The economics of enhancing the marine protected areas in the Cayman Islands


The Government of the Cayman Islands is currently considering to improve zone designation and expand coverage of the marine protected areas around its three islands. To support their decision-making process, Wolfs Company developed an economic valuation of ecosystem services and a cost-benefit analysis (CBA).

The economic valuation focused on benefits obtained from coral reefs, mangroves, seagrasses and beaches. It was estimated that the supply of ecosystem services to local residents, the tourism industry, private businesses and the international community, provides a total economic value of at least US$179 million per year.

The CBA considered possible changes in ecosystem services and management costs under different scenarios of marine protected area enhancement. The results of the study showed that the proposed marine parks enhancement will be a low-cost and low-risk investment with the potential to substantially improve overall human wellbeing in the Cayman Islands.