Hilsa’s non-consumptive value in Bangladesh: Estimating the non-consumptive value of the hilsa fishery in Bangladesh using the contingent valuation method
Hilsa is Bangladesh’s most important single-species fishery: for cultural identity, earnings and employment. However, overfishing, habitat destruction, siltation, pollution and climate change have driven catches down, and management policies have not adequately intervened — probably because the fishery’s total economic value is under-appreciated. This study is the first to estimate the non-consumptive (non-use) value of a well-managed hilsa fishery. It used the contingent valuation method and asked 1006 fishing and non-fishing households how much they would be ‘Willing To Pay’ (WTP) for an effectively-managed fishery. In Barisal Division, an improved fishery could be worth BDT 651.8M – 1,384.2M a year (approximately US$8.3M – 17.7M). Nationally, a better-managed fishery could be worth BDT 13,128.6M – 27,882.1M per year (US$167.5M – US$355.7M). Poorer people are willing to pay the highest proportion of their income, suggesting fishery restoration would be pro-poor. However, any interventions must share benefits equitably and address the systemic constraints facing low income groups.