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ANALYSIS OF THE ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF MARINE DEBRIS ON COMMERCIAL FISHING

Benedict Posadas, Ph.D.
Mississippi State University, Coastal Research, and Extension Center
1815 Popps Ferry Road, Biloxi, MS 39532
Ben.Posadas@msstate.edu
July 1, 2018

This analysis is conducted in collaboration with an MSU coastal ecology specialist (Dr. Eric Sparks), an NOAA marine debris program coordinator (Caitlin Wessel), Mississippi Coalition for Vietnamese-American Fisher Folks & Families (MCVAFF), Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United (MCFU), and Mississippi commercial shrimpers. Dr. Posadas started developing an economic model which measures the impacts of marine debris on commercial fishing. The data required in estimating the marine debris economic model are collected from a preliminary survey of interested licensed shrimpers in 2018-2019 and intensive logbook trip monitoring of selected licensed shrimpers during the 2019 Mississippi shrimp season. This analysis is part of a three-year project funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gulf of Mexico Program, Engaging the fishing community to remove marine debris and quantify impacts. Dr. Posadas devotes 8.33 percent (3.33 hr/wk on Wednesdays) of this time to perform the tasks outlined in the project proposal starting on July 1, 2018.. 

SIGNIFICANCE TO THE COMMERCIAL FISHING INDUSTRY

The reduction of marine debris in the commercial fishery will enhance economic opportunities in coastal fishing counties. Commercial fishing generated total economic impacts amounting to $107 million and created almost 2,000 jobs in Mississippi (NOAA Fisheries, 2016).

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

The overall goal of this economic analysis is to assess the economic impacts of marine debris on commercial fishing. Specifically, it aims to achieve the following objectives. First, construct technical characteristics of marine debris caught by commercial fishing vessels/boats. Second, compile damages to commercial fishing vessels/boats and gear, and costs of removal and disposal of marine debris. Third, compile lost fishing time, reduction in catches, or foregone sales associated with marine debris. Finally, estimate economic impacts on commercial fishing associated with marine debris.

RESEARCH METHODS

The economic impacts of marine debris on commercial fishing will be estimated using two primary sources of data from captains of fishing vessels/boats registered in Mississippi.

  1. One time pre-commercial shrimping season survey and
  2. Seven daily logbook monitoring and summary reporting of commercial shrimping activities each month from June to October 2019.

The pre-fishing season survey will collect information about the captains and crew, and the fishing vessels/boats, and fishing gear. This information were collected during the first shrimping workshop attended by 30 commercial Mississippi shrimpers on December 5, 2018. During this workshop, the project details were explained to the shrimpers. The shrimpers completed the survey, registered and were provided the materials for the derelict crab collection project. More shrimpers participated in the survey through the industry leaders. After compiling all the information about the shrimpers, 20 shrimpers were selected from the three coastal counties to participate in the daily logbook and reporting summaries.

The daily logbook and summary reporting will gather information about damages to fishing units and gear, costs of removal and disposal of marine debris, lost fishing time, reduction in catches or foregone sales. During the second shrimping workshop on April 29, 2019, the selected shrimpers were trained on how to complete the daily logbooks and reporting summaries. Seven daily summaries are expected from each of the 20 shrimpers each month for five months starting in June 2019. Digital cameras were provided to the shrimpers as well as yellow bags for certain types of marine debris and bottles for water samples. These cameras have GPS capabilities that will show the locations of marine debris encountered by the shrimpers.

Posadas (2008; 2015b) employed both face-to-face and online survey methods in collecting data from commercial fishers after Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The technical characteristics of marine debris will be constructed from digital photographs of fishing catch and marine debris caught during fishing trips.

The proposed economic impact analysis will estimate the decrease in economic activity associated with marine debris caught by commercial fishing in nearshore waters fished by the Mississippi commercial fishing fleet. Posadas and Posadas (2017a; 2017b) employed the same method in assessing the economic impacts of the prolonged opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway to the Mississippi oyster fishery in 2011. The negative economic impacts of marine debris caught during commercial fishing will be estimated by using the most recent Mississippi data and IMPLAN software (IMPLAN, 2017). The IMPLAN economic model generates economic impact estimates regarding output or sales, employment or jobs, labor income, value added and tax revenues. The income, value-added, and output impacts are expressed in dollars for the year specified by the user. Output or sales are the gross sales by businesses within the economic region affected by an activity. Labor income includes personal income including wages and salaries and proprietors’ income or income from self-employment. Employment impacts are expressed in terms of a mix of both full-time and part-time jobs. Value-added is the contribution made to the value of seafood products at each stage of harvesting, processing, and distribution. The total economic impact is the sum of direct, indirect and induced impacts. The direct effects of marine debris on the commercial fishing industry consist of the reduced income due to damages, costs of removal and disposal, reduction in catches and foregone sales. Indirect impacts result from changes in the economic activity of other industrial sectors which supply goods or services to the commercial fishing industry. Induced effects are the product of personal consumption expenditures by industry employees.

EXPECTED OUTPUTS

At the end of this proposed project, the expected outputs will consist of estimates of the negative economic impacts of marine debris caught during commercial fishing. The economic indicators will include reduced levels of total fishing output, employment, incomes, value-added, and tax revenues. Reductions in the levels of economic activities in fishing households, businesses, and communities are crucial information in making fishing investment decisions, formulating government policy, and developing research and extension programs for the industry. The results of this study will serve as a template for the assessment of economic impacts of marine debris on commercial fishing in other states, regions, and countries.

SELECTED REFERENCES

IMPLAN. 2017. Impact Analysis for Planning. Huntsville, North Carolina. http://www.implan.com/. Last accessed: July 17, 2017.

Kirkley, J. 2009 The NMFS Commercial Fishing & Seafood Industry Input/Output Model. Prepared for the National Marine Fisheries Service. Last accessed: July 17, 2017.

Posadas, B.C. and B.K.A. Posadas, Jr. 2017a. Economic Impacts of the Opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway to the Mississippi Oyster Fishery. Journal of Food Distribution Society, 48(1). 42-45.

Posadas, B.C. and B.K.A. Posadas, Jr. 2017b. Economic Impacts of the Opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway to the Mississippi Oyster Fishery. Mississippi State University Extension Service publication 2846 and Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant publication MASGP-11-041. Mississippi State, Mississippi.

Posadas, B.C. 2015a. Suggested Approach to Estimate Economic Impacts of Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Research, Education, and Outreach Programs. Mississippi State University Extension Service Publication P2883.

Posadas, B.C. 2015b. Economic Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill to Mississippi Seafood and Commercial and Recreational Fishing Sectors in the Year 2010. Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Bulletin 1218, Mississippi State, Mississippi.

Posadas, B.C. 2014. Economic Sectors Targeted by Suggested by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Research, Education, and Outreach Programs. Mississippi State University Extension Service Publication P2846. Mississippi State, Mississippi.

Posadas, B.C. 2008. Economic Assessment of the Impacts of Hurricane Katrina on Mississippi Commercial Fishing Fleet. Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Bulletin 1165, Mississippi State, Mississippi.