Kong, H.; Shen, J.; Zhao, Y., and Sun, Q., 2022. Assessment of sea-area benchmark pricing: Using Chinese aquaculture to evaluate and revise the price structure of resources. Journal of Coastal Research, 38(5), 925–936. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.

China has implemented a system of paid use of sea areas and has in recent years promoted their market-oriented allocation to ameliorate the efficiency and to realize their intensive and economical use. Estimations of the sea-area benchmark price can reveal the differences in sea areas, quality, and efficiency. This study introduces a framework to assess the benchmark price of the sea areas, applied to open aquaculture in Lianjiang County (Fujian Province, China). The assessment results show that the sea area used for bottom-sowing aquaculture in Lianjiang County was classified as Grade 2, whereas the sea area used for raft aquaculture and net cage aquaculture was classified as Grade 4. Upon comprehensive consideration of the theoretical value and the actual demand for sea-area management, the benchmark price of three types of open aquaculture sea areas is evaluated. The benchmark prices for bottom-sowing culture sea areas were found to be RMB 65–117/mu/year; for raft culture sea areas, they were RMB 20–252/mu/year; and for net cage culture, sea areas were RMB 100–800/mu/year. Overall, this study constructed a revised system of sea-area benchmark pricing, considering the natural conditions of the sea area, policy factors, transportation and infrastructure, culture conditions, and development degree. These results could be used as the guiding prices of the government to transfer sea-area resources and could ensure the realization of the economic interests of the government as owner of the sea area. Furthermore, this approach can provide a novel way to evaluate sea-area prices in other coastal areas.

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