Your Right to Fish for Food
Recreational marine fishing is a popular activity, with 33.7% of respondents participating. The female participation rate of 24.5% is markedly lower than males at 44.2% [ Z =5.82]. New Zealand Europeans are slightly more active (34.7%) than people of other ethnic origins (28.4%), however this difference is not significant at the 95% confidence level [ Z =1.43]. There are significant differences in participation by age (Figure 8). The under thirties and over seventies have participation rates of about 20%, while about 35%-40% of other age groups participate in marine recreational fishing.
Figure 8: Participation rates by age
Participation rate e stimates from the 1996 and 2000 national marine recreational fishing surveys range from 13.9% to 51.4% of households ( Kearney , 2002). The 1996 survey utilised a telephone survey, but two methods were employed in the 2000 survey. A telephone survey produced the 51.4% household participation rate (39% individual participation rate), while a personal interview survey produced a household participation rate of 38.7% (31% individual participation rate). The 1996 survey found 1.97 marine recreational fishers per active household, while this increased to 2.07 fishers per active household in 2000 (Kearney, 2002).
Our individual participation rate of 33.7% (for people 20 years or older) is dramatically different to the suspect 1996 national survey individual participation rate of 9.7% (Boyd & Reilly, 2002; Kearney , 2002). However, our findings do not assist in resolving the matter of whether the 2000 telephone or personal interview estimates are superior. Our postal survey-derived participation rate falls approximately in the centre of the range between the two, but it is also drawn from a different population, so is not directly comparable.
Based on responses to our survey, there are approximately 920,000 active adult recreational marine fishers in New Zealand . The 2000 national marine recreational fishing survey indicates that there are probably about 1.2 million active marine fishers in total.
There is very little support for the concept of a recreational fishing licence. Seventy one percent of respondents answered “No” to the question “Do you think that recreational fishers should have to obtain a licence to fish in the sea?” Not surprisingly, recreational fishers are more strongly against licences (85.1% of fishers against) than are non-fishers (63.9%).
The contingent behaviour data can be used for two main purposes: prediction of outcomes of implementation of a marine recreational fishing licence (including compliance and revenue generation), and valuation. In the case of valuation, price-induced changes in behaviour amongst fishers who are willing to purchase a licence can be used to measure the benefits that fishers obtain from recreational marine fishing under the licence scenario.Outcomes In The Presence Of A Marine Recreational Fishing Licence
Only data from active marine fishers (n=269) were retained for analysis. For the 241 respondents who provided a clear indication of whether they would participate in the fishery , three different models were fitted to predict behaviours as functions of licence price (Table 2). One model was fitted to predict licence purchase behaviour (Purchase), a second model was fitted to predict poaching behaviour (Poacher), and the third model was fitted to predict participation rates, whether legal or illegal (Participation). Logit models were fitted in each case.
Table 2: Fitted models (t-scores in parentheses):
In the Purchase and Participation models the sign on COST is negative and highly significant, as expected. This is not the case with the Poacher model. While the sign on COST is expectedly positive , it is not significant, indicating that the quantity of poaching is not systematically related to the licence fee.
Goodness-of-fit is measured using McFadden's R 2 . Care must be taken in interpreting this measure because, while it falls in the [0,1] range, it cannot be interpreted as the percent of variance explained, as in normal linear regression. McFadden's R 2 greater than 0.2 indicates a good fit, while a score of 0.4 or better indicates an excellent fit to the data. The Poacher model is an extremely poor fit, and the Participation model is poor, but the Purchase model provides a reasonable fit to the data. The large t-scores on COST in the Purchase and Participation models indicate that COST is an important explanatory factor in the modeled behaviours, but the low McFadden R 2 scores indicate that there are other important drivers of behaviour that are not explained by these simple models.
If a free licence were required, then participation and licence acquisition rates predicted by these models are 96.0% and 66.5% respectively. However, it should be noted that rates of 100% are not possible with the logit model, so 96% participation could be an underestimate. Participation and licence purchase behaviour models are illustrated in Figure 9. The amount of poaching is equal to the difference between the two lines showing participation and licence purchase. Poaching is approximately constant at around 35% of existing fishers . Once the licence fee is in the order of $70 numbers of poachers and licence holders are approximately equal and at $150 poachers are approximately twice as numerous as licence holders.
Figure 9: Behaviours contingent upon licence fee
Annual expenditures on the five most commonly caught species exceed $970 million and results in net benefits from fishing in the order of $220 million per year (SACES, 1999; Wheeler & Damania, 2001). Participation is in the order of one million people. Expenditure in the order of $1000 per fisher per year is a substantial portion of many households' disposable income, reflecting the importance that is placed on fishing. However, expenditures do not measure benefits obtained by fishers.
Valuation analysis proceeded by deleting from the sample all respondents who were not marine fishers. The data set was further reduced by removal of cases with non-valid responses, i.e. respondents who answered “ No, I wouldn't buy a license, but I would still fish in the sea ”, or who gave a “ Don't know ” response were removed from the sample. This reduced the sample size to 151 cases, which is marginal for dichotomous choice analysis.
Survival functions were fitted to the data using maximum likelihood regression (Table 3, Model A is the Purchase model in Table 2). Link functions utilised were logistic, log-logistic and Weibull. The log-logistic and Weibull functions fitted poorly, so the following analysis addresses only the logistic model. A wide range of independent variables, as well as the cost of a marine fishing licence, were entered into the models, but all except OVER60 (indicating the respondent was 60 years of age or older) were non-significant. This may be an artifact of the relatively small dataset. The coefficient on COST was always highly significant and negative, indicating decreasing willingness to purchase a licence at higher prices.
Table 3: Survival functions (t-scores in parentheses):
In both models the sign on COST is negative and highly significant, as expected. Model B shows a significant improvement over Model A and fits the data reasonably well. There is no appreciable difference in the estimated medians or means from these two models. However, Model B provides somewhat narrower confidence intervals.
The mean provides an estimate of the expected average annual benefit that would be obtained from marine fishing with the additional benefits of management enhancements flowing from licence fees, for those recreational marine fishers who would obey the law. Mean and median benefits are about $110 per existing fisher per year. Extrapolation of these benefits to all recreational marine fishers provides an estimate of aggregate use benefits of over $101 million [0.337*2.73 million * $110] per annum under the self-management scenario, but without a licence fee.
Care should be exercised in interpreting benefit measures. Firstly, they assume that poachers and people who provided a “don't know” response obtain benefits from fishing similar to benefits for people who would either quit fishing or would purchase a licence. Secondly, if the level of licence fee is systematically related to perceived fishery quality, then estimates are suspect. For example, if higher licence fees are associated with higher quality fishing then the benefit measures derived here overstate the benefits of fishing (and vice versa). There appears to be skepticism amongst the recreational fishing community that licence revenues would be used to enhance recreational fisheries, indicating that this assumption is not overly restrictive. Finally, the estimated benefit measures do not apply to the status quo, because the self-management scenario does not currently apply.
A conservative approach to benefit measurement is to assume that those fishers who indicated they would poach or who provided don't know responses receive no benefits at all, even if the licence were free. In that case, annual marine recreational fishery benefits are in the order of $58 million.Alternative Measures
One advantage of a licence fee is that it generates revenue for fishery management. The quantum of revenue generated is dependent on the level at which the licence fee is set. Figure 10 illustrates this dependency. Total benefits are the sum of revenue from licence sales and benefits obtained by active recreational marine fishers (fisher benefits). Fisher benefits decline as the licence fee increases because some fishers quit fishing, while for others benefits decline by the cost of the licence.
Figure 10: Benefits per current fisher by licence fee
The maximum revenue from licence sales is generated at a price of about $100 per year. Increasing the licence fee beyond $100 reduces purchases sufficiently to more than offset increased revenue from remaining licence buyers. This suggests that a licence fee of more than $100 should not be set. This conclusion should be treated with caution. First, monitoring and enforcement costs are likely to be related to fisher numbers. Because poaching frequency is largely unaffected by licence fee levels, monitoring and enforcement costs will decrease at higher fee levels . Second, fish availability and congestion costs potentially affect the quality of fishing. In some fisheries, such as the Hauraki Gulf snapper fishery, where there are high levels of recreational use and recreational harvest is a large proportion of total harvest, the nature of the fishing experience may change dramatically with decreased participation.
Assuming constant quality fishing, it is possible to estimate total benefits from fishing at a range of licence fee levels – the sum of revenue generated plus consumers' surplus (the boxed line in Figure 10). In the absence of fishery stock and congestion effects total benefit is maximized when the licence fee is zero.
In some areas recreational fishing represents a minor component of total harvest, in others it is the predominant factor. Where recreational fishing is significant any reduction in effort as a consequence of increased licence fees is likely to result in future increases in fish stocks. If fish stock increases result in improved recreational harvest rates there may be a subsequent increase in recreational fishing effort. Even if effort does not rebound, those who do fish are likely to obtain enhanced benefits from their fishing experiences with increased fish stocks. Consequently, benefit estimates derived here, which do not account for potential improvements in fishing quality, are under-estimates of benefits that would occur under a fishing licence regime. Better approximations could only be obtained subsequent to bioeconomic modeling of fish and fisher responses to changed fishery conditions.
Fishing licences have two effects: they reduce the amount of fishing activity, and they produce revenue. Both of these effects can result in improved recreational experiences, although some fishers will necessarily become worse-off. Reduced pressure on the fishery may increase numbers and quality of fish. Revenue can be used to monitor, protect and enhance fisheries through activities such as research, enforcement, habitat restoration, and pollution management. These actions all shift the demand curve further from the origin. The licence fee reduces consumers surplus, but better quality fishing increases consumers' surplus. Further research is needed to identify how fisheries can benefit most from expenditure of licence fee revenues and whether those benefits are adequate to offset the benefits foregone from paying the licence fee or from losses incurred by people who quit fishing because of the cost of purchasing a licence. It is not surprising that fishers react warily to proposals to manage the fishery differently, particularly if the benefits of fishing are likely to be transferred from fishers via licence fees.
The 2002 biennial survey of citizen perceptions of the environment and its management provides marine fisheries information that is consistent with the pressure-state-response model. Citizens perceive that fishery quality is adequate, but may be getting worse. Fish numbers are moderate to low and harvest is getting more difficult. By far the most important perceived cause of damage to marine fisheries is commercial fishing, although sewage and storm water are also believed to be important causes of damage. Fishers believe that the quality of marine fisheries management is adequate to poor.
Although fishery quality is judged to be declining, people do not rank the need to spend additional money on marine fishery management differently to other potential recipients of environmental and conservation expenditures. This may be because of the low perceived quality of marine fishery management or other reasons. No evidence is presented in support of this conjecture, which will be the subject of future analysis.
Survey findings provide considerable information about fishery participation. Our findings are consistent with the 2000 national marine recreational fishing surveys, with 34% of respondents participating in recreational marine fishing. Over 40% of 30-50 year old males participate.
Survey responses predict high levels of poaching if a marine recreational fishing licence were introduced, with about a third of current fishers stating intentions to fish without a licence. Responses were not verified, so fishers may have taken the opportunity to make a statement about their displeasure at the concept of introduction of a marine recreational fishing licence. For those who do intend to protest by continuing to fish without a licence, the protest could be a short-term symbolic response. The high levels of protest behaviour signaled here suggest that a marine recreational fishing licence is very unpopular and indicates the need for more research into the motivations, nature and longevity of illegal activities subsequent to introduction of a licence.
As predicted by economic theory, licence purchases decline as the licence fee increases. This has implications for licence revenues and fishery quality. Changes in the quality of the marine recreational fishery caused by introduction of a marine recreational fishing licence are not captured by the estimates developed here. We believe this is an important area for future research. It is important to know how fishers' behaviours (including licence purchases) would change as fishery quality changes. It is also important to understand if, and how, fishery quality would change because of introduction of a fishing licence that generates management income. Valuable lessons may be learned from the existing fresh water fishery management model in this respect.
Overall, our findings are that the marine fishery is evaluated somewhat negatively, as is its management. High levels of fishery use indicate the potential significance of these evaluations. Proposals to manage the recreational fishery through licencing are unpopular and have the potential to decrease total benefits from fishery use unless licencing results in improved fishery quality.
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Boyd, R.O. and Reilly, J.L. (2002) 1999/2000 National Marine Recreational Fishing Survey: harvest estimates. Draft New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Report, September 2002. Downloaded from www.Option4.co.nz
Hughey, K.F.D, Kerr, G.N. and Cullen, R. (2002) Perceptions of the State of the Environment: The 2002 survey of public attitudes, preferences and perceptions of the New Zealand Environment. Education Solutions: Lincoln .
Kearney , R.E. (2002) Review of harvest estimates from recent New Zealand national marine recreational fishing surveys . Report to New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries. Downloaded from www.Option4.co.nz
McMurran, J. (2000) Property rights and recreational fishing: Never the twain shall meet? Proceedings of the FishRights99 Conference, Fremantle , Western Australia . FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 404/2.
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South Australian Centre for Economic Studies (SACES) (1999) Value of New Zealand Recreational Fishing . Project Report REC9801 prepared for New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries.
Wheeler, S. and Damania, R. (2001) Valuing New Zealand recreational fishing and an assessment of the validity of the contingent valuation estimates. Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 45(4): 599-621.
Figure 9 appears to show a slight increase in poaching frequency as the licence fee increases to around $50. While the “Poacher” model (Table 2) predicts a small increase in poaching as the licence fee increases, it is not statistically significant.
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