On-line version ISSN 1015-8812
S. Afr. j. econ. manag. sci. vol.13 n.2 Pretoria Jan. 2010
M Du Preez; DE Lee
Department of Economics, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
The Rhodes trout fishery, located in the North Eastern Cape, is one of South Africa's premier fly-fishing destinations. The integrity of the fishery is, however, under threat due to various land-use practices, which could weaken its appeal as a tourist attraction. The aim of this study is to estimate the amount recreational users are willing to pay for a project to improve the trout habitat of waters managed by the Wild Trout Association (WTA) in this fishery in order to improve its fish population density by 100 per cent. Data were collected from a biased sample of 96 respondents via a questionnaire during September 2006 to September 2007. The median estimated willingness-to-pay (WTP) for the project was R245 per annum per person, and the total WTP was estimated at R171 500 per annum. A valuation function to predict WTP responses was also estimated, and showed that gross annual pre-tax income and the number of visits per annum were positive determinants of WTP. The results of this study show that policy-makers should take heed of the importance trout fly fishers attach to this fishery when declaring trout zones in the upper catchments of South Africa. The aggregate WTP estimation, however, constitutes only a partial analysis of value. A number of other factors and environmental value streams need to be analysed and compared with the value estimates generated by this study if adequate holistic decision-making is to take place with regard to trout stream improvement. More specifically, the aggregate WTP estimated in this study must be viewed as only one input into a comprehensive social cost-benefit analysis to determine the desirability of trout stream improvement for wider society.
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Accepted January 2010
1 Fishing success and the quality associated with a recreational fishing trip are viewed as synonymous in this paper.
2 A similar argument can be found in McConnell and Strand (1994).
3 At the time of writing these zones had not been declared.
4 The most popular way to measure the quality fishermen attach to a fishing trip is in terms of abundance (see Vaughan and Russell, 1982). Abundance is measured in terms of number of fish or biomass per unit area.
5 This is a very conservative estimate (see studies by Hunt, 1988; Hunt, 1992; Quinn, 1994).
6 This figure was not scientifically determined, but is based on an estimate made by a professional fly-fishing guide who has guided clients in this area for the last 20 years. In excess of 120 guiding days per annum are spent by the guide on the rivers and streams that comprise the fishery.
7 An anonymous referee argued that trout fly-fishers would also likely have option, existence and bequest values, not only non-visitors to the Rhodes trout fishery.
8 n = N/1+N. (e)2 where n = the sample size, N = the population size, and e = the level of precision.
9 Starting point bias refers to the tendency of respondents to make WTP estimates based on some initial value embedded in the survey instrument (Hanley and Spash, 1993).
10 Observed" in this case refers to the values captured on the survey instrument.