Dec 21, 2016

Seafood prices reveal impacts of a major ecological disturbance

Martin D. Smith, Atle Oglend, A. Justin Kirkpatrick, Frank Asche, Lori S. Bennear, J. Kevin Craig, James M. Nance
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Many studies have documented the ecological impacts of hypoxia, but establishing a clear causal link to economic losses in affected fisheries has been elusive. Our study does this by showing how seasonal hypoxia off the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts drives monthly fluctuations in market prices in the Gulf brown shrimp fishery, a major fishery that was once the most valuable in America.

Martin D. Smith, George M. Woodwell Distinguished Professor of Environmental Economics at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment

  • Finds that hypoxic dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico drive up the price of large shrimp relative to smaller sizes, causing economic ripples that can affect consumers, fishermen and seafood markets alike
  • Provides evidence that hypoxia causes economic effects on a major fishery that was once the most valuable fishery in America
  • Represents a breakthrough in causal inference for coupled human-natural systems