Earth Observations Can Enable Cost-Effective Conservation of Eastern North Pacific Blue Whales: A Value of Information Analysis
We conduct an analysis to estimate the value of information (VOI) of Earth observations for prospective regulation of marine shipping to conserve Eastern North Pacific blue whales in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States.
We conduct an analysis to estimate the value of information (VOI) of Earth observations for prospective regulation of marine shipping to conserve Eastern North Pacific blue whales in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States. Outcomes are driven by differences across two data products that can be used to inform regulations to limit ship strikes. In the reference case, vessel speed limits depend on species distribution data from shipboard surveys. In the counterfactual case, speed limits depend on species distributions predicted by WhaleWatch, a federal data product incorporating information from several remote sensing technologies. The VOI is identified as the difference in costs to marine shipping operators under the reference and counterfactual cases for regulation of vessel speeds. We estimate that the annual VOI of WhaleWatch is US$21–332 million, depending on the conservation goals of the modeled regulation. Conserving more blue whales—averting more ship strikes—increases the VOI.
Richard L. Bernknopf
Richard L. Bernknopf is a a visiting research fellow at RFF and research professor in the Department of Economics at the University of New Mexico.
Andrew Steinkruger is Andrew Steinkruger is a Research Analyst to the VALUABLES Consortium, a cooperative agreement between RFF and NASA.
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