Salmon ranching in New Zealand : biology, economics and policy
Many groups and individuals are involved in decision making for the allocation of the salmon resource. A comprehensive study of the economics of salmon ranching in New Zealand has not previously been undertaken. Before informed decisions can be made, such a study is essential. In this project, the economic potential of salmon ranching is examined, and the major variables that influence the economic return are identified. Preliminary to the economic analysis, the features of commercial salmon ranching in New Zealand are outlined. Quinnat salmon biology is described, and the environmental parameters that influence the operation of a salmon ranch are discussed. The history of commercial harvesting of salmon in New Zealand is detailed, along with the influence of salmon anglers on ranching policy. Local and export markets for salmon are examined for each product category, and the prospects in the major markets are assessed. A simulation model that incorporates the important linkages between biological and economic variables is developed. The model is used to determine the net benefits to the nation from operating a salmon ranch. Subsequently, the sensitivity of economic return to the biological and economic variables is tested. Finally, the model is used to evaluate the effect of three aspects of salmon management policy on economic return, namely; ranch location, other forms of salmon aquaculture, and disposal of salmon caught at sea. Results show that salmon ranching can yield an "acceptable" economic return to the nation under certain conditions. Economic return is found to be most sensitive to the biological variables of hatchery carrying capacity, hatchery mortality, and survival of released salmon. Market price and feed costs are identified as the most significant of the economic variables. Ranch location is revealed to be a crucial factor in determining the economic return from salmon ranching. Taking these results into account, the characteristics of a salmon ranching investment are examined and found to diverge significantly from alternative investments. From this, it is concluded that unless salmon ranches can be located at or near river mouths, development of a salmon ranching industry that also enhances the sports fishery is unlikely to occur.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordssalmon; salmon ranching; economic variables; Quinnat salmon biology; export markets; local markets; biological variables; salmon management policy; salmon aquaculture
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