Using the example of commercial fishing, this paper explores the potential of incentive based management measures as a means of reducing the undesirable impacts of industries operating within the marine environment. Despite having been successfully applied for similar purposes in the management of terrestrial environments, and their potential to achieve environmental gains in an economically efficient manner, examples of incentive based management mechanisms are still relatively limited in the marine context. We assess the potential of a number of alternative market based management measures by reviewing and considering the successes and limitations of previous applications and how these would translate in the case of commercial fishing. Several fishing methods and conservation values are considered and the circumstances in which incentive measures may be most applicable are identified. Where appropriate, and by either replacing or (more likely) complimenting existing management arrangements, incentive based measures have the potential to improve upon the performance of existing measures. This has a number of implications. From the environmental perspective they should allow the expected level of undesirable impact to be reduced. They can also reduce the costs imposed upon the industry by letting them develop the solutions. Further, in the increasingly relevant case of MPAs the potential costs to Government may also be significantly reduced if increasing environmental performance makes it possible for certain industry members to continue operating, reducing the necessity of often costly structural adjustment programs.


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