Establishing long-term disease mitigation- and production zones requires a change in the salmon-farming infrastructure that may not immediately be suited for the individual company. It is therefore important to demonstrate how such a change economically w ill impact the industry as well as each company's production function.
This post-doctoral research project aims to explore incentives for disease control in aquaculture and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of treatment and control options when structuring the salmon production units into geographical zones. It represents an innovative means to examine the issue of optimal production zones by combing institutional and information economics, experimental economics, and integrated models of epidemiology and economic impact. While focusing primarily on sea lice, differences between sea lice and pancreas disease will be explored.
A literature review of incentive programs in the livestock sector will synthesize the theoretical literature from economics, oper ations research and ecology in order to develop practical guidelines for what could constitute an appropriate, fit-for-purpose incentive scheme in aquatic health and the development of optimal zones. Based on this, experimental economics will be utilized in an innovative and unique setting by developing experiments with focus groups of producers and industry actors to assess farm management reactions to different incentive programs. An integrated epidemiological-economic model based on a system dynamics approach will be employed to evaluate treatment and control strategies at farm level and with different zoning strategies. Issues of industry profitability and organization in the short- and long-term, and the extent to which these effects might feedback to the choice of incentive mechanisms, will be evaluated. The cost-effectiveness of different zoning scenarios, also taking into account non-economic drivers, will then be calculated.