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.
Nonnative lionfish were introduced to the coastal waters of southern Florida about 30 years ago. Since then, lionfish populations have rapidly grown and spread throughout the Caribbean, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Without a significant predator and a voracious appetite, the lionfish invasion has significantly altered the population dynamics of native marine species. Examining the efficacy of potential methods to control the growing population of lionfish is now a top priority across Gulf state fisheries. One strategy being advocated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) is a “if you can’t beat them, eat them” campaign. As lionfish are not available at market, we conduct a field experiment to elicit seafood consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) to eat lionfish as a private good and for the public good component of a campaign to help control the growing population. Using the Becker-Degroot-Marschak method and eliciting WTP values from 313 seafood consumers, we find that consumers’ baseline WTP (based on prior-held beliefs) is about $5.50 for a 3-ounce serving. This indicates that a demand exists that could potentially lead to a viable commercial lionfish fishery to develop in the Gulf. Further, we find that consumers value the public good component of their behavior and are willing to pay an additional $1.58 above baseline to support the campaign. Disentangling this effect, we find that $0.63 of this premium is due to consumers’ WTP to help control the growing population, with an additional $0.95 to help avoid the localized extinction of reef-fish species.