The fishery value of coral reefs in Bonaire

Fishing provides an important source of income and livelihood on the Caribbean Island of Bonaire, also many people fish for recreational purposes. A large part of the catch is composed of reef-dependent species, which rely on the health and productivity of local coral reefs. To assist decision-makers in understanding and managing these fragile ecosystems contributing to Bonairean well being the economic value of reef-dependent fisheries is determined. Furthermore, the spatial distribution of the economic value of the reef fisheries is revealed to help decision makers understand which areas of reef are most economically important from a fisheries perspectives.

By estimating the economic value of the reef fisheries, which consists of both recreational and commercial fishing, the total socio-economic value of reef fishing on Bonaire is estimated. Commercial fishing is valued using the ‘net factor income approach’. The recreational value of the reef fisheries is calculated using both the ‘choice modelling’ and the ‘market valuation’ method. The commercial and recreational values are combined to arrive at a total, annual reef-fisheries value for the Island of Bonaire. This aggregate value is then combined with spatial fisheries production data using ArcGIS to create a fisheries value map of Bonaire.

The reef-related total commercial fisheries are valued at almost $400,000 annually. The recreational fishery value is estimated at an economic value of almost $700,000 per annum. These calculations have been used to create an allocation function, which estimates the spatial distribution of the fisheries value along the coral reefs of Bonaire. This in turn can be used to support long-term decision-making for example regarding specific locations for coastal zone development and its impact on commercial and recreational fisheries. 

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