Recreational Fishing and the Benefits of Oyster Reef Restoration in the Chesapeake Bay
In this paper, I use a travel cost model of recreation demand to analyze the economic benefits to the Bay's recreational fishermen from proposed oyster reef restoration programs. The model explicitly links historical oyster bottom conditions to recreational fishing catch to capture ecosystem and habitat benefits. I find that observed catch is indeed higher in areas associated with higher quality reef areas. This relationship enables the estimation of recreational fishing values for improved Bay habitat since fishermen value higher catches and restoration of oyster bottom will lead to higher quality reef areas hence higher catch. It should be noted that our model provides a reduced form relationship between catch, the underlying fish population, and habitat quality; however, recent work show that oyster bottom provide good foraging habitat for a number of species and may therefore act as attractors and perhaps may lead to larger numbers of striped bass in the future. We find that benefits from oyster reef restoration are measurable and can account for a substantial portion of the costs of restoration.
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- Hanemann, W. Michael, 1982. "Applied Welfare Analysis with Qualitative Response Models," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt7982f0k8, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
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