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Title: The Effect of Marine Based Tourism on the Coral Reefs of the British Virgin Islands
Author: Hime, Stephanie Patricia
ISNI:       0000 0001 3519 4464
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2008
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Coral reef resources are under threat globally from liuman-induced changes including; development, pollution, fishing, over-use and climatic change. Here I consider the ecological and economic effects of the scuba diving and snorkelling industries on the coral reefs of the British Virgin Islands (BVI). I begin examining the current ecological impacts of scuba diving and snorkelling across reefs in the BVI; I also look at diver behaviour, and the recovery of hard corals following exposure to diver damage. The intensity of dive and snorkelling use currently appears sustainable. However, there are several sites based on wrecks that are subject to extremely high levels of use, thus the benthic organisms situated at these sites are under significantly greater levels of stress than those situated at other sites. All corals monitored following simulated diver damage showed rapid recovery. However, there were differences in recovery times between hard coral species and types of damage. Coral reef ecosystems are particularly important to the economies of many island nations and help attract tourists as well as providing the basis for excursion industries such as scuba diving and snorkelling. In the later chapters of this thesis I focus on the current and potential value of coral reefs to the BVI by conducting several choice experiments with visual aids. I found a significant consumer surplus related to the guided scuba diving and snorkelling industries of the BVI, both of which were influenced by changes in environmental quality. Finally, ecological and economic methodologies were applied to a specific ecosystem threat. I used the 2005 Caribbean wide bleaching as an example of a catastrophic event experienced by the reefs of the BVI. The ensuing economic and ecological losses were measured and found to be significant. These results demonstrate the strength of a combined ecological and economic approach to reef management.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available