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An Economic Analysis of Shellfish Harvests Regulations for Food Safety


  • Alvarez, Sergio
  • Solis, Daniel
  • Hwang, Joonghyun


Among causative agents of food-borne illness associated with shellfish consumption, Vibrio vulnificus has been identified as a special concern due to the high mortality it can induce, particularly to individuals with poor health and immune disorders. Food-borne V. vulnificus infections increase during the summer months due to higher densities of the bacteria in warmer water and increased risks associated with inappropriate handling of shellfish. To prevent the incidence of V. vulnificus infections, the FDA requires shellfish producing states to develop a Vibrio control plan and conduct an annual risk evaluation. In Florida the daily harvest period is regulated to minimize the length of time between shellfish harvest and processing, and this harvest period has been recently reduced for summer harvest to prevent food borne illness. The adoption of these public health regulations could affect the profitability and sustainability of oyster harvesting in Florida, especially among resource-dependent coastal communities. This study combines bioeconomic modeling and cost benefit analysis to assess the impact of this regulation on fishers’ harvest and revenues, and weighs that impact against the regulation’s potential public health benefits. Our results show that fishers will experience reduced harvests early in the season due to the shorter length of the harvest days, but this initial loss will be recouped later in the season as harvests remain high for longer than they would have if the harvest time regulations were not in place. The new regulations may yield significant net benefits even if only a small number of cases of V. vulnificus can be prevented.

Suggested Citation

  • Alvarez, Sergio & Solis, Daniel & Hwang, Joonghyun, 2017. "An Economic Analysis of Shellfish Harvests Regulations for Food Safety," 2017 Annual Meeting, February 4-7, 2017, Mobile, Alabama 252721, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:saea17:252721
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.252721

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Antle, John M., 1999. "Benefits and costs of food safety regulation," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 605-623, December.
    2. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1983. "Non-linear regression models," Handbook of Econometrics,in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 333-389 Elsevier.
    3. Antle, John M., 2001. "Economic analysis of food safety," Handbook of Agricultural Economics,in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 19, pages 1083-1136 Elsevier.
    4. Gallant, A. Ronald, 1975. "Seemingly unrelated nonlinear regressions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 35-50, February.
    5. Sherry L. Larkin & Sergio Alvarez & Gil Sylvia & Michael Harte, 2011. "Practical Considerations in Using Bioeconomic Modelling for Rebuilding Fisheries," OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers 38, OECD Publishing.
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    Agricultural and Food Policy; Environmental Economics and Policy; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy;

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