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Abstract

For centuries man has used coastal waters and the seas as a receptacle for %:/astes. Although the oceans have an enormous capacity to assimilate wastes, this limit is now being exceeded, or at least threatened, in many parts of the world. The resulting damages affect not only ecological stability and survivability of aquatic life, but also human uses and enjoyment of marine water. This paper identifies beneficial water uses impaired by marine pollution and evaluates them in an economic framework. Economic damages from current levels of pollution are estimated along •shorelines of the United States. Ranges of damage values are assumed to reflect uncertainty and incompleteness of the data base. Water uses that are assessed include commercial fishing, recreation (boating, sports fishing, swinming, and beach picnicking), and navigation. ' .At the international level, the severity of marine pollution is evaluated in a qualitative sense. Documented damages to recreational beaches and commercial fisheries are cited; and specific marine pollution problems are recognized for various countries. To date, economic analyses of international pollution control strategies have received minimal. attention, although legal policies on cooperation are evolving.

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