Caroline Hoisington | Media pick up on ‘Zoning SA Marine Parks’

CPD marine economy fellow puts “dollar value” on protected eco-services

Caroline’s CPD paper generated some excellent media coverage, particularly in South Australia.

With the state government set to finalise and release plans for the marine parks in a matter of weeks, the expectation is that a marine park system will be in place by the end of this year.  Government estimates put the consequent financial loss for commercial fisheries at $12.6 million a year however this is more than made up for by the $22.8 million per year at which Caroline’s CPD paper, Zoning South Australia’s Marine Parks valued the potential benefit of marine parks and sanctuary zones.  This economic boost will be accompanied by a wealth of ecological benefits, with its knock-on benefits for eco-tourism.

Economist and author of the new report, Caroline Hoisington, said marine plants and animals worked together in unique ecosystems that performed essential services.

“Ecosystem services are from natural processes such as seagrasses and kelp beds providing fish nurseries, natural pest and disease control and climate regulation in the form of carbon and heat storage in the ocean”.

Download Zoning SA marine parks paper in full

Read coverage of Zoning SA marine parks in Adelaide Now

Read coverage of Zoning SA marine parks in the Herald Sun

Hear Caroline Hoisington on ABC Rural Radio, 23 October

Caroline was also interviewed by Reymer Martin on WIN TV News (no link available).


Blog Comments

I have read the report and would like to comment on Table 3 detailing displaced fishery estimates. These are wrong and completely misleading. Take for example the abalone column estimating loss to total $1.4 million, when the true loss is close to zero. I will give 2 examples; Western K.I. is listed as $0.5 million when there are no sanctuary zones there at all; in Encounter the fishery has long collapsed, as shown by published work on it. The catches at Nuyts Archipelago, Sir Joseph banks Gp, Pearson I., and other sites listed are very low. I know the above because I worked on the fishery for >30 years in the State Fisheries Dept, and then SARDI.

Scoresby Shepherd AO

Thanks for your post, Mr Shepherd. I am relaying this response from Caroline Hoisington: “Our numbers in this table have been taken from the Marine Park Regional Impact Statement, commissioned by the State & published on the State website. Mr. Shepherd appears to have detailed local knowledge that, if correct, would have been useful in the impact assessment work. His numbers would have reduced the estimated value of the fishery displaced and therefore the costs of establishing the sanctuary zones.”

Why is it Mr Shepherds responsibilty isnt it your resposibility to access accurate data. If he has it surely you and Miss Hoisinton had access to it.

Mr Shepard, have you seen the maps? Cape Decoudic zone is situated where it over laps 2 Abalone fishing blocks. This zone accounts for 100% of the Abalone in 1 block and 90% of the Abalone in the other which equates for 5.2 tons of meat weight (averaged out over 5 years). Its situated in the Western KI marine park along with 2 other sanctuary zones. I would like to see historical catch data for the encouter park RE Abalone which would indicate that there was a viable fishery there to begin with. I am aware that there is still Abalone taken from around the Pages Islets. I have also heard that the catches around Nyuts Archipeligo account for 70% of that regions catches but this is not my jurastiction.

hello Scoresby, Jonas Woolford here, President of the Abalone Industry Association of SA, diver of fifteen years & following in my fathers fins. The figures quoted are infact correct as they are the historical averages determined by the agreed methodology with PIRSA & SARDI to work out the displacement. The methodology unfortunaely doesn’t account for the hotspot nature of fishing and for certain areas (such as the St Francis Group) the industries assesment of impact is higher. It is of course less for other areas. Over all it worked out about the same for the western zone that is Industry & PIRSA/SARDI figures.
I have trouble following some of the logic of the other figures in this report. If 6% sanctuary provides $20 million per annum
to the SA economy in ecosystem services then if the total 44% were sanctuary as
is the size of the marine parks this would equate to around $140 million to the

The fishing industry is worth around $200 million per annum to the state.
Because two thirds of the catch comes from with in the 44% we could assume that
$133 million could be wiped off of that value. If this were the case it may be
considered an option for the Govt. To pay the fishermen $133 million a year to
do nothing and take the windfall of $7 million??? Ecosystem services at work?

And another one, Caroline. This paper has certainly sparked a debate! Abi

 On p.9 of the report is a link to the “Stocking Up”
report where the methodology for determining financial climate regulation
attribution is explained.

“Stocking Up”, p62;

“We used estimates of the average carbon stored per hectare
for different biomes, multiplied by an estimated carbon price of A$23/
tonne of CO2-equivalent.”

Have not events overtaken the $23/tonne? Does this
not require a re-evaluation of the SA paper for the SZ climate regulation
“dollar value” contribution?
That is to say – if $23/tonne has actually been used to derive the $12.24
million in climate regulation ecosystem service for the SA SZs, shouldn`t that
actually be closer to more like $10/tonne, or thereabouts, given the carbon
price developments over the last few months?

 Another query, to clarify things for my benefit

Stocking Up,
“We estimated the average carbon stored per
hectare by assuming 10% of the Net Primary Production (NPP) rates published by
Pauly & Christensen and McCarthur & Boland. This assumes 20% of the carbon processed by marine biota is transferred
to the deep ocean, based on IPCC global carbon cycle estimates
for the 1990’s. We assumed half this
retained amount was in a stable or
persistent form, to arrive at 10% of NPP sequestered per
Why is it “based on
IPCC global carbon cycle estimates for the
– If we are to take that
statement at face value, by inference there is a methodology or attribution
process being utilised from going on two decades ago. Am I to take it that there
has been no update on methods/assessment of marine carbon cycle processes since
– If the intent is to say
that the information dates back to what was available from specifically the
IPCC`s AR1 and AR2 in the 1990`s, does that then mean that the TAR (2001) and
AR4 (2007) did not amend anything from the first two reports in relation to this

 Requesting a conceptual clarification if I

The paper ascribes a climate regulation benefit to
the proposed Sanctuary Zones to the tune of $12.24 million.

Presumably this is based on the carbon
sequestration capability of extant biota within the SZs (unless I have misread
the paper, and the financial benefits accruing are those from additional biota
anticipated to come into existence as a result of the creation of the

If I am correct in my presumption, on what basis is
a financial climate regulation benefit “to South Australians and Australia as a
whole” now being ascribed to the SZ areas given that they would be providing a
climate regulation function regardless of whether they were SZs or

This seems to me to be a rather artificial
construct whereby one arbitrarily “creates” what is touted as a physical
dollars-and-cents financial benefit, based on no more than pre-existing
environmental assets.

One could likewise arbitrarily state that the
entire SA Marine Park estate of 44% of state waters is, at the stroke of a pen,
as of now providing [pick a number based on any given formalised methodology]
millions of dollars in climate regulation “benefits”, could one

 A query with respect to change of context
regarding anticipated fish price increases;

The June 2012 Paper 19 pertaining to the
Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network states on p11

“Global fish prices are set to increase by an
estimated 30% by 2020 compared to 2008-10 by recent OECD-FAO

The October 2012 SA Marine Parks Zoning Paper
states on p16

“Australia’s fisheries, assuming we manage to
keep them in good shape, will see the prices they get for fish increase by an
estimated 30% by 2020 compared to 2008-10, according to OECD-FAO estimates. With this
prediction in mind, ensuring that Australia’s fisheries remain productive for
the future is an important strategy.”

The former unambiguously states that prices will
increase globally, the latter (whilst certainly not saying that prices won`t
increase elsewhere) nonetheless refers specifically to Australia, and infers
that Australia will be positioned to advantage by virtue of the second

Would it be possible to enquire as to why this
change of wording and (at the very least, inferred) context has occurred between
the two papers?


Caroline Hoisington

Hi George,

Good  catch.  The concept is that analysis by international groups such as FAO & OECD (and others) generally predicts a significant increase in prices for fish based largely on the fact that globally overfishing has becoming a major issue, and inevitably prices for traded fish will rise on a simple falling supply and increasing demand issue.  (e.g here’s a quote from a New York Times article of 2 days ago [28 Oct]: “Again and again, we have watched fishing nations fish their way into a dead end where the only recourse is to stop fishing entirely for a number of years.”)

Here is another from 19 Oct, also from the New York Times: “The journal Science recently published the first comprehensive analysis of more than 10,000 fisheries — roughly 80 percent of our global fish catch. The conclusion: fish populations worldwide are swiftly declining. This global analysis paints a stark new picture of a global ocean fished to exhaustion in an increasingly hungry world.”

Globally, supply is only increasing globally in aquaculture, most of it freshwater in SE Asia. Marine harvest globally has stagnated and is predicted to decrease.  Demand keeps increasing.  

Given all this, the projection is that the high-quality seafood that Australia produces will be worth more over time.  Already, our export prices for lobster, abalone and tuna should be an indication of that.  We now export significant amounts of those fisheries and are likely to in the future.  If we import lower-value fish, often processed and sell that as well as our own, largely higher-value production, it is to meet different segments of market demand domestically.  

Australia has done a far better job than most countries in managing its fish, and part of AFMA’s current objective is to manage in a way that rebuilds the stocks that have been overfished.  This does not mean that there are no problems, however, and the crash of the western rock lobster fishery should be a warning that even a well-managed fishery can be at risk if catch limits do not have enough of a ‘buffer’ in unharvested stock (whatever the reason for the crash).  Fish stocks can crash quickly; some may rebuild quickly but most do not and some so slowly as to be a total economic loss.

Ideally, we will continue to sell high-quality fish into the international market and get increasingly high prices, as are predicted in the global context.  This is likely to have an effect on the domestic market as well, as is already the case.  We are affected by international prices.  (A couple of us were in the Sydney fish market early one morning, and when a visitor, looking at the yellow-fin tuna for sale asked the guide “what happens when you get a blue fin tuna in here?” the guide jokingly said “it gets a first class ticket to Tokyo.”)

Our argument is that while it is nice to think that we could just keep increasing the volume of production (the supply in economic terms), our fishery production is best protected by avoiding fishery stock crashes, and marine protected zones are a part of good management and that strategy.

Thank you for your post.

To me this seems like a paper made to order. Its ambiguous at best. The timing of the release of the paper on the day consultation regarding Marine Parks closed concerns me. Very little science on the areas to be protected and i suggest you would not know what you are protecting because nobody has taken due process to to actually find out. Why could this paper not be done by someone who is pro rec fishing to the extent thatMiss Hoisington is pro green. Im sure if Miss Hoisington had her way then every inch of SA water would be declared no go zones, example: “especially if larger proportions than the 6% proposed in the South Australianzoning are ultimately protected” this is a concern, what is she leading up to here. Another example “these areas MAY be better able to adapt to and survive Ocean warming andacidification if they are free of fishing” what sort of statement is that “MAY” nothing will survive ocean acidification lets face facts, does Miss Hoisington think all rec fishers go out with a few litres of battery acid each time we fish im not sure.  Why no mention of health risks to Rec fishers that are forced to fish in less than pristine areas where industry and major population waste are an issue.  Nuyts reef would be fished by very few rec fisherman each year as its 30k’s offshore in the Great Australian Bight. I could go on and on but more inteligent people than me are blowing holes in it already so i’ll leave them to do that. Let me make it clear i am not against Marine Parks at all considering three quarters of the worlds oceans are in massive decline, they are needed to ensure we can all benefit from our waters now and into the future. What i am against is one eyed views driven by an agenda, lack of decent consultation with all peoples affected by Marine Parks, people took time off work lost money and invested valuable time to come up with question, find solutions to Government issues, give information the Government was looking for but then largely completely ignored.
The Government has one over riding agenda and that is to do it bigger and supposedly better than anywhere else in the world so they can go “Hey look weve done are we not the greatest or what” . Im sick and tired of people like Miss Hoisington going after the easy targets such as Rec Fishers when everyone is in agreement that commercial fishing is the major contributing factor. The state needs commercial fishing no question but i think her time and efforts would of been better spent figuring out how we as an industry can do it better in terms of enviromental impact and sustainability than producing another made to order document.

some good points hidden in the usual crazy ranting of the rec fishing lobby. This sort of stuff turns me off just as much as the ‘protect every square inch lobby’.

May i add this so we can have a ballanced debate on Miss Hoisingtons work please.
I believe its only fair, you may not and choose not to but that would certainly be biased on your behalf.

Marine Parks Management Alliance slams ‘inflated’  zoning value report.

The problem with this analysis is that it is based on theoretical garbage about the supposed environmental benefits of “protecting” the ocean through marine parks. Even if the benefits were real none if them accrue from shutting down a non threatening and non damaging activity like sustainable fishing. Garbage in gives garbage out Caroline….

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