Volume 55

The Effects of Seafood Import Tariffs on Market Demand for Nassau Grouper in the Turks and Caicos Islands

Rudd, M.A.
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Date: 2004

Pages: 179-190

Event: Proceedings of the Fifty Fifth Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Xel Ha

Country: Mexico


This study examines the market demand for reef fishes from the artisanal inshore fishery in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). The rapid growth of tourism in the TCI has dramatically increased the demand for seafood but, as yet, the reef fish fishery is relatively undeveloped. Large camivorous reef fish such as Nassau grouper, Epinephelus striatus, are particularly vulnerable to overfishing because of their biology and their popularity in restaurants. The local fishing sector is protected by tariffs up to 40% on imported seafood products: theoretically, this should increase demand for local fishes as it makes imported products comparatively more expensive. This study uses a paired comparison conjoint survey of TCI restaurants to assess the effects of changes in the import tariff rate on market demand for fresh domestic and frozen imported grouper, and potential substitute products. I find that the import tariff significantIy increases demand for local Nassau grouper ando hence, could place increasing fishing pressure on these vulnerable reef fish. The policy implications and alternatives for Nassau grouper conservation are briefly examined.

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