Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Marine Resource Economics
We simulate expected costs, market returns, and nonmarket ecosystem benefits associated with four oyster resources: harvested bottom reefs, off-bottom aquaculture, nonharvested (restored) reefs, and living shorelines. Benefit categories include market returns from harvest, improved water quality (reduced nitrogen), habitat for other species (blue crab and red drum), and shoreline protection. Bottom reefs and off-bottom aquaculture yield both market returns and nonmarket ecosystem benefits, whereas nonharvested reefs and living
shorelines yield only nonmarket ecosystem benefits. Overall gross benefits are expected to be greater and much more variable for off-bottom aquaculture and living shorelines relative to harvested and nonharvested reefs. We find that harvested bottom reefs, off-bottom aquaculture, and living shorelines are expected to yield positive net benefits more often than not, but that nonharvested restored reefs are expected to yield positive net benefits only 36% of the time. We discuss the uncertainty and limitations surrounding these estimates.
Blue crab, ecosystem services, erosion, harvest, nitrogen, red drum, shoreline protection, shellfish
Petrolia, Daniel R.; Walton, William C.; and Cebrian, Just, Oyster Economics: Simulated Costs, Market Returns, and Nonmarket Ecosystem Benefits of Harvested and Nonharvested Reefs, Off-Bottom Aquaculture,and Living Shorelines (2022). Marine Resource Economics, 37(3).