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The market value of freshness: observations from the swordfish and blue shark longline fishery


One important component in determining the market value of fish is freshness, essentially the time period from capture to consumer. By shortening the time from harvest to landing, freshness can be improved and thus the market value may increase. The opportunistic nature of the marine capture fisheries sector, however, can encourage fishers to extend their time at sea to catch additional fish, while retaining already harvested fish. Here, fishers face a tradeoff: extending the duration of their operations, but compromising their ability to maintain product freshness. This study estimates the freshness premium for two fish species, swordfish and blue shark, landed at Kesennuma, Japan. Swordfish is generally destined for the raw market, while blue shark is first processed into several products. Our results suggest substantial heterogeneity in the freshness premium, depending on the likelihood of a product being consumed fresh or after processing. This work is an important investigation in the Kesennuma region, which suffered devastating damage from the tsunami following the Tohoku Earthquake.

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The authors are grateful to Koshiro Ishida for his tireless efforts in organizing the Kesennuma market data and for fish trip data.

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Correspondence to Gakushi Ishimura.

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Ishimura, G., Bailey, M. The market value of freshness: observations from the swordfish and blue shark longline fishery. Fish Sci 79, 547–553 (2013).

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  • Ex vessel price
  • Kesennuma
  • Longline fishery
  • Tsunami
  • Market value
  • Freshness
  • Swordfish
  • Blue shark