Date of Award

12-2002

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Resource Economics and Policy

Advisor

Timothy J. Dalton

Second Committee Member

Hsiang-Tai Cheng

Third Committee Member

Linda J. Kling

Abstract

The State of Maine is reliant upon its natural resources. Wild catches of marine finfish, especially ground fish such as cod and haddock, are declining. In addition, several new restrictions have been placed on the culture of Atlantic salmon due to its listing under the Endangered Species Act. These issues serve as an impetus to explore the development of alternative species for cold-water marine aquaculture. This research focuses on early haddock culture. The two areas where haddock culture varies from production of other species are the need for live feeds and proximity to seawater. Unlike salmon, haddock spend their entire life in seawater. Due to their small size at hatching, haddock must be fed rotifers and Artemia (live feeds). These factors distinguish the rearing of haddock from salmon. The objective of this research was to develop an ex-ante estimate of the cost of producing juvenile haddock. A static budget was developed and then the stochastic factors affecting production were identified and quantified. The model was re-estimated using Monte Carlo simulation techniques to account for the uncertainty and risk of the stochastic factors. Risk efficient technology choices were identified from the simulation. This was accomplished by dividing the thesis into two distinct papers: live feed production and juvenile production. Different strategies of rearing the live feed organisms were analyzed. It was found that using yeast was more cost effective than using green water for enrichment. A breakeven analysis was done to analyze the relationship between the increased risk of a rotifer crash and the decreased cost of continuously rearing systems. The third area of live feeds production that was considered was the unpredictability of Artemia cyst prices. It was found that a doubling of Artemia cyst prices lead to a 5% increase in the total live feeds cost. The second portion of the thesis looks at juvenile feeding technologies. Biological literature suggests that a reduction in the number of days juvenile haddock are fed live feeds will reduce the total costs of production. Including both the biological risk of mortality and the cost of producing live feeds, it was found that reducing the number of days on live feeds did not lead to a reduction in total costs. Overall, it was found that juvenile haddock could be produced at under $1.60, 85% of the time. Reducing the number of days on live feeds did not result in a decline of total costs. The final step of the research involved sensitivity and policy analysis to determine where future research is needed. The price of Artemia cysts, the interest rate, and an increase to two production cycles per year were analyzed to determine the impact on per-fish costs. The largest cost reduction was seen when production increased to two cycles per year. This cost reduction is due to the large capital costs associated with the system.

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