Local Fishing Communities and Nature-Based Tourism in Baja, México: An Inter-sectoral Valuation of Environmental Inputs

  • Alberto AnsuategiEmail author
  • Duncan Knowler
  • Tobias Schwoerer
  • Salvador García-Martínez


Nature-based tourism is often advocated as a desirable conservation strategy for small-scale fishing communities as it gives local people motivation to protect wildlife and ecosystems that attract visitors, while benefiting the community. However, valuation of environmental inputs in nature-based tourism, for instance charismatic species or scenic amenities, needs to be done correctly. Often, there are inter-sectoral costs and benefits involved that are not counted, so that determining the value of the environmental inputs to local communities may be more complex than simpler calculations might indicate. We model whales as an input to the production of wildlife viewing trips, but recognize that this occurs within a community dependent on a seasonal fishery. Standard theory suggests that industry will switch from fishing to whale watching every year when whale watching becomes marginally more profitable than fishing. We develop a simple theoretical model that allows us to analyze the interaction between the extractive and the non-extractive activities. As a case study, we use whale watching in the small coastal communities of the Bahía Magdalena lagoon complex in Baja, México.


Local fishing communities Whale watching Valuation Inter-sectoral effects 



We would like to thank seminar participants at the 8th Bi-Annual Conference of AERNA (Madrid, 2018), 6th World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists (Gothemburg, 2018) and the 92nd Annual Conference of the Western Economic Association International (San Diego, 2017) for their helpful comments. We remain responsible for any errors. Alberto Ansuategi thanks financial support from the Ministerio de Economa y Competitividad (ECO-2015-68023) and the Eusko Jaurlaritza (IT-799-13 and MV-2017-1-0008).


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Economía PúblicaUPV/EHUBilbaoSpain
  2. 2.Simon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  3. 3.University of Alaska AnchorageAnchorageUSA
  4. 4.Universidad Autónoma de Baja California SurLa PazMexico

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