South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences, Vol 13, No 2 (2010)

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Estimating the value of a positive change in trout fly-fishing quality in the Rhodes trout fishery, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Mario Du Preez, DE Lee

Abstract


The Rhodes trout fishery, located in the North Eastern Cape, is one of South Africa’s premier fly-fishing destinations. The integrity of the fishery is, however, under threat due to various land-use practices, which could weaken its appeal as a tourist attraction. The aim of this study is to estimate the amount recreational users are willing to pay for a project to improve the trout habitat of waters managed by the Wild Trout Association (WTA) in this fishery in order to improve its fish population density by 100 per cent. Data were collected from a biased sample of 96 respondents via a questionnaire during September 2006 to September 2007. The median estimated willingness-to-pay (WTP) for the project was R245 per annum per person, and the total WTP was estimated at R171 500 per annum. A valuation function to predict WTP responses was also estimated, and showed that gross annual pre-tax income and the number of visits per annum were positive determinants of WTP. The results of this study show that policy-makers should take heed of the importance trout fly fishers attach to this fishery when declaring trout zones in the upper catchments of South Africa. The aggregate WTP estimation, however, constitutes only a partial analysis of value. A number of other factors and environmental value streams need to be analysed and compared with the value estimates generated by this study if adequate holistic decision-making is to take place with regard to trout stream improvement. More specifically, the aggregate WTP estimated in this study must be viewed as only one input into a comprehensive social cost-benefit analysis to determine the desirability of trout stream improvement for wider society.


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EISSN 2222-3436 (Online)