Anglers' responses to bait certification regulations: the case of virus-free bait demand
Christopher McIntosh and
Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy, 2015, vol. 4, issue 3, 223-237
The threat of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) to the sport fish of the Great Lakes region has caused the state of Michigan to regulate some types of fishing bait that could spread the disease. Given large-scale fish kills from VHS are uncertain and regulation costly, it is important to consider the knowledge level of anglers and their estimated benefits from these regulations. About 75% of anglers self-reported being at least somewhat familiar with VHS and VHS regulations, and agreeing that VHS is a serious threat to the health of Great Lakes' fish populations. Demand for a popular baitfish susceptible to VHS, emerald shiners, was estimated using a contingent valuation method survey. The results suggest increased likelihood of purchase and mean willingness to pay point estimate premiums between 15% and 29% for certified bait. The inclusion of an educational piece on VHS and regulations in our survey did not lead to significant demand differences from those who did not receive the extra information. These results may help regulators efficiently allocate funding for the prevention of spreading VHS and allow bait shops to understand better the value of certified bait.
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