Volume 57

Using a Stated Preference Choice Model to Understand Scuba Diver Preferences for Coral Reef Conservation

Sorice, M.G.; Oh, C.; Ditton, R.B.
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Date: November, 2004

Pages: 893-904

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

City: St. Petersburg, Florida

Country: USA


Management of coral reefs is moving toward a new paradigm where the greatest challenges involve the management of people and resources. An understanding of the relationship between people and protected areas is essential for both protecting resources and providing recreational use opportunities. To protect coral reefs from negative impacts associated with scuba diving, managers need to understand the extent to which divers support management strategies. Traditional opinion measurement research designs do not provide insight on the relative importance of each alternative or the tradeoffs divers are willing to make. Stated preference choice models use hypothetical choice sets to derive individuals’ preferences in a holistic manner. Our study objectives were to:\i) Identify realistic management measures for protecting coral resources,\ii) Estimate the relative importance of each management measure to divers, and\iii) Estimate the aggregate importance of various management measures using scenarios.\We used a fractional factorial design of six attributes (access, use levels, supervision levels, required education, access fee, and amount of flora/fauna observed) and generated 72 choice sets. Using nine versions of a mail questionnaire with eight choice sets in each, we mailed questionnaires to 639 scuba divers who were selected via purposive sampling in 2004. Based on the estimation of conditional logit model, divers did not prefer lower use levels, increased access with no additional access fee; they preferred some supervision in the water but not guided tours; and 30 minutes of coral reef education over no education. By identifying the tradeoffs divers are willing to make, the scenario analysis can help managers maximize constituent satisfaction and support while achieving biological management objectives.

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