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SIU GEOG 300I - The Global Fishing Crisis

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GEOG 300I 1st Edition Lecture 6The Global fishing Crisis- Beddington et alo The situation, although serious, is not catastrophic, and there are grounds for optimism.o The management of commercial fisheries clearly requires a good scientific understanding of the behavior of the exploited stock or stockso The science is still based on single species analysiso A more ecosystem-orientated approach still lacks datao In practice we use performance reference pointso A typical “target reference point” is the biomass necessary to produce maximum sustainable yield (BMSY)o These thresholds may be too simplistico They do not recognize uncertainty and potential irreversibilityo The optimal fishing effort may be below BMSYo The success of a management system is often defined in terms of biological, economic, social, and political objectives.o Clearly, economic and social objectives will not be met while a stock is in such a depletedstate that the long-term sustainability of the fishery is threatened, but equally, biologicalobjectives are unlikely to be met without consideration being given to economic and social objectives.o An understanding of the fishery management process can only come from analyzing the capacity and incentives of the two key stakeholders: the fishing community and the management authority.o When multiple fishers compete to catch fish from a given population, each fisher maximizes his net income by continuing to fish as long as the value of his catch exceeds the cost of catching it. o Equilibrium, called the bionomic equilibrium, is reached only when fishing has reduced the fish population to a level at which catch rates are barely sufficient to cover the costs of fishing. o The population is then maintained at this level through biological processes of natural growth and reproduction.o If the price-cost ratio is high, the bionomic equilibrium will result in a low stock of fish, and hence a low annual catch level; two characteristic features of overfishing. o In addition, the so-called economic rents (total revenue minus total costs) from the fishery will equilibrate at zero, resulting in minimal overall economic efficiency.These notes represent a detailed interpretation of the professor’s lecture. GradeBuddy is best used as a supplement to your own notes, not as a substitute.o Output controls in terms of a total allowable catch (TAC) for the year and closing the fishery when the year’s cumulative catch has reached the TAC. o Restrictions on fishing gear, fishing season, and fishing areas, as a supplement to the TAC, may also be imposed.o Fishers will be deterred from breaking fishing regulations if their expected loss from detection and successful prosecution exceed their expected gain. o In many fisheries, the probability of detection of illegal activity and the penalties are not sufficiently high to act as a disincentive.o If regulation is not enforced illegal fishing,  poor scientific data  failure to meet biological targetso Input measures, such as limiting the number of vessels or restricting available season length, are usually more easily enforceable than output measures such as TAC.o Control via input measures is vulnerable to effort creep, whereby operators increase the fishing power of their vessels through technical means. o Monitoring of vessel performance over time and adjusting the allowable level of effort have allowed successful effort control to be implemented.o The problem is that fishermen can adjust their effort, or the intensity with which they pursue the fish, if we only use input measures!o Output oriented management is also problematic because of economic driverso If there are positive profits or rents, this will create incentives for new firms/fishermen/boats to enter the fisheryo If positive economic rents emerge in a TAC regulated fishery, it is possible to have increases in fishing capacity, as additional vessels enter the fishery in response to (temporarily) positive rents.o Economics teaches us that in the long term, in equilibrium, profits (rents) are zero!o We have created overcapacityo This is the case in many of the world’s regulated fisherieso Overcapacity of fishing fleets is widely perceived as a major impediment to achieving economically productive fisheries. o Bur oftentimes that overcapacity has been generated by the management system itself, which was clearly not incentive-compatible in the long term.o Overcapacity is a major problem affecting world fisheries. o Overcapacity can also be generated by government subsidies.o Overcapacity can, via the political process, lead to the erosion of management controlo In several fisheries, government funds have been used to buy out excess fishing capacity.Such buyback programs have been less effective than expected. Often only the least efficient vessels are bought up, leaving total fishing capacity largely intact.  The buyback program by itself does not remove the economic incentives underlying overcapacity, which tends to increase once the buybacks are completedo Incentive-based approaches that better specify community and individual harvest or territorial rightso An alternative management strategy is to use individually allocated transferable annual catch quotas (ITQs, or individual transferable quotas)o A well-organized rights system alters the economic incentives of fishers, who no longer compete for their catches, so that highly competitive fishing no longer takes place. o The guarantee to fishers of a certain proportion of the catch allows them to make rational economic choices about where and when they catch fish.o ITQ fishers may often be expected to favor management actions that protect and enhance fish populations, because the value of a quota share increases as stocks become more abundant.o You still need monitoring People can misreport or high-grade catches “Cut the best and leave the rest” Fishermen get good prices but the long term effects can be disastrouso Credible observers are a possible solution.o Fishermen need to be sure that they are guaranteed long-term rights.o Three key elements:  incentive structure,  institutional capacity,  participation of stakeholders o Some studies have suggested a rights-based approach, and others have advocated severe top-down controls with very limited participation of fishing communities in the management process. o Beddington: we need both -  A competent management authority able to set


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