Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2014

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Environmental Studies

Number of Pages

66

First Advisor

Holly Ewing

Abstract

While shrimp aquaculture provides goods that satisfy an undeniable demand from consumers throughout the world, there are certain economic, ecological, and societal externalities that follow. This paper synthesizes and reviews current economic research, which has attempted to quantitatively internalize some of the impacts associated with shrimp farming. In many regions in Southeast Asia, Australia and Latin America, shrimp aquaculture is linked immediately to mangrove/coastal destruction. Though studies have shown that mangroves are complex and multifaceted ecosystems, which provide various goods and services - biologically, culturally and economically - the process of economic valuation has posed many challenges for researchers. This paper begins by contextualizing the issue by examining the global decline in capture fisheries and the subsequent growth of the aquaculture industry. Next, I review both the operational structure of shrimp aquaculture and the ecology of mangrove forests The methodology section traces the history environmental economics as a field and outlines some of the valuation approaches that will appear later in the paper. Finally, in the discussion section of this paper I structure the ecosystem services provided by mangroves into four categories (provisioning, regulating, supporting and cultural) and evaluate the success and shortcomings of economic literature in monetizing them. I then discuss the implications of this synthesis and propose tangible steps towards strengthening the link between economic evaluation of mangrove ecosystems and policy makers.

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