Event Title

The Role of "Trashfish" in New England's Seafood System

Presenter Information

Taylor Witkin, Colby CollegeFollow

Location

Diamond 122

Start Date

1-5-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

1-5-2014 4:00 PM

Project Type

Presentation

Description

The global fisheries crisis has led to an increasing recognition for the need to relieve pressure from the most overfished stocks. In some cases, opportunities exist to shift consumer demand toward more sustainable choices and fish that may be locally abundant. Attempts have been made to market underused fish that represent more sustainable alternatives. However, it is unclear if consumers will chose to purchase these more sustainable options, particularly if the types of fish are unfamiliar. Using a conjoint choice experiment and survey, I test consumer preference and willingness to pay for four species, Atlantic pollock, silver hake, spiny dogfish, and Atlantic mackerel that have been the subject of trash fish campaigns in New England, as compared to the more common but overfished Atlantic cod and haddock. I investigate mediating factors such as eco-label and origin on consumer-purchasing decisions. Consumers were not generally willing to choose underutilized stocks and value origin over sustainability label. Of the underutilized species, respondents were most enthusiastic about pollock, willing pay .22/lb, though preferred haddock (.96/lb) and cod (.00/lb). Willingness to pay was low for Seafood Watch Best Choice eco-labels (.09/lb), though respondents showed an aversion to negative eco-labels. Respondents also preferred fish caught in the Gulf of Maine (.14/lb) over fish labeled as caught in the US (.12/lb) or Iceland. Challenges for integrating new types of fish remain, as consumers still prefer overfished species and are unwilling to switch to species that they are unfamiliar with. However, recognition and promotion of these unappreciated species is increasing, potentially leading to shifts in in consumer preferences away from unsustainable, depleted stocks.

Faculty Sponsor

Russ Cole

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Environmental Studies Program

CLAS Field of Study

Interdisciplinary Studies

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

104

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May 1st, 1:00 PM May 1st, 4:00 PM

The Role of "Trashfish" in New England's Seafood System

Diamond 122

The global fisheries crisis has led to an increasing recognition for the need to relieve pressure from the most overfished stocks. In some cases, opportunities exist to shift consumer demand toward more sustainable choices and fish that may be locally abundant. Attempts have been made to market underused fish that represent more sustainable alternatives. However, it is unclear if consumers will chose to purchase these more sustainable options, particularly if the types of fish are unfamiliar. Using a conjoint choice experiment and survey, I test consumer preference and willingness to pay for four species, Atlantic pollock, silver hake, spiny dogfish, and Atlantic mackerel that have been the subject of trash fish campaigns in New England, as compared to the more common but overfished Atlantic cod and haddock. I investigate mediating factors such as eco-label and origin on consumer-purchasing decisions. Consumers were not generally willing to choose underutilized stocks and value origin over sustainability label. Of the underutilized species, respondents were most enthusiastic about pollock, willing pay .22/lb, though preferred haddock (.96/lb) and cod (.00/lb). Willingness to pay was low for Seafood Watch Best Choice eco-labels (.09/lb), though respondents showed an aversion to negative eco-labels. Respondents also preferred fish caught in the Gulf of Maine (.14/lb) over fish labeled as caught in the US (.12/lb) or Iceland. Challenges for integrating new types of fish remain, as consumers still prefer overfished species and are unwilling to switch to species that they are unfamiliar with. However, recognition and promotion of these unappreciated species is increasing, potentially leading to shifts in in consumer preferences away from unsustainable, depleted stocks.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2014/program/397