Economic Effects of HABs on Coastal Communities and Shellfish Culture in Florida

EPA Grant Number: R831707
Title: Economic Effects of HABs on Coastal Communities and Shellfish Culture in Florida
Investigators: Larkin, Sherry L. , Adams, Charles M. , Degner, Robert L.
Institution: University of Florida
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: November 1, 2004 through October 31, 2006 (Extended to October 31, 2007)
Project Amount: $91,959
RFA: Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) , Aquatic Ecosystems , Ecosystems , Water


(1) To estimate the change in gross revenues to various business sectors of coastal communities affected by HAB (e.g., red tide) events (e.g., test whether changes in restaurant sales are statistically different during periods of red tide and whether the changes are community specific or vary over time);

(2) To calculate the costs incurred by coastal communities to address the effects of HAB events including planning efforts, contingency plans, beach patrols and cleanup, etc. (which will allow for a test of a minimum community expenditure level); and

(3) To quantify the effects of HABs and HAB-related harvest regulations on commercial molluscan shellfish operations (which will allow for an evaluation of proposals to alter water quality standards for shellfish harvesting areas).

Empirical application will be restricted to Florida for manageability and reduced costs.


Study will use a combination of primary and secondary data, analyzed with econometric techniques and statistical measures. Objective 1 will involve the identification of business sectors impacted by HAB events, such as beachfront lodging and restaurants. A time series of taxable sales will be combined with data on weather (precipitation levels, major storm events, etc.) and HABs (presence and intensity). Municipal and county-level managers and molluscan shellfish (hard clam) culturists will be surveyed following small focus group sessions to identify all HAB-related activities and effects. The managers will be interviewed by telephone to solicit specific information on costs associated with HABs. Culturists will be surveyed by mail to obtain specific information on shellfish losses, harvest closures, cash flow disruptions, etc.). The resulting information will be used to compile a matrix of HAB costs and impacts incurred by coastal communities in Florida.

Expected Results:

The methodologies developed will have broad applicability for investigating the economic effects of HABs. The findings will allow coastal resource managers, local businesses and HAB researchers to better assess the community and business costs resulting from HAB events. This information will provide for a more accurate evaluation of the costs and benefits associated with HAB mitigation, monitoring, regulation, and clean-up efforts. It will also provide data for subsequent analysis of economic impacts.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 24 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

EPA region 4, FL, harmful algal blooms, Karenia brevis, Southeast, FL, survey, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Health Risk Assessment, Oceanography, Economics, algal blooms, Environmental Monitoring, Ecological Risk Assessment, Ecology and Ecosystems, marine ecosystem, shellfish transport, bloom dynamics, economic assessments, water quality, Florida, human health, algal bloom detection

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2005 Progress Report
  • 2006 Progress Report
  • Final Report