Fishing is an important source of income and livelihood on the Caribbean Island of Bonaire, and many people fish for recreational purposes. A large part of the catch is composed of reef-dependent species, which rely on the health and productivity of local coral reefs. To assist decision-makers in understanding and managing these fragile ecosystems the economic value of reef-dependent fisheries is determined. Furthermore, the spatial distribution of the economic value of the reef fisheries is determined to help decision makers understand which areas of reef are most economically important.
By estimating the economic value of the reef- fisheries, making a distinction between recreational and commercial fishing, the total socio-economic value of reef fishing on Bonaire is approximated. The commercial fishing value is estimated using the ‘net income benefit method’. The recreational value of the reef fisheries is calculated using both the ‘Willingness to Pay‘ method and the ‘market valuation’ method. These values are combined to arrive at a total, annual reef-fisheries value for the Island of Bonaire. This aggregate value is then combined with previously collected spatial, fisheries production data using ArcGIS to create a fisheries value map of Bonaire.
Results & Recommendations:
The reef-related total commercial fisheries are valued at $390,000 annually. The recreational fishery value is estimated at a market value of almost $700,000 per annum. These calculations have been used to create an allocation function, which estimates the spatial distribution of the fisheries value along the coral reefs of Bonaire. This in turn can be used to support long-term decision-making.