Economic Assessment of Tourism Based on Shark-Seeing and Diving as a More Profitable Activity Than Commercial Fishing

  • Yessica Miriam Plata Zepeda
  • Patricia Ramírez Romero
  • Fabíola S. Sosa-Rodríguez
Chapter
Part of the World Sustainability Series book series (WSUSE)

Abstract

Even though sharks are top predators, there is little information available aimed to understand their habitats, movements and dynamics (Hoyos-Padilla et al. 2014). Today, there are 1236 species of chondrichthus in the world including sharks, rays and chimeras. However, the population and variety of sharks are declining due, mainly, to overfishing (Klimley 2015). In Mexico, there are 111 species of sharks, which represent 8.98% of the world’s diversity (Del Moral et al. 2016; CONABIO 2016). Sharks bioaccumulate mercury (Hg), which is a toxic compound for humans and other species because of their place in the trophic chain. Human health can be affected by the consumption of sharks’ meat contaminated with this metal (Escobar Sánchez 2011). The effect of mercury in human bodies ranges from tremors to neurotoxic and teratogenic effects (Raimann et al. 2014). The observation of sharks in the wild has increased—it generates economic benefits that go beyond the price paid for its enjoyment, since it promotes the conservation of the species. For instance, in 2013, these economic benefits were estimated at 314 USD millions by year (Cisneros et al. 2013). In Baja California Sur, Mexico, fishing represents 1.28% of the state’s GDP and shark fishing only 0.03%. However, the tourism sector generates 16.61% of the GDP, mainly explained by the gray whale sighting. This activity generates 4.12 USD millions by year, which represents 0.06% of the state’s GDP (GBCS 2015a, b). If more whales or sharks sighting sites were developed, the revenue of this activity to local communities would increase. The purpose of this research was to determine whether ecotourism with sharks is an activity that represents greater economic benefits to the local population than shark fishing for human consumption since the ingestion of shark meat potentially contaminated with mercury may endanger people’s health. Some main findings include that tourists are willing to pay for sighting and swimming with sharks more than 212 USD compared to 53 USD paid for whale watching. Therefore, ecotourism with sharks is a more profitable activity to the local population compared to shark fishing, in addition to promoting the conservation of several species.

Keywords

Economic assessment Shark-seeing Commercial fishing Contingent valuation method Market price Baja California Sur 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yessica Miriam Plata Zepeda
    • 1
  • Patricia Ramírez Romero
    • 2
  • Fabíola S. Sosa-Rodríguez
    • 3
  1. 1.Master Program in Energy and EnvironmentMetropolitan Autonomous University-IztapalapaIztapalapaMexico
  2. 2.Department of HidrobiologyMetropolitan Autonomous University-IztapalapaIztapalapaMexico
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsMetropolitan Autonomous University-AzcapotzalcoAzcapotzalcoMexico

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