Ecological and Economic Tradeoffs Between Herring Fisheries and Whale Watching in New England

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The whale-watching industry is an important component of the New England regional economy with about one million tourism visitors. Humpback whales are the most popular whale-watching targets, whose primary activity in this area is feeding that mainly on herrings. Meanwhile, the value of herring fisheries is more than $20M annually and it is the major supply for canneries and lobster bait. According to the historical document, over-harvesting of herrings may cause the dramatic depletion of humpback whale stock. This research investigates the economic benefits and losses of the ban on the harvesting for herring in the New England area. I compare the revenue of herring fisheries and whale-watching under different herring harvest levels through integrated economic-ecological analysis. The marine ecosystem side will be modeled through EMAX food web. The socio-economical analysis focuses on the herring fisheries and whale watching market price and quantity. By comparing the two-sided benefits, this research evaluates if herring should be left in the marine ecosystem or harvested. The result indicated that the decrease of herring harvest would not cause dramatic increase of the whale stock,, at least in the short term. Accordingly, the decline of herring landing would not significantly or equally increases the revenue from the whale watching tourism. The result suggests that the current herring fisheries landing might not have a significant impact on the whale population.





Yan, Lingxiao (2014). Ecological and Economic Tradeoffs Between Herring Fisheries and Whale Watching in New England. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

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