Valuing Public Preferences for Ludong (Cestraeus plicatilis Valenciennes 1836) Conservation Program in Cagayan River Systems, Philippines
Ludong (Cestraeus plicatilis Valenciennes 1836) has been declared as an endangered species by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in the Cagayan River Systems. Thus, BFAR is planning to ban ludong fishing for five years that will be complemented by changes in the current conservation program. This study determined and valued the program features preferred by 282 respondents from eight major ludong fishing and trading sites along the Cagayan River Systems in provinces of Cagayan and Isabela for the BFAR’s 5-year proposed revised ludong conservation program using a choice experiment approach. The heterogeneity of the respondent’s preferences for these program features was also determined. The respondents had the highest mean willingness to pay (PhP 534.07 per year) for a conservation program that has the lowest negative income impacts to them given their heavy reliance to fishing as income and food source. This program bans only ludong fishing gears from October to December 15, provides income benefits to them during the 2.5 months seasonal ban for ludong and provides information and education about ludong via a medium that is easily and widely accessible to them. The differences of their willingness to pay for these program features are low.