Date of Original Version
Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) can cause massive fish kills all over the world. However, some commercially caught species are safe to eat. The fish safe for consumption are vastly different from the fish that wash up on shore. Prior research finds this difference in edibility is mostly unknown by consumers, and that the misperception of unhealthy and unsafe fish is the dominant paradigm. To date, there has been minimal research on the effect of disseminating this information regarding seafood health to consumers, and how consumption habits would change during a bloom. We implement a survey that presents respondents with information explaining the health and safety of certain commercially caught seafood during a HAB, specifically red grouper. It is a particularly popular, large, deep-sea fish. Our results suggest that respondents receiving this information are 34 percentage points more likely to say that they would be willing to consume red grouper during a bloom, relative to consumers who were not provided this added information. Prior knowledge of this information suggests long-term outreach programs may be more effective than last minute “point of sale” information campaigns. The results demonstrated the importance of correct knowledge and awareness regarding HABs, as it pertains to efforts to stabilize local economies dependent on seafood harvesting and consumption.
Publication Title, e.g., Journal
Bechard, A., & Lang, C. (2023). Seafood consumption during harmful algal blooms: The impact of information regarding safety and health. Harmful Algae, 123, 102387. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hal.2023.102387
Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hal.2023.102387