This article turns a critical eye on the current role of economics in informing inter-sector allocation disputes. I argue that much of this analysis relies on a notion of efficiency that is flawed on both static and dynamic grounds and fails to address the inefficiencies of existing management institutions. I propose that real-location is rarely a first-order concern. Rather, it is a “red herring” that detracts from far more necessary fundamental reforms within the recreational sector. These reforms would significantly improve the accountability and efficiency of the sector and establish the necessary institutions to resolve allocation disputes in an adaptive, efficient manner through arms-length transactions. I propose a general framework for reform of mixed recreational-commercial fisheries and discuss realistic rights-based policies to better manage fishing mortality for private recreational anglers and facilitate transferability across sectors. I close with an appeal for more policy-relevant work on recreational fisheries by fisheries economists.
JEL Codes: D61, Q22, Q26, Q28.