Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics

Document Type

Research Article


The extension of market systems and economic appraisal methods to the natural world and allocation of scarce resources is highly controversial and viewed by some as unethical. This has resulted in questions about the appropriate role of valuation and appraisal methods in informing policy and decision-making. We address this issue by assessing the different points of view that exist in marine research, management and policy communities regarding the estimation of monetary values for marine ecosystems and services and their use in appraisal and policy settings. The principal perspectives emerging from a Q-sort survey of x respondents reveal a clear distinction between a group that is highly sceptical of the framing of human-environment relations in terms of ecosystem services and of the use of economic appraisal and valuation tools in this context, and two or three other groups that are broadly favourable towards that paradigm and its methods, but with slightly different reasons for supporting valuation in practice. Despite the distinguishing features, areas of consensus emerge, including a strong shared perspective that places avoiding damage to marine biodiversity and ecosystems as a fundamental obligation. Furthermore, it is shown that the sceptics do not entirely reject valuation out of hand, but rather express understandable concerns about applicability and appropriate uses that are to some extent recognised by the pro-valuation groups.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.