Work detail

Are Sharks Worth More Alive Than Dead? A Stated Preference Study on Shark Ecotourism in Costa Rica.

Author: Mgr. Alicia Maria Berrios
Year: 2017 - winter
Leaders: Mgr. Milan Ščasný PhD.
Work type: Masters
Language: English
Pages: 115
Awards and prizes:
Abstract: In this study, we aim at estimating the benefits for conserving shark populations in
Costa Rica. In the first approach, we use a discrete choice experiment to elicit tourists’
preferences for five tourism-related attributes when one of them is shark ecotourism.
In the second apparoch, we estimate the willingness-to-pay for conserving three
threatened-hammerhead shark species from a double-bounded dichotomous choice
question. Preferences are elicited through the original survey that was carried out on a
sample representative of the general tourist population (n=801). When tourism
infrastructure and environmental-related attributes were valued within the discrete
choice experiments, we found that tourists are willing to pay most for beach and city
tourism infrastructure, $0.86 and $1.04, respectively, for each percentage point of
improvement, while the same improvement in shark populations is worth about $0.35
and the willingness to pay for conserving sea turtles and coral reefs is not different
from zero. There is, however, a large heterogeneity in tourists’ preferences even for
conserving sea turtles or sharks. Our results imply that tourists are willing to pay about
$35 to avoid the full extinction of shark populations. From three separate contingent
valuation questions, we found that tourists were willing to pay $56 to conserve smooth
hammerheads (Sphyrna zygaena), $53 for scalloped hammerheads (Sphyrna lewini), and
$46 for great hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna mokarran). Considering the annual tourist
population, we found that the benefits of shark conservation, i.e. keeping a sharks alive,
greatly exceed the revenues from selling shark products on the seafood market. Our
study provides the first estimate of shark conservation benefits in Costa Rica, which is
the key input for the ongoing conservation effort to recover and stabilize shark


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