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Food and Resource Economics Department

Food and Resource Economics Department

Research Areas

Marine Economics

Marine resource and fisheries management, seafood production and marketing, sustainable aquaculture production, and coastal water quality are all important topics in the State of Florida and more broadly. FRED researchers work together as part of multidisciplinary teams to study issues important to Florida’s marine-dependent industries and marine resource managers at the state, federal, and global levels. FRED research and extension programs are working to protect marine resources, improve the sustainability of seafood production, and maximizes marine recreational opportunities in Florida and beyond. 

  • Marine Resource Management

    Marine Resource Management

    Commercial fisheries and saltwater recreational angling are important components of the Florida economy and to the economies of the coastal communities in which these industries are located.

    Effective marine resource management helps ensure these industries continue to be important economic drivers. However, marine resource management is a complex process. Federal and state managers strive to develop effective management plans that will provide for long-term, sustainable utilization of Florida’s marine fisheries by both recreational and commercial users.

    Key agencies involved in this process include the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Many of the issues facing resource managers concern the economic implications of alternative management strategies. Thus, applied research and extension outreach by FRED play a key role in helping managers better understand how to enhance the social and economic benefits resulting from management, and provide all users with an appreciation of the importance and need for effective marine resource management.

  • Aquaculture Feasibility

    Aquaculture Feasibility

    Florida has an extremely diverse commercial aquaculture industry, likely the most diverse in the nation. Commercial aquaculturists currently produce food finfish, marine baitfish, marine and freshwater ornamentals, aquatic plants, molluscan shellfish, crustaceans, alligators, and other species. Producers utilize a wide array of culture methods, including inland ponds, subtidal bags, raceways, aquaria, greenhouse systems, and others.

    Shifts in market forces and production policy create the opportunity for innovation. Existing and potential producers need to know the financial characteristics and economic/commercial feasibility of newer, innovative production methods. Applied research and extension programming by FRED provides culturists with additional information needed to make an informed business decision, and avoid unwise investments.

  • Seafood Markets

    Seafood Markets

    The demand for seafood continues to grow within Florida and the nation. With increasingly stringent management regulations being imposed, the domestic market is becoming increasingly reliant upon imported seafood, with many non-traditional species and innovative product forms/packaging methods entering the market.

    The dominance of imports within the domestic market provides benefits for processors, wholesale distributors, and consumers, but creates the need for a competitive advantage for domestic seafood producers. Applied research and extension programming by FRED helps address the structure, conduct, and performance of the domestic seafood market, such that harvesters, processors, dealers and consumers can better understand how the myriad of seafood products can more efficiently navigate a market path from the dock to the plate.

  • Coastal Water Quality

    Coastal Water Quality

    With the majority of the Florida population living with a short distance of the coast, the likelihood for nutrient overloading to occur in coastal waters is enhanced. Point and non-point storm-water runoff, as well as septic tank and agricultural/residential fertilizer seepage, contribute to the nutrient loading in the coastal waters. Such conditions can contribute to the development of harmful algal blooms (HABs) and further exacerbate naturally occurring algal blooms, such as red tides.

    These HABs can have a negative impact on various sectors of the vitally important economy of Florida’s coastal corridor. Commercial seafood production, molluscan shellfish culture, waterfront-proximate businesses, beach-going, boating, and other coastal tourism-related business sectors can be significantly impacted by red tides, in particular.

    FRED applied research helps municipal, county, and state managers, as well as water-dependent business owners, appreciate the importance of high quality coastal water. In addition, FRED research and extension efforts help to create a better understanding of the negative economic consequences to coastal communities and Florida resulting from red tides and HABs in general. Such information helps decision makers more effectively allocate scarce public funds toward better understanding and managing HABs so that Florida’s coastal waters are maintained at the highest quality as possible for all to use and enjoy.

  • Economic Impact of Water Dependent Industries

    Economic Impact of Water Dependent Industries

    Florida is home to numerous coastal and water-dependent industry sectors, many of which contribute significantly to local and state economies. These industry sectors include commercial fishing, seafood processing, marine recreational angling, maritime / non-maritime port facilities, ecotourism, aquaculture, intra-coastal shipping, dive operations, and many others. These industries contribute to local jobs, tax revenue, incomes, expenditures, and other vital economic activities.

    Decision makers often need to know the role that these industry sectors play in local and regional economies. To that end, FRED conducts assessments of the economic impacts that are generated by these various water dependent industries. Such information allows resource managers, development planners, county / state decision makers, and political leaders to better understand the relative economic importance of marine dependent industries and the business activities associated with them.

Faculty Research

See the following faculty member pages for additional information on current marine economics research.

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