Investigating public preferences for the management of native and invasive species in the context of kelp restoration
Grover, IM and Tocock, MS and Tinch, DR and Hatton MacDonald, D, Investigating public preferences for the management of native and invasive species in the context of kelp restoration, Marine Policy, 132 Article 104680. ISSN 0308-597X (2021) [Refereed Article]
The Southern Rock Lobster (Jasus edwardsii) is key to management of the Long Spined Sea Urchin (Centrotephanus rodgersii). The southern shift of the urchin has created 'urchin barrens' of the kelp forests (Ecklonia radiata and Macrocystis pyrifera) in coastal waters off the East Coast of Tasmania. Consistently high fishing efforts of large Southern Rock Lobster in the region has reduced natural predation of the urchin. A number of restoration options exist but these options have not been tested for acceptability with the public to date. In this study we estimate the willingness to pay by households in Tasmania for Southern Rock Lobster habitat and management. The willingness to pay estimates can be used in benefit-cost analysis of the various combinations of restoration options supporting decision-making in this Australian marine planning context. Results indicate that direct replanting of kelp is worth $37 per household per year for five years and a 1% increase in the area of marine reserves is worth $2 per household per year for five years. Direct intervention to control sea urchin populations by reintroducing Rock Lobsters or capturing and crushing urchins is worth $33 and $31 respectively per household per year for five years. Households did not support artificial kelp beds installations or subsidising urchin farming operations.