Most Australian fisheries policies require that fisheries management take account of the cumulative effect of all human users of marine resources, including professional, recreational and Indigenous Australian fishers. The triple bottom line (TBL) approach is the general framework used to assess performance against economic, social, and environmental dimensions. TBL requires articulation of these broad values, but these may be qualitatively assessed. Significant progress has been made in incorporating some of these elements into fisheries management decision, particularly prioritising different objectives of fishery management [e.g. 1, 2]. In some cases, development of semi-quantitative approaches have been used to assist in decision-making across these multiple dimensions [e.g. 3], including in some cases indigenous value [e.g. 4]. Recent research has also extended this focus to develop a robust articulation of Indigenous Australian customary fishing values to enable their inclusion when developing fisheries management policies .
Optimal decisions require the trade-off between costs and benefits to be considered. TBL approaches do not explicitly consider this trade-off, resulting in challenges in identifying optimal outcomes. Where these costs and benefits are expressed as explicit monetary values, assessing the trade-off requires deducting the expected costs from the expected benefits (commonly referred to as cost-benefit analysis (CBA)).
However, in fisheries, many costs and benefits do not have an explicit monetary value. Hence, decisions about the use and management of marine resources increasingly requires objective information on the non-market value of benefits (and costs). Some attention has been focused on the estimation of non-market values of recreational fishing [e.g. 6, 7], although only limited attempts to-date have been made to use these values in supporting management decision making [e.g. 8]. Many other values have not been quantified, and their use in fisheries management has not been fully explored.
The project identified thirteen types of non-market values that fisheries and aquaculture managers considered as potentially important to their decision making. Of these, the top four involved values related to users of the fisheries resources, including fisher satisfaction, values to Indigenous Australian fishers, and the value of fish and experience to recreational fishers. The next four involved impacts of fishing on others, including habitats, species, local communities and other users of the marine environment.
The gap analysis identified that recent values for most of the values of potential use to fisheries and aquaculture management were unavailable. This limits the role of benefit transfers and identifies a need for further primary studies of non-market values.