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The article provides a brief history of fisheries management and the development of the fisheries economics paradigm taking into account the distinction between fisheries management (the decision to control the amount and timing of fisheries exploitation) and fisheries regulation (the specification of the rules and procedures to control the actual taking of fish such that actual mortality is equal to the desired mortality). It is noted that the concepts from regulation analysis have been commonly adopted in real-world management practices, but this has not been the case for the concepts from fisheries management analysis. Preliminary analysis of why this is so and suggestions for how to correct it are suggested.
The alleged crisis in world fisheries is not reflected in production statistics. The total production of fish has increased continuously from 20 million tonnes in 1950 to 180 in 2012, while the catches in capture fisheries have stagnated at 90 million tonnes. Nevertheless, there have been some spectacular fisheries collapses.
With a growing world population, the need for increased food supply from fish is clear. It must come from aquaculture, which has expanded despite stagnating production of fish meal. It is argued that fish meal production is no threat to wild fish stocks, nor does it come at the expense of fewer fish available for direct human consumption.
Non-market valuation of fish as wildlife is criticized as having a built-in preservation bias. Ecosystem management makes sense for maximizing the yield from interdependent species, but is largely used as a code word for an environmentalist agenda.
The implementation of marine protected areas, such as marine reserves and customary fishing areas, is considered an important step toward advancing ecosystem-based management (EBM), but has proven difficult due to resistance from well-organized fishing interests. This raises the question of how the values of less well-organised parties can be brought into the political decision-making process. We summarise the results of a discrete choice survey of the general public in New Zealand that elicits willingness to make tradeoffs among taxes and four socio-ecological attributes: biodiversity, maintenance of Maori customary practices, and restrictions on commercial and recreational fishing. We apply cluster analysis, which provides information about political ‘market shares’ of respondent preferences, and derive estimates of average public willingness to pay for various policy scenarios. Both analyses reveal broad-scale support for conservation of biodiversity and cultural practices, providing quantifiable input from the public in the process of marine space reallocation.
The importance of fish size for price per kilo is studied using an inverse demand approach. Price per kilo in different size categories of the same species differs significantly. This means that the average price for a species may change due to e.g., high grading or a changing climate, which both have the potential to change the size composition of the catch. Estimates show that quantity flexibilities differ substantially across size and species, while scale flexibilities, in general, are close to homothetic. Holding total catch constant, an approximate 1% decrease in the largest size category and a corresponding increase in the smallest size category is estimated to reduce the value of an average week's catch by roughly 0.1–0.4%. The results imply that the effect of size on price is an important consideration when formulating regulations or policies to curb, for example, high grading.
This article investigates the risk of stock collapse due to stochastically induced critical depensation in managed fisheries. We use a continuous-time surplus production model and an economic model with downward-sloping demand and stock-dependent costs. First, we derive an optimal exploitation policy as a feedback control rule by applying the Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman approach and analyze the effects of stochasticity on the optimal policy. Then, we characterize the long-term sustainable optimal state and estimate the risk of stock collapse due to stochastically induced critical depensation. We find that the optimal harvest policy in the stochastic setting is conservative at low stochasticity and approaches the myopic solution at high stochasticity. The risk of stock collapse is increasing with the stochasticity and decreasing with stock sizes.
Fishery regulations might not only affect the fleet, but also the relation between fisheries and downstream sectors on the ex-vessel market for fish products. This article estimates the price effects of management reform in the Swedish Baltic Sea cod fishery. In April 2011, as part of a reform process aimed at giving fishers more flexibility, vessels using active gear were given annual non-transferable catch quotas. We examine whether the new management system has altered the bargaining power between fishers and processors in the ex-vessel market for fish. Using a difference-in-differences estimation approach we find that postreform fishers improve their bargaining power and thus are paid a higher price. However, the price increase is small, amounting to around 2% of the pre-reform price.
Fishery managers are often provided with economic impact multipliers calculated using input-output (IO) or social accounting matrix (SAM) models. However, these multipliers measure total economic impacts and do not provide the fishery managers with the details underlying how and along what paths these total economic impacts are generated and transmitted throughout a regional economy. This article uses a structural path analysis (SPA) to illustrate how an initial shock to a fishery sector generates impacts through various paths in a regional economy and to what extent these impacts are amplified while passing through the various paths. The SPA analysis is conducted within a SAM framework for the fisheries of the Southeast region of Alaska.
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