Marine Protected Area Economics Research
We manage 177 Marine Protected Areas that account for 87 percent of all marine protected area in U.S. waters. We contribute to spatial management decisions by:
- Assessing societal preferences on the sites and allowable uses for marine managed areas.
- Conducting integrated and predictive modeling of fishermen’s choice of fishing grounds.
These studies provide managers with:
- Information on the benefits from current use patterns.
- A clear understanding of how users will respond to changes in use patterns.
- The benefits and trade-offs from changing allowable uses within an area.
Spatial Choice Behavior
NOAA Fisheries contributes to marine spatial decisions by predicting the values and trade-offs associated with restricting uses in designated areas. We are developing a spatial economics toolbox, FishSET, that gives analysts the data and modeling tools they need to study the cost to fishermen from such restrictions. FishSET is being piloted in Alaska, where results from a Bering Sea fishery analysis found that:
- Different vessels have very different costs from spatial closures, depending on their size and flexibility to adjust where they fish.
- Fishermen are risk averse, preferring “safer returns” to more risky returns, all else equal.
- It is harder to predict where fishermen will go if their primary fishing grounds are closed than to make that prediction if less-visited areas are closed.