Abstract: Millions of people worldwide depend on coral reefs for their well-being. Governance for resilient coral reefs requires individuals to make inter-temporal trade-offs in the goods and services that they obtain from coral reefs. How people make decisions about future reef resource use is poorly understood, but may impact their ability to adapt to future socio-ecological change. Moreover, societal economic benefits from coral reefs are not well quantified, leading to potential distortions in trade-off analysis for different management systems. In this presentation I address these 2 issues by first quantifying economic benefits derived from coral reef fisheries at local and global scales. I then provide an empirical study on reef fishers’ discount rates, which measure one’s willingness to forgo current benefits in order to be able to enjoy higher benefits in the future. I use an experimental economics approach to elicit discount rates of small-scale reef fishers in Sabah (Malaysia) and Fiji, and then investigate under what socio-economic conditions low discounting behaviour may occur. This research improves our understanding of trade-offs that affect social, economic, and ecological outcomes of coral reef governance.
Biography: Louise completed her PhD in the RMES programme at UBC in 2011, which analyzed the time preferences of small-scale fishers in Sabah and Fiji. She finished her MSc in 2006 and worked as a research assistant with the Fisheries Economics Research Unit before beginning her PhD. Her past research involved assessing the status of the reef fisheries of Pulau Banggi, Sabah, from both an ecological and socio-economic perspective. She has also studied the socio-economic aspects of fisheries in Hong Kong and Fiji.