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Hilsa’s non-consumptive value in Bangladesh: Estimating the non-consumptive value of the hilsa fishery in Bangladesh using the contingent valuation method

Hilsa is Bangladesh’s most important single-species fishery: for cultural identity, earnings and employment. However, overfishing, habitat destruction, siltation, pollution and climate change have driven catches down, and management policies have not adequately intervened — probably because the fishery’s total economic value is under-appreciated. This study is the first to estimate the non-consumptive (non-use) value of a well-managed hilsa fishery. It used the contingent valuation method and asked 1006 fishing and non-fishing households how much they would be ‘Willing To Pay’ (WTP) for an effectively-managed fishery. In Barisal Division, an improved fishery could be worth BDT 651.8M – 1,384.2M a year (approximately US$8.3M – 17.7M). Nationally, a better-managed fishery could be worth BDT 13,128.6M – 27,882.1M per year (US$167.5M – US$355.7M). Poorer people are willing to pay the highest proportion of their income, suggesting fishery restoration would be pro-poor. However, any interventions must share benefits equitably and address the systemic constraints facing low income groups.

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Mohammed, E.Y., Ali, L., Ali, S., Hussein, B., Wahab, M.A., Sage, N. 2016. Hilsa’s non-consumptive value in Bangladesh: Estimating the non-consumptive value of the hilsa fishery in Bangladesh using the contingent valuation method, IIED, London

Project information

Anecdotal evidence suggests that hilsa fishery is a highly valuable asset to the economy of Bangladesh, and the use of economic incentives to manage the fishery has had positive social and ecological outcomes. This project aims to provide evidence by estimating the economic value of hilsa fishery and rigorously assessing the impact of the economic incentive mechanism.

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