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Abstract

Location choice is one of the most important short-run decisions made by commercial fishermen. Previous studies of location choice by commercial fishermen have focused primarily on site fidelity, profit-maximization behavior, and risk attitudes as factors influencing their location choice behavior. Although the recreational literature gives extensive consideration to the influence of congestion on site selection, few studies have considered the influence of congestion tolerance on site selection in the commercial fishing sector. This study uses a mixed logit model to analyze the heterogeneous congestion tolerance in location choice among U.S. Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishermen. The dynamics of fishermen responses to economic conditions are compared and contrasted for two periods; the first period coinciding with relative economic stability in the industry and the second period coinciding with deteriorating economic conditions. Results suggest that congestion externalities have significant influence on the location choice of shrimp fishermen, but that congestion tolerance level differs among them. A better understanding of heterogeneous congestion tolerance should aid the implementation of management tools such as area closures.

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