Non-Market Values to Inform Decision-Making and Reporting in Fisheries and Aquaculture – an Audit and Gap Analysis

Non-Market Values to Inform Decision-Making and Reporting in Fisheries and Aquaculture

Project dates: 01/02/2018 - 30/11/2020

Given the imperative for evidence-based decision-making in fisheries and aquaculture will intensify, this study examined the issues around non-market values requirements and identified potential sources of robust and defensible estimates of key values, including those generally viewed as difficult to measure.

Why is this important?

Effective management of marine resources requires the inclusion of both the negative and positive impacts of fishing, inclusive of commercial and recreational activities, and aquaculture activities on the wider ecosystem and community. Not all of these costs or benefits have an explicit market value, so non-market valuation is required to derive an appropriate equivalent monetary value. The inclusion of the non-monetary costs and benefits of managing marine resources to capture this in decision making is not controversial. However, empirical estimation of critical non-market values can be costly (with respect to both time and resources). This presents fisheries and aquaculture managers with pragmatic constraints that often results in non-market values being excluded in decision-making.

What did we do?

The research was undertaken in four stages. The first stage aimed to identify what empirical estimates and approaches are currently available. This was conducted through desk-based research. The second stage focused on what non-market values are required by managers to support decision-making, their level of understanding and current use of non-market values. This involved a survey of key management/policy analysts and decision-makers at the State and Commonwealth levels to determine the needs of decision-makers for non-market values to support evidence-based decision-making and reporting. The third stage involved a workshop of key management/policy analysts, decision-makers and researchers. Building on the results from the survey, the key aims of the workshop was to better inform managers and policy-makers about the valuation techniques required to derive the desired values (i.e. what is required, potential time frames to get results, key assumptions and limitations), and the potential ways in which these values can be used. The fourth and final stage of the project involved a synthesis of the first three project elements which informed an assessment of key research gaps and recommendations related to the need for further empirical nonmarket valuation studies. An audit of available databases was conducted to ascertain what information is currently available and accessible for fisheries and aquaculture managers. Next, a gap analysis was undertaken based on these findings to help identify key areas for future research.

What did we find out?

The project identified thirteen types of non-market values that fisheries and aquaculture managers considered as potentially important to their decision making. Of these, the top four involved values related to users of the fisheries resources, including fisher satisfaction, values to Indigenous Australian fishers, and the value of fish and experience to recreational fishers. The next four involved impacts of fishing on others, including habitats, species, local communities and other users of the marine environment.

The gap analysis identified that recent values for most of the values of potential use to fisheries and aquaculture management were unavailable. This limits the role of benefit transfers and identifies a need for further primary studies of non-market values.

The key implications of the study are:

  1. There is a need to undertake further non-market valuation studies in the key priority areas identified by fisheries and aquaculture managers to address the key barrier of availability of relevant non-market values.
  2. There should be a specific program of education/information dissemination to fisheries and aquaculture managers and policy makers around the types and uses of economics data in general to ensure appropriate use of non-market values in decision making.

The project identified a need for increased education around the types and uses of economics data in general for many fisheries and aquaculture managers. A first step is provided in the guidance notes developed in this project (and also provided as an Appendix to this report). However, further training of fisheries and aquaculture managers in the use of non-market values would be beneficial.

Funding / Grants

  • FRDC Project No 2018-068 (2018 - 2020)

Chief Investigators

Other Team Members

  • Dr Sean Pascoe
  • Dr Gabriela Scheufele
  • Aimee Pickens


Other Partners

  • Fisheries Research & Development Corporation


Other Project Outputs

  • Coglan, L., Pascoe, S., Scheufele, G., Paredes, S., and Pickens, A. (2020). Using non-market values in cost-benefit analysis in Australian fisheries and aquaculture, FRDC. Project 2018-068. FRDC, Canberra, CC by 3.0. [LINK]
  • Coglan, L, Pascoe, S, Scheufele, G, Paredes, S and Pickens, A. (2020) Non-Market Values to Inform Decision-Making and Reporting in Fisheries and Aquaculture – an Audit and Gap Analysis, FRDC Project 2018-068. FRDC, Canberra, CC by 3.0. [LINK]