First international payment for marine ecosystem services: the case of the Banc d’Arguin National Park, Mauritania

Thomas Binet, Pierre Failler, Pablo N. Chavance, Mohamed Abidine Mayif

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article investigates whether the European Union-Mauritania fisheries agreement, which allocates part of the Europe’s financial contribution to the conservation of marine ecosystems located within the Banc d’Arguin National Park, can be regarded as a payment for ecosystem service. A framework for qualification as such payment scheme was established based on an extensive literature review. The criteria identified for the qualification as a payment to ecosystem service pertain to: (1) the definition of the ecosystem service(s) involved; (2) the mechanism involved by the payment; and (3) the nature of the transaction. Interviews with local beneficiaries and subsequent data analysis led to the conclusion that this mechanism could be regarded as a payment to ecosystem service and so, through the European Union-Mauritania Fisheries agreement, the European Union were investing to protect local fish resources that could be exploited by its fishing fleet. This agreement, involving the first International Payment to Ecosystem Service of this kind, marks an important step towards better consideration of marine conservation in international public policy and foreign fishing policy in particular. However, this payment is small when compared to revenues generated through the exploitation of developing countries’ fishing grounds by fishing countries. Nevertheless it opens the door for more detailed applications of payment to ecosystem service schemes to other ecosystems contexts, and can provide a useful alternative source of financing of marine biodiversity conservation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1434-1443
    JournalGlobal Environmental Change
    Issue number6
    Early online date28 Oct 2013
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


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