Ecological functions and economic value of the Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) in Los Olivitos Estuary, Venezuela
We present the ecological functions of cormorants and estimate the economic value of these functions to artisanal fishermen, as a valuation exercise for Neotropic Cormorants at Los Olivitos Estuary, Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela. Ecological functions were based on estimating the abundance, distribution and diet of cormorants; economic values were attached to a selection of goods, services and attributes. Based on available information, we selected four ecological–economic functions of cormorants: harvesting for food; contributors to fish diversity; indicators of fish schools; and contributors to fish biomass, due to guano production. Cormorants consumed nine commercial fish species. Mean consumption was 225 g/ind/day. All ecological–economic functions were positive except for the role as contributors to fish biomass. Total value of the cormorant population to fishermen was $5,429,703/year. Unlike many studies, our results show that Neotropic Cormorants have a negligible impact on artisanal fisheries. We emphasize the importance of these results for management policies.
Volume (Year): 16 (2011)
Issue (Month): 05 (October)
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