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Recreational Fishing and the Benefits of Oyster Reef Restoration in the Chesapeake Bay

  • Robert L. Hicks


    (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary)

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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Paper provided by Department of Economics, College of William and Mary in its series Working Papers with number 01.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 15 May 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cwm:wpaper:1
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  1. Yoshiaki Kaoru & V. Kerry Smith & Jin Long Liu, 1995. "Using Random Utility Models to Estimate the Recreational Value of Estuarine Resources," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 77(1), pages 141-151.
  2. 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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