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Project seeks better valuation of tropical river resources

Fishing in Mekong River, Lao. Photo by Eric Baran, 2005.

Tropical rivers, and inland fisheries in general, provide food and a means of livelihood for millions of the world’s poor. The importance of these benefits is seldom well represented in national policies, however, because of weaknesses in present valuation methods. Consequently, the need to protect river ecosystems may not be fully appreciated, especially in the face of infrastructure projects such as dams and irrigation schemes that can seriously affect water flow and fish habitats.

WorldFish researchers and their colleagues undertook a major study to help developing countries begin addressing this serious information gap. In five regional reviews, they examined the nature and use of current valuation methodologies and summarized related information on the status of tropical rivers and inland fisheries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. A synthesis report on the findings was published in 2008. Follow-up work is needed to find better ways of analyzing the value of river resources so this can be given due weight in development planning and policies. From the comprehensive information they obtained, the authors calculated that tropical fisheries production currently totals about 5.46 million tons, with an estimated value of US$5.58 billion (at gross market value); that amount is equivalent to 19% of the current value of annual fish exports from developing countries.

Relevant to this story

Brief
Tropical river fisheries valuation- Establishing economic value to guide policy (2008)

Study and Review Synthesis Report
Tropical river fisheries valuation- background papers to a global synthesis (2008)

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