Jellyfish outbreak impacts on recreation in the Mediterranean Sea: Welfare estimates from a socioeconomic pilot survey in Israel

Andrea Ghermandi, Bella Galil, John Gowdy, Paulo A.L.D. Nunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Jellyfish outbreaks in the Mediterranean Sea are part of an anthropogenic alteration of the marine ecosystem and have been documented as health hazards and threats to tourism. Their impacts on human welfare have, however, been poorly quantified. A socioeconomic survey, carried out in summer 2013, captures the impacts of an outbreak of Rhopilema nomadica on seaside recreation in Israel. Welfare losses are estimated based on per-visit value and expected change in visits patterns. We estimate that an outbreak reduces the number of seaside visits by 3-10.5%, with an annual monetary loss of €1.8-6.2 million. An additional 41% of the respondents state that their recreational activities on the beach are affected by the outbreak. Through a contingent valuation, we find that 56% of the respondents state a willingness to contribute to a national environmental protection program with an estimated annual benefit of €14.8 million. These figures signal an opportunity to invest in public information systems. A pilot study for adaptation was conducted in Barcelona, whose results confirm the importance of the welfare benefits of real-time public information systems. This study provides a benchmark against which the economic impacts of jellyfish outbreaks on coastal recreation and potential adaptation policies can be evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-147
Number of pages8
JournalEcosystem Services
Volume11
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank Ms. Keren Boaron, Ms. Meital Katzan, Ms. Yael Nachmias – three students at the University of Haifa – for their valuable contributions to the 2013 Tel Aviv survey. The authors also thank two anonymous referees for their valuable comments and suggestion on a previous version of this manuscript. Andrea Ghermandi acknowledges the financial support of the European Commission׳s Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement 265103 (Project MedSeA).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Coastal recreation
  • Contingent behavior
  • Mediterranean ecosystems
  • Rhopilema nomadic
  • Welfare economics
  • Willingness to pay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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