Polak, O., and Shashar, N. 2013. Economic value of biological attributes of artificial coral reefs - ICES Journal of Marine Science, 70: 904-912.Visitor appreciation of natural scenes such as coral reefs is well documented. However, what part the value of the biological component in these scenes plays in fostering people's enjoyment is unclear. Using the contingent valuation method (CVM), we examined divers' willingness to pay for changes in the fish and coral attributes over an artificial reef. Using image manipulations, different levels of community descriptors, such as richness, abundance, and biodiversity of corals and fish, were isolated, and the willingness to pay for proposed factors was examined. The results showed that divers were willing to contribute towards all increases in reef community attributes, and were partially able to discriminate between them. Biodiversity was the most valued index, while fish abundance was the least favoured. These results, which demonstrate that visitors understand the fundamentals that constitute a coral reef community and value its diversity, may help direct conservation efforts undertaken in the design of marine reserves and pre-planned artificial reefs.
- contingent valuation
- willingness to pay