University of Tasmania

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Evaluating sustainable development policies in rural coastal economies

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 04:19 authored by Lindsay, AR, Sanchirico, JN, Gilliland, TE, Ambo-Rappe, R, Taylor, JE, Nils KrueckNils Krueck, Mumby, PJ
Sustainable development (SD) policies targeting marine economic sectors, designed to alleviate poverty and conserve marine ecosystems, have proliferated in recent years. Many developing countries are providing poor fishing households with new fishing boats (fishing capital) that can be used further offshore as a means to improve incomes and relieve fishing pressure on nearshore fish stocks. These kinds of policies are a marine variant of traditional SD policies focused on agriculture. Here, we evaluate ex ante economic and environmental impacts of provisions of fishing and agricultural capital, with and without enforcement of fishing regulations that prohibit the use of larger vessels in nearshore habitats. Combining methods from development economics, natural resource economics, and marine ecology, we use a unique dataset and modeling framework to account for linkages between households, business sectors, markets, and local fish stocks. We show that the policies investing capital in local marine fisheries or agricultural sectors achieve income gains for targeted households, but knock-on effects lead to increased harvest of nearshore fish, making them unlikely to achieve conservation objectives in rural coastal economies. However, pairing an agriculture stimulus with increasing enforcement of existing fisheries’ regulations may lead to a win–win situation. While marine-based policies could be an important tool to achieve two of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (alleviate poverty and protect vulnerable marine resources), their success is by no means assured and requires consideration of land and marine socioeconomic linkages inherent in rural economies.


Publication title

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Natl Acad Sciences

Place of publication

2101 Constitution Ave Nw, Washington, USA, Dc, 20418

Rights statement

Copyright 2020 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Fisheries - wild caught not elsewhere classified