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The economic benefits of achieving Good Environmental Status in the Finnish marine waters of the Baltic Sea

This study provides monetary estimates of the benefits of achieving Good Environmental Status (GES) in the Finnish marine waters of the Baltic Sea. The designed contingent valuation study addresses the non-market benefits related to all descriptors defining GES in the Baltic Sea, and it is designed to conform to the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive's request to estimate the national costs of the degradation of the marine environment. The study is the first to assess the economic benefits of all GES descriptors in one Baltic Sea country.

According to the results, Finns are willing to contribute annually €105–123 per person to achieve GES in the Finnish marine area. This indicates that the total monetary benefits of reaching GES are €432–509 million annually in Finland.

The results also show that Finns value a healthy marine environment irrespective of how far from the coast they live and even if they do not use the sea themselves. They particularly want public funding to be allocated to reducing hazardous substances and eutrophication. Respondents primarily supported public funding to be allocated to reducing hazardous substances and eutrophication, followed by alleviating the harms related to fish stocks and biodiversity. Problems related to physical impacts and non-indigenous species were seen less important.

Moreover, Finns place especially high importance on cultural ecosystem services related to the existence of habitats for species as well as on recreation and aesthetic values. This confirms that the public funds used for Baltic Sea protection measures seem to be largely accepted even by the population mainly benefiting from non-use values.

Keywords:
Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), cost of degradation, Baltic Sea, willingness to pay, contingent valuation, ecosystem services

Authors:
Emmi Nieminen (Finnish Environment Institute), Heini Ahtiainen (Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission and Natural Resources Institute Finland) , Carl-Johan Lagerkvist (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) and Soile Oinonen (Finnish Environment Institute)

 

Published 2018-11-06 at 17:07, updated 2018-11-06 at 17:31