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Peter Patricelli

Coming to a mailbox near you....

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As a MA saltwater fishing permit holder last year, I just got this email"

 

"The Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries) is collaborating with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to collect information on the Commonwealth’s recreational saltwater fishery to measure its economic value. In addition to providing important information about the socio-economic value of saltwater fishing in Massachusetts, this federally funded study will help to validate frequently used economic evaluation methods by applying an innovative direct approach in which some saltwater permit holders are presented with a cash offer in exchange for giving up their permit and thus the right to fish in marine waters for the remainder of 2012. Other permit holders will receive a survey asking for either their willingness to sell their 2012 permit for a particular price or their willingness to have paid a different amount for their 2012 permit.

 

MarineFisheries is issuing this Advisory to attest to the legitimacy of this angler permit survey, including the cash offers that some individuals will receive, and to assure its permit holders that in no way will the information from the survey be used to modify fees for Massachusetts’ recreational saltwater fishing permits.

 

Participation in the survey is voluntary; however, MarineFisheries highly encourages your response based on the important information that will be gathered. Past studies on the contribution of recreational fishing to the Commonwealth’s economy have considered the number of jobs and the amount of sales and incomes that are supported by the expenditures of saltwater recreational fishermen, but have not included the value that anglers place on being able to go saltwater fishing. This type of information holds great worth; for example, it would be necessary for a comprehensive estimate of economic losses to the recreational fishery if for some reason Massachusetts’ waters had to be closed to fishing.

 

 

 

MarineFisheries is maintaining a list of Commonly Asked Questions about the 2012 Massachusetts Saltwater Angler Permit Survey under the recreational permit page of its website: www.mass.gov/marinefisheries. General questions about MarineFisheries involvement can be directed to Nichola Meserve (nichola.meserve@state.ma.us). Technical questions regarding the study should be directed to Quantech, Inc., the statistical analysis and survey research firm contracted by NMFS to conduct the survey. Please contact Daemian Schreiber at 800-229-5220 ext 7831,"

 

This explanation was released as a result of an explosion of concern by people who got the actual questionnaire or the actual (?) offer to buy out their license for the year. Given the explanation, it seems clear that they want to know what amount of money people value their license as. It is NOT clear that the offer is real and actionable. And one could argue that the dollar amount stated is accurate only to the degree that the transaction IS REAL, not a "what if".

 

WOW. Just when I thought I had seen it all.

 

PMP

 

 

 

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Putting a dollar value to the recreational fishery is extremely important, especially from the position of allocation and management. Exactly HOW to do that is a variable. One way is to take a sampling of anglers and attempt tracking every dollar they spend. But the $ someone spends may be limited more by available spare time and the "value" to them is actually much greater.

 

Another method, we are led to believe, might be seeing what amount of $ a person would take to give up fishing for a year. I am going to put aside all the paranoid constructions running through some people's minds and take this at face value. Clearly, to me, there has to be some element of risk of this being a real trade/pay-off in order to get a "real" number from people. Therefore, if I am reading the study protocol correctly, a lot of people WILL be asked, and for a random small number the offer IS real and they CAN/WILL give up their fishing for a year in exchange for $. Then, at the end of a number of fudge factors, some total nmber of "$ value" will emerge. Or...as some people fear....we all will be vaporized.

 

All of whch leads me to some musing. To me, in an admittedly rare situation, I fish MA only 10 days a year, spend a total of around $3000, and kill MAYBE one fish.

 

The better the fishing, the MORE fish swimming out there....the bigger the number I would demand to give it up for a year. As the fishing goes downhill, eventually controlled by numbers of fish available, the lower the value to me. I'm spending $3000 and when the fishing isn't worth THAT then the next year I am going to LA to fish for redfish...or something else. And I don't think I am alone in that. And, the better the fishing (#'s swimming out there) the larger the number of fishermen wanting to chase them. So...more fish = more value x more fishermen.

 

In a process based on direct consumption, how many fish can be harvested, the total value of the fishery rises in a less than direct, linear, 1 for 1 ratio to the number of fish out there. A LOT of fish out there, then harvested, and the market value per pound drops. Harvest a LOT and the next year's total value drops significantly (although price per pound rises). The overall value is fixed and somewhat self-defeating.

 

As a recreational resource, the larger the biomass then the "value" rises more on an exponential basis until the public desire, time, and $ available to fish is totally saturated.

 

I have not thought of the issues in quite this way before. I will be interested in where this goes because, to me, it leads to a glaring, inescapable conclusion.

 

Or we will all be vaporized.

 

PMP

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Further explantion...from another board....to an email back asking about the "bizarre " nature of the survey:

 

"Thank you for your comment. It is exactly the argument you make against so called “revealed preference” methods (where expenditure data is used to generate value estimates) that the researchers are using “willingness to pay/accept” methods in this study to evaluate the harder to assess, intrinsic value of just being able to go fishing. The survey design includes the innovative simulated market approach (offering cash for permits) to try to validate those methods.

 

Please let me know if you have any questions about the survey.

 

Regards,

 

Nichola

 

 

 

Nichola Meserve

 

Fisheries Policy Analyst

 

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

 

251 Causeway Street, Suite 400

 

Boston, MA 02114

 

617.626.1531"

 

So.....this is, officially, the "willingness to pay/accept" method, with a twist of "simulated market approach" for validation.

 

Well.....why didn't they just say so in the first place instead of hiding something so simple and obvious in a bunch of hyperbole?

 

PMP

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In what educational milieu does a fisheries policy analyst contract these aberrant linguistic skills? The first time I read it, I really thought it was a joke, just from the absurdity of the language usage.

JC

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Just in....from another thread.

 

One person has already received a $500 check and has the option to cash it...forfeiting his license to fish SW in MA in 2012....or to return the check, by April 15th. Note: according to the study protocol this will/has happened to a small number...is not intended as a massive buy-out of rec. licenses.

 

What is amazing to me is that in this current climate of contentious, paranoid political polarization they did not perceive the type of reaction something like this, coming out "cold" (unannounced and discussed beforehand) would engender. On the other board, about half are assuming this is an under-the-table movement to close the season and eliminate rec fishing altogether.

 

To be clear, I applaud any attempt to accurately asses the $ value of the rec. fishery. Whether and how good and what THIS process measures and what it means and how it is to be used can only be argued when we see the results.

 

PMP

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I wait all year to enjoy my Cape striper fishing. At my age I don't need a license - but it would take a lot more than $500 for me to give up a season. I don't have much time left - after all.

Herb

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“Whether and how good and what THIS process measures and what it means and how it is to be used can only be argued when we see the results.”

 

Two points:

One: I would prefer that the survey data and methodology be defined to avoid having the a priori drive the methodology. In other words data derived solution is the preferred one; verification and validation is accomplished by the examination of the process (methodology) not the single “result”.It is simple high school exercise in dynamic programming or control/estimation theory to see how one set of data convolved with two different models yields the same result; thus, a single result cannot not validate the methodology.

Two: The analysis process estimates and only in the trivial* case “measures“. (*Trivial in the technical sense, this is not a value judgment).

 

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Wow, this really is bizarre :b: This should be in the Main Forum, I'm guessing very few people are aware of this?

 

TimS

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Here's $500 to Not fish?:confused: who comes up with this stuff? I say fire anyone involved with this decision and you probably save the state a couple million.

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