|Abstract or Summary
- Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) is a relatively new tool for fisheries and aquaculture. Being part of the broader incentive- or market-based incentives, PES is a positive and voluntary incentive mechanism that compensates actors for increasing or maintaining the provision of ecosystem services. Our investigation considers potential and actual PES application in freshwater, coastal and marine systems, and assesses their potential to support fisheries management and biodiversity conservation in particular when bundled with other existing management tools. An overview of different examples, real or fictitious, shows how PES can be applied to help conflicting situations in multiple ecosystem services delivery and can be implemented in a wide range of different institutional and socio-economic conditions. In each example, critical elements in PES implementation are highlighted, including the identification of buyers, the motivation and participation of different stakeholders, and the occurrence of free-riders. Each example is also qualitatively assessed relative to the four dimensions of sustainability - governance, environmental, economic and social - to guide PES development to support good governance, allow the delivery of multiple ecosystem services, directly support livelihoods, increase stewardship towards ecosystem use and management, and link PES to other financing mechanisms to ensure its long-term viability. The emerging picture of PES' strengths and weaknesses provides insights on when PES are more likely to be successful in achieving socially optimal resource use and conservation within fisheries, especially when used as part of a suite of management and biodiversity conservation tools.