The Feasibility of a Lionfish Meat Market in the U.S. Virgin Islands: Consumer Willingness to Pay

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Invasive lionfish are destroying Florida’s reefs and despite stakeholders’ best efforts, they have made little progress slowing down the destruction. For nearly a decade researchers and policy makers have encouraged the consumption of lionfish meat as an economically sustainable means of curtailing the fish’s proliferation, yet there is little research assessing the economic feasibility of a new market for lionfish meat. Using survey data collected in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI), researchers estimate consumers’ mean willingness to pay (WTP) using the Turnbull method, additionally they observe how individual preferences and characteristics effect consumer WTP usig a double bounded contingent valuation logit regression. Findings suggest that both locals and tourists are willing to purchase lionfish at prices within the range of other white fish entrées at restaurants in the USVI. These findings provide valuable insight on the demand side of a potential market in the USVI, and are a critical step in assessing the viability of establishing a commercial fishery targeting lionfish in the territory and surrounding region.


Southern Agricultural Economics Association (SAEA) Annual Meeting


Jacksonville, FL