Recreational fishing is one of the most popular forms of outdoor recreation in Australia, involving approximately a third of the population. As such, the recreational sector is a significant user of fish stocks and coastal areas. Allocating resources fairly and efficiently between recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, and other users has become a major issue in fisheries management. Because there is no market to signal the values of recreational fishing, there is a tendency for fish and access to beaches for recreation to be under-supplied. Managers are aware that recreational fishing provides substantial social and economic benefits, but do not have a good grasp of their magnitude or sensitivity to changing conditions. This paper presents the results of an empirical study which estimates the value of fishing trips made by a sample of shore anglers, together with their marginal values for several types of fish. Welfare estimates were obtained using a random utility model which infers values from anglers' observed choices of site and target species. The average consumer surplus from a day trip was estimated to range between $33 to $39, while improving catch rate by 50% increased the value of a trip by up to $4 depending upon the type of fish affected by the change. Based on the average number of fish caught per trip, this equates to a marginal value of $1.40 per fish. This study demonstrates that the random utility model is a promising new technique for deriving non-market values and assessing policies that allocate natural resources between user groups.


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