Tourist preferences for seamount conservation in the Galapagos Marine Reserve

Ison, S., Ison, T., Marti-Puig, P., Needham, K., Tanner, M. K. and Roberts, J.M. (2021) Tourist preferences for seamount conservation in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7, 602767. (doi: 10.3389/fmars.2020.602767)

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Seamounts provide oases of hard substrate in the deep sea that are frequently associated with locally enhanced biological productivity and diversity. There is now increasing recognition of their ecological and socio-economic importance. However, management strategies for these habitats are constrained not only by limited ecological understanding but by the general public’s understanding of the pressures facing these ecosystems. This study adds to the growing literature on willingness to pay for conservation of deep-sea ecosystems and species by undertaking a stated preference survey to assess tourist’s awareness of seamounts and their preferences for protection within the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Visitors’ perceptions of seamount biodiversity must be studied because tourists are key drivers of the Galapagos economy and account for 41% of the Marine Reserve budget. Our survey captured the attitudes, perceptions and willingness to pay of tourists for an increase in the entrance fee to the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Results showed tourists were willing to pay on average US$48.93 in addition to existing entrance fees. The results of this study support the willingness to develop a multiuse management plan for the Galapagos Marine Reserve, balancing conservation, local communities livelihoods and sustainable tourism. Our results evidence a willingness to support and fund conservation, which is of critical importance to both the Galapagos National Park and local non-governmental organizations heavily reliant for their work on entrance fees and donations respectively. Overall, the conclusion from this study is that, despite limited knowledge, visitors of the Galapagos Islands attach positive and significant values to the conservation of seamount biodiversity.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This project adopted methodologies used in the ATLAS project with additional support from the iAtlantic project, both funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreements 678760 and 818123. The surveys in Galapagos took place through a Marine Systems & Policies Master of Science project at the University of Edinburgh (Ison 2017). This research was conducted under Galapagos National Park Directorate research permit PC-51-17, PC-81-18, PC-56-19 and PC-17-20 granted to the Charles Darwin Research Station, and is contribution number 2357 from the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Simpson, Dr Katherine
Authors: Ison, S., Ison, T., Marti-Puig, P., Needham, K., Tanner, M. K., and Roberts, J.M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Frontiers in Marine Science
Publisher:Frontiers Media
ISSN (Online):2296-7745
Published Online:21 January 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Ison, Ison, Marti-Puig, Needham, Tanner and Roberts
First Published:First published in Frontiers in Marine Science 7:602767
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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