Sumaila, U.R., Suatoni, E. (2005) Fish Economics: The Benefits of Rebuilding U.S. Ocean Fish Populations. Fisheries Economics Research Unit.

U.S. fish stocks are a valuable natural resource that provides a wealth of environmental and economic benefits. Fish populations benefit regional economies by supporting the fishing industry, wholesale and retail fish markets, and restaurants, as well as recreational fishing, diving, and other activities. This paper determines the discounted flow of net benefits (net present value or NPV) that can be derived by the commercial and 26 recreational sectors from rebuilding 17 different overfished stocks from around the United States. Two management scenarios were analyzed and compared, that is, the “recent catch” and the “rebuilding” scenarios. The total estimated net present value (NPV) from all the 17 stocks studied under the recent catch scenario is $194 million. The equivalent amount under the rebuilding scenario is $567 million. Hence, in total, the 31 rebuilding scenario delivered approximately three times the recent catch scenario NPV. As this analysis was conducted on a subset of federally declared overfished fish populations (17 out of 76 in 2003) and, because it represents only a partial valuation for those 17, these estimated economic gains represent only a fraction of the total potential gains associated with rebuilding federally managed ocean fish populations.

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