Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural Economics

Document Type



Aquaculture industries in the U.S. generate $1 billion in farm-level sales. Genetic improvement of fish stocks may be a way to increase the market share of aquaculture within the U.S. seafood market as well as the market share within the world market. This study evaluates the preferences, beliefs, and opinions of aquaculture producers across the U.S. about topics such as cryopreservation, genetic improvement, and the future of the aquaculture industry. Willingness-to-pay values for specific genetic improvements by aquaculture grow-out producers were elicited. A national survey of aquaculture producers was used to elicit the information used in the analysis. The survey included sections for hatchery producers, foodfish grow-out producers, and demographic information. Hatchery producers were asked questions relating to their production methods and costs as well as their opinions and knowledge about cryopreservation and its benefits. Producer opinions of cryopreservation services were analyzed using an ordered probit model. Choice-based conjoint analysis was used to elicit relative importance and willingness-to-pay estimates for specific genetic attributes from foodfish grow-out producers. The attributes were growth rate, disease resistance, and resistance to 10% lower dissolved oxygen levels. The choice-based responses were analyzed using a conditional logit model. Contingent valuation questions were also asked to grow-out producers so that willingness-to-pay estimates for supply reliability and genetic uniformity could be calculated. The contingent valuation responses were analyzed using a double-hurdle model. Results showed that the hybrid striped bass hatchery producers were the most interested in cryopreservation services. Growth rate proved to be the most important genetic attribute available to foodfish grow-out producers. Producers were willing to pay a 22% price premium to acquire a fish stock with a 20% improved growth rate. Trout producers were willing to pay the most for supply reliability. Overall, producers were willing to pay an 18% premium to improve the genetic uniformity and increase the reliability of supply. This research shows an interest in the genetic improvement of aquaculture foodfish stocks as well as an interest by hatcheries for cryopreservation services. More research is needed to determine the specific costs hatcheries would need to bear to incorporate cryopreservation services.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

R. Wes Harrison