Quantifying harvestable fish and crustacean production and associated economic values provided by oyster reefs

Ocean and Coastal Management
By: , and 



Quantifying ecosystem services can provide information to justify conservation and restoration decisions so as to allocate limited resources effectively. Consequently, decision makers and public typically ask for simple and understandable information with confidence regarding the availability of the services and the probable economic value. Here, we compiled published information on density enhancement and species life-history information to quantify fish and crustacean production and its uncertainty associated with the current extent of oyster (Crassostrea virginica) reefs in Mobile Bay, Alabama. We applied Alabama fishing size limits as a cutoff to exclude the production of non-harvestable size individuals. Fishery landing (2005–2015) and Willingness-To-Pay information were used to quantify the economic benefit of the harvestable production enhancement (commercial and recreational production). Sixteen species were found to be production-enhanced in the bay with a mean of 354 ± 182 g m−2 year−1, of which 170 ± 112 g m−2 year−1 was economically quantifiable based on their harvestable production and landing information. The mean economic value was $509,000 year−1 in direct economic value for commercial fishers and $19.59 million year−1 estimated by the willingnesstopay value from recreational anglers. The results demonstrated a substantial positive economic benefit of ecosystem services from oyster reefs associated with fishery production in Mobile Bay, Alabama. The method could be applied elsewhere to estimate the economic return from the investment of conserving and restoring of similar structured habitats.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Quantifying harvestable fish and crustacean production and associated economic values provided by oyster reefs
Series title Ocean and Coastal Management
DOI 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2020.105104
Volume 108
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description 105104, 10 p.
Country United States
State Alabama
Other Geospatial Mobile Bay
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