Working Paper Number


Publication Date



Working Paper 2004-10


Estimated total value for recreational shellfishing on Cape Cod was $7.4 million in 2002, based on results of a survey of 233 shellfish permit holders, a figure that has roughly kept pace with inflation based on a similar study conducted in 1975. The total value is made up of two components, the actual permit fees collected ($387,000) and an estimate of consumer surplus, which was based on willingness to accept compensation to give up a fishing permit and hence is unbounded by the survey respondents’ income. An estimate based on willingness-to-pay (WTP) gave a total value estimate of $1.0 million in 2002. Additionally, participation in recreational shellfishing has fallen precipitously from 19,068 resident permits sold in 1975 to the 10,639 permits sold in 2002. The decline in the total number of resident shellfishers is counteracted, in part, by rises in the number of senior and nonresident permit holders in 2002 to 2,766 and 2,704 respectively. An individual’s valuation of recreational shellfishing appears to be significantly influenced by a number of factors including: the distance traveled to the shellfishing flats, the number of shellfishing trips in the prior year, the number of years a permit has been held, the permit fee paid and the individual’s income level.