OVEREXPLOITATION OF FISHERY RESOURCES: CAUSES AND PRESCRIPTIONS

Open Access
Author:
Williams, Henry F
Area of Honors:
Economics
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Jonathan W Eaton, Thesis Supervisor
  • David Shapiro, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • overfishing
  • Regional Fishery Management Organizations
  • Individual Transferable Quotas
  • Cournot-Nash
Abstract:
Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs) have a poor record of managing fish stocks on the high seas and promoting sustainable fishing practices. Under collectively managed fisheries, because fishers do not bear all of the costs associated with fishing activity, they overfish. Moreover, the costs of participating in RFMOs are high, the coalitions are difficult to sustain and free riding is prevalent. By internalizing the negative externality of overfishing associated with collectively managed fisheries, Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) schemes more effectively manage fishery resources than RFMOs. Through the institution of a quota system that effectively accounts for the costs of fishing activity, ITQs change the incentives that fishers face and promote more sustainable fishing practices among members. Through improved enforcement from quota revenues, ITQs can modestly reduce non-member free riding. Individual Transferable Quotas have proven successful only in the management of domestic fisheries, whereas RFMOs manage international fisheries. Although differences in scale and jurisdiction exist between ITQs and RFMOs, ITQ measures have the potential to be adapted to RFMOs, improving high seas fishery management. Another market-based system, a tax system, can avoid the issues of quota allocation and ecological uncertainty in ITQs by relying on price as a control rather than quantity. However, the tax-based system is unproven and requires further discussion.