[Coral-List] Charges for coral damage in Marshall Islands

J. Wielgus jwielgus at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 12 11:03:20 EDT 2008

Dear Andrew,

Ideally, compensation for the damage to the coral reef should be equal to the reduction in the ecosystem services caused by the vessel grounding (assuming that services will be restored in time, i.e., that restoration is not required to prevent a loss of services in perpetuity). Because the calculation of this value is complex, you could focus on specific services, such as recreation. You mentioned that the damaged areas are popular destinations for tourist-snorkelers. The party responsible for damaging the reefs should be liable to compensate these recreational users for the reduction caused to their recreational experiences. A method and illustration to calculate this value is given in the "General Protocol for Calculating the Basis of Monetary Legal Claims for Damages to Coral Reefs by Vessel Groundings and an Application to the Northern Red Sea", which is available in ReefBase. The estimated value could be defended in court as a lower bound for the
 required compensation.

Best of luck with the resolution of this landmark case.

Jeffrey Wielgus
Fisheries Centre
University of British Columbia  


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