mits. Under the common law a polluter may, after a minimum period of prescrip- tion, provided other stringent conditions are satisfied, acquire a right to continue with a polluting activity. This right would appear to be transferable in similarity with kindred property rights such as easements and profits.
What emerges to this point is the picture of a region coming to terms with the new art of integrating ecological valuation into its legal and regulatory systems. However, theory is one thing and practice another. Although many and varied oppor- tunities exist to use innovative techniques to compute environment al values, empiri- cal applications are rather disappointing. There is still a predominance of the tradi- tional notions of the ecosystem as public goods 'at large'. Not only are such goods 'free' in the economic sense that they are not perceived to have any market value; natural resources are also 'free' in the sense of being outside the traditional cate- gories of property rights and interests. There is no known case of the Crown asserting common law rights for loss to the biosphere, as distinct from clean-up costs and related expenditure. For example, the authorities are curiously silent concerning whether, in an action for public nuisance, the Attorney General may recover dam- ages for environmental degradation as dis- tinct from an injunction to enforce discon- tinuance and recovery of associated administrative expenses.
At the same time the traditional perspective must now be juxtaposed with modern notions concerning with the total value of an ecosystem or environmental ‘good’. The objective is not to place an esti- mate upon the intrinsic value, a rather neb- ulous concept that some consider objec- tionable on philosophical grounds, but to
devise techniques and methods of arriving at the total use and non-use value of the natural ecosystem. Use values represent the value of outputs or services that the ecosystem provides and may be direct, for example where a coral reef directly pro- vides for tourism, recreation, a fishing economy, tourist facilities, mariculture, pharmaceuticals, genetic material, aquari- um and curio trade. Indirect use value may be provided as, for example, where a coral reef provides physical protection from storms, acts as a store of carbon and as a habitat for marine life. Non-use values relate to those values not usually market as goods, such as the value placed upon an environment free from air and noise pollu- tion or the ecology of a swampland. The absence of a market in these services has led to the development of at least three innovative techniques for their valuation. Option value is the value placed on the environment in its present state, to keep it for use in the future. Existence or contin- gency value is the value an individual places on an environmental good to just know that it still exists, for example, the value placed on saving endangered leatherback turtles. Bequest value is the value placed by an individual on an envi- ronmental good for future generations.
These contradictory forces in Caribbean treatment of the valuation of environmental harm are evident in several recent incidents. For present purposes these incidents are described under the fol- lowing titles — (a) the M/V Star II Limassol incident; (b) the Beef Island valuation; and (c) the Nariva swamp assessment; and (d) the Broderick case.
The M/V Star II Limassol Incident.
M/V Star II Limassol provides an example of the disjuncture between inflic- tion of environmental damage and recovery of economic compensation. On 8th April, 1998 the Star II Limassol ran aground at