Proceedings of the Eighteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, held July 11-15, 2016 at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Center (AECC), Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.
Suggested Bibliographic Reference: Challenging New Frontiers in the Global Seafood Sector: Proceedings of the Eighteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, July 11-15, 2016. Compiled by Stefani J. Evers and Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2016.
Gulf of Mexico oyster safety is a significant health issue, ranking as the fourth leading cause of foodborne death in the United States. Seafood traceability is an approach that can be used to increase oyster safety. Traceability is the ability to follow seafood through all stages of production, processing and distribution. We estimate the willingness to pay for an oyster traceability program with the contingent valuation method (CVM). The survey was conducted with an internet panel sample of oyster consumers and obtained a useable sample size of 795. The CVM referendum vote scenario followed contingent behavior questions about oyster meal consumption under a seafood traceability program. We construct a behavioral response variable as the change in consumption with (1) improved safety with the traceability program and (2) higher prices with the program. We find that a negative (positive) behavioral response leads to a lower probability of voting for (against) the traceability program. The referendum votes suggest that oyster consumers are willing to pay $2 more each meal for the traceability program. Willingness to pay changes by 20% for each one unit change in oyster meal consumption with the traceability program. The estimate of the marginal effect of the behavioral response may be biased due to endogeneity. We explore various methods to control for endogeneity and find no evidence of endogeneity to date. Aggregated over the number of Gulf of Mexico oyster consumers, the total benefits of the traceability program are about $20 million.