by Myanmar and India (BOBLME 2010). Not onIy wouId these countries benefit from measures impIemented by BangIadesh, but aIso their river fishery management wiII affect stocks in Ban-gIadesh; the prospect of transboundary management is being discussed through the Bay of BengaI Large Marine Ecosystem Project (BOBLME 2012), and a cooperative transnationaI PES system wouId be therefore be desirabIe, aIthough perhaps not poIiticaIIy feasibIe.

Capacity for hybrid multi-level governance Current management indicates that there is poIiticaI wiII and capacity for the governance of a nationaI PES scheme; nationaI government has taken up management recommendations made by a number of externaI projects (BOBLME 2010) and funds the current compensation scheme itseIf (Mohammed and Wahab 2013). Building on lessons from Brazil's defeso system (Begossi et al. 2011a,b), these funds might be channeIIed down to the IocaI IeveI through fisher associations. Linkages between the various agencies invoIved in hiIsa management are, however, weak (BOBLME 2012), and greater levels of cooperation wouId be required. Risk posed by poten-tiaI government instabiIity shouId aIso be considered, and this risk might be mitigated by taking measures to reduce financiaI dependence on government (Bladon et al. 2014). Ideally, a multi-Ievel institution wouId be estabIished between BangIa-desh, India and Myanmar, integrating the reIevant nationaI and IocaI governments and agencies, NGOs and community-IeveI organizations.

Capacity for MCS

CompIiance with conservation measures in the hilsa fishery is low (Siddique 2009; BOBLME 2010), and MCS is poor. AIthough conditionaIity may therefore be difficuIt to achieve, the impIe-mentation of PES couId heIp to buiId capacity. The scheme might be designed to invoIve IocaI communities and fisher associations in monitoring

and enforcement, collective payments might be used to invest in mobile phone technologies to provide more reliable data from the artisanal fishery, or compliance might be monitored indirectly through surveys of fisher perceptions over time (Hallwass et al. 2013).

Potential for financial sustainability Although compensation currently comes directly from national government budget allocation, the possibility of establishing a national trust fund for hilsa conservation is being explored, which could be capitalized with new sources of funds such as earmarked hilsa export taxes (Mohammed and Wahab 2013).


The hilsa fishery appears to be the least amenable case-study, satisfying only one of the six preconditions fully. However, in these less-than-perfect circumstances, PES might be used to leverage the changes required; the recent political support for hilsa stock rebuilding indicates great potential for a national PES scheme to facilitate investment in capacity building for community-based monitoring and enforcement and the development of a more cooperative and integrated system of governance.


There are challenges to the design and implementation of PES in marine environments, but too much focus on theory may obscure opportunities for less-than-perfect PES schemes to benefit fisheries management and stakeholders. PES is not a silver bullet, but when used together with conventional regulatory approaches, it could play a significant role in incentivizing sustainable fishing practices in developing countries. Furthermore, through systematic private sector engagement, PES could facilitate increased investment in fisheries improvement by buyers of ES, thereby reducing the burden of costs and responsibility placed on governments and fishers themselves.

First and foremost, payments should be conditional on actions, if not on conservation outcomes, but these actions still need a robust scientific basis. Six key preconditions have been identified, which would, in theory, enable the successful delivery of a fisheries PES scheme. It is rare that a developing country fishery will fulfil each of these preconditions a priori, but that is not to say

a PES approach would be inappropriate in such circumstances, as long as there is capacity for improvement. In practice, design will depend on the precise institutional context and may require creative and innovative approaches to the maintenance of conditionality and additionality. For example, the Bangladesh hilsa fishery satisfies few PES preconditions, but the level of political will already displayed for the rebuilding of stocks presents an opportunity for improvement through the support of a PES. Although the hilsa fishery lacks the history of rights-based and ecosystem-based management demonstrated by the Namibian hake and PNA tuna examples, it does have a compensation scheme already in place, and any coherence between existing institutions and those required for PES increases the viability and sus-tainability of such a scheme. For highly migratory species such as tuna, the development of international collaborative institutions such as the PNA may play an important role in the feasibility of PES; though, they must grow in scale if they are to operate on the high seas. Where weak governance and institutions reduce the potential for conditionality, as is often the case in developing countries, PES may drive institutional reform; it may, for instance, be used to facilitate rights clarification, to pay for or incentivize improvements in MCS, or to address the shortcomings of an existing co-management programme. More research at the interface of PES and complementary institutional structures such as trust funds, TURFs, ITQs and co-management systems may advance the appropriate application of PES in developing world fisheries.


This paper is a contribution of Imperial College's Grand Challenges in Ecosystems and the Environment Initiative. A. J. Bladon was supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). We thank R. Sumaila, M. Brown-john, J. Blanchard, D. Gove, M. Gonzales, B. Thompson, D. Agnew and anonymous reviewers for advice and constructive criticism, and we acknowledge support from the Darwin Initiative and DFID.


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