The economic feasibility of stock enhancement of Argyrosomus japonicus in South Africa was investigated using a willingness-to-pay (WTP) survey. The pilot study provides a unique example of the use of the contingent valuation method as a valuation tool for a proposed stock enhancement programme. An increase in the cost of a recreational fishing permit is used as a potential vehicle of payment. The median value of the maximum that fishers were willing to pay for a recreational fishing permit was R155 (South African Rand) for frequent fishers and R100 for non-frequent fishers. Analysis showed that a fee of more than R100 excluded up to 50% of anglers from the fishery, but that a fee of R100 excluded only 28% of recreational anglers and would generate an additional R12 million annually from the sale of recreational fishing permits. The estimated costs of set-up and running of a stock enhancement programme are substantially lower than this, suggesting that stock enhancement may be an economically feasible management option that deserves more investigation. The WTP method itself produces robust results and is likely to be an effective tool in the management of the marine environment.