The preferences of commercial fishermen to supply collaborative research in New England: A welfare analysis

Joshua B Wiersma, University of Rhode Island


The 2007 re-authorization of the Magnuson Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act calls for greater participation by commercial fishermen in NOAA's collaborative research programs. The M-S Act lists a set of research priorities of particular importance to complete, collaboratively, with the help of commercial fishermen and their vessels. To gauge how willing commercial fishermen in New England are to help develop and execute the type of collaborative research (C R) deemed important by policy makers, an industry wide economic assessment of collaborative research was done based on a contingent valuation stated choice experiment (CF) mail survey. Fifteen hundred owner/captains of all gear type, who held a federal multi-species permit were given the real opportunity to be listed in a database of potential collaborative research partners to be maintained at the Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership (MFP) in Gloucester, MA. Responding fishermen reported their preferences to supply alternative types of collaborative research at different levels of daily compensation and days on the water per year. Research types were grouped into four alternatives: biology/ecosystem and habitat; gear technology and development: stock assessment and species enhancement; and an alternative to do no research. Based on a nested logit econometric model, compensating surplus estimates of welfare were derived for the supply of each research alternative type, for the associated attributes, and for individual characteristics of fishermen (grouped by the type of gear they fish). The major finding of this research is that different commercial fishermen have different preferences for the type of CR executed aboard their vessel. In general, fishermen prefer stock assessment and monitoring projects over both gear conservation and biology/ecosystem/habitat studies. Preferences for research vary, however, by the type of gear fished, by one's production factors, and due to previous experience with CR. I argue that the efficiency and cost effectiveness of expanded cooperative research programs may be improved if policy makers utilize knowledge of fishermen's preferences, and take into account their willingness to trade utility for one type of CR or project design over another. Finally, Chapter 6 compares a stochastic bioeconomic model with traditional fisheries research to a stochastic bio-economic model with CR. The intent is to show that ceteris paribus , fisheries research via CR produces a higher net benefit over tine.

Subject Area

Economics|Agricultural economics|Aquatic sciences

Recommended Citation

Joshua B Wiersma, "The preferences of commercial fishermen to supply collaborative research in New England: A welfare analysis" (2010). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3431511.