The objective of this Theme Section (TS) is to explore how economics, in conjunction with ecology and other disciplines (i.e. consilience), can be deployed to support the conservation of marine ecosystem biodiversity, function and services through time, for the benefit of both current and future generations. The TS also demonstrates the considerable progress made in the 60 yr following the pioneering works that practicably established the research discipline of fisheries eco- nomics. Eight papers explore various social and economic aspects of marine conservation, and ad- dress a variety of broad questions such as: (1) How can ecosystem service assessments be better used to inform policy? (2) How can ecosystem-based management principles be incorporated into governance? (3) Will trade in whaling quotas result in the conservation of whales? (4) How can spa- tial bioeconomics support effective management and conservation of marine ecosystems? (5) How can the welfare of coastal human populations and marine ecosystems be enhanced? (6) How much of the world‘s fish stocks are shared? (7) What are the values of the goods and services provided by ecosystems? (8) How large are the financial and ecological deficits (surpluses) of nations?