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An Economic Analysis of Shellfish Harvests Regulations for Food Safety

Sergio Alvarez, Daniel Solis () and Joonghyun Hwang

No 252721, 2017 Annual Meeting, February 4-7, 2017, Mobile, Alabama from Southern Agricultural Economics Association

Abstract: Among causative agents of food-borne illness associated with shellfish consumption, Vibrio vulnificus has been identified as a special concern due to the high mortality it can induce, particularly to individuals with poor health and immune disorders. Food-borne V. vulnificus infections increase during the summer months due to higher densities of the bacteria in warmer water and increased risks associated with inappropriate handling of shellfish. To prevent the incidence of V. vulnificus infections, the FDA requires shellfish producing states to develop a Vibrio control plan and conduct an annual risk evaluation. In Florida the daily harvest period is regulated to minimize the length of time between shellfish harvest and processing, and this harvest period has been recently reduced for summer harvest to prevent food borne illness. The adoption of these public health regulations could affect the profitability and sustainability of oyster harvesting in Florida, especially among resource-dependent coastal communities. This study combines bioeconomic modeling and cost benefit analysis to assess the impact of this regulation on fishers’ harvest and revenues, and weighs that impact against the regulation’s potential public health benefits. Our results show that fishers will experience reduced harvests early in the season due to the shorter length of the harvest days, but this initial loss will be recouped later in the season as harvests remain high for longer than they would have if the harvest time regulations were not in place. The new regulations may yield significant net benefits even if only a small number of cases of V. vulnificus can be prevented.

Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy; Environmental Economics and Policy; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr and nep-env
Date: 2017
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