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Recovery Strategy for the Leatherback Turtle in Atlantic Canada

8. Socio-Economic Considerations

Under SARA , one or more action plans must be prepared to implement the recovery strategy. The action plan(s) must include an evaluation of the socio-economic costs of the action plan and the benefits derived from its implementation [Section 49(1)(e)]. Because it is not currently possible to identify the preferred suite of leatherback turtle recovery tools, it is only possible to make general statements about the costs and benefits of leatherback turtle conservation and recovery at this time.

The costs of conservation tend to be "upfront" costs and are often concentrated geographically or by industry sector. The benefits of conservation, on the other hand, tend to be diffuse across society and may not be realized until some time in the future.

For the public sector, the costs associated with conservation and recovery may include the costs of gathering information (including scientific investigation), consultations, negotiations, monitoring and enforcement. Care must be taken to properly account for the net costs and benefits of various sectors – one person's "cost" may be another person's "benefit". A second important consideration is that monitoring and enforcement can rapidly become prohibitively expensive when resource users do not "buy in" to action plans. This highlights the potential importance of public sector investments in conservation awareness programmes, consultation, and trust-building activities as part of broad conservation and recovery programmes.

The benefits of leatherback turtle conservation and recovery accruing to Canadian society could include: Non-consumptive direct use value (e.g., wildlife viewing tours); Indirect use value (e.g., contributions by the animal to the regulation of ecosystem services); Information value (e.g., the value of documenting key life history parameters that could be used for population modeling and better management in the future); Value to future generations; and Existence value (i.e., the value of leatherback turtles to Canadians who will never "use" them in any way).