Deep-sea biodiversity, economic value, marine protected areas, choice
experiment, option-use value, existence value
The deep-sea includes over 90% of the world oceans and is thought to be one of the mostdiverse ecosystems in the World. It supplies society with valuable ecosystem services,including the provision of food, the regeneration of nutrients and the sequestration of carbon.Technological advancements in the second half of the 20th century made large-scaleexploitation of mineral-, hydrocarbon- and fish resources possible. These economic activities,combined with climate change impacts, constitute a considerable threat to deep-seabiodiversity. Many governments, including that of the UK, have therefore decided toimplement additional protected areas in their waters of national jurisdiction. To support thedecision process and to improve our understanding for the acceptance of marine conservationplans across the general public, a choice experiment survey asked Scottish households fortheir willingness-to-pay for additional marine protected areas in the Scottish deep-sea. Thisstudy is one of the first to use valuation methodologies to investigate public preferences forthe protection of deep-sea ecosystems. The experiment focused on the elicitation ofeconomic values for two aspects of marine biodiversity: (i) the existence value for deep-seaspecies and (ii) the option-use value of deep-sea organisms as a source for future medicinalproducts.