We investigate the links among jointly permitted fisheries in the Alaska region to better understand how policies aimed at one fishery may affect others.
Many fishermen own a portfolio of permits across multiple fisheries, creating an opportunity for fishing effort to adjust across fisheries and enabling impacts from a policy change in one fishery to spill over into other fisheries. In regions with a large and diverse number of permits and fisheries, joint-permitting can result in a complex system, making it difficult to understand the potential for cross-fishery substitution. In this study, we construct a network representation of permit ownership to characterize interconnectedness between Alaska commercial fisheries due to cross-fishery permitting. The Alaska fisheries network is highly connected, suggesting that most fisheries are vulnerable to cross-fishery spillovers from network shocks, such as changes to policies or fish stocks. We find that fisheries with similar geographic proximity are more likely to be a part of a highly connected cluster of susceptible fisheries. We use a case study to show that preexisting network statistics can be useful for identifying the potential scope of policy-induced spillovers. Our results demonstrate that network analysis can improve our understanding of the potential for policy-induced cross-fishery spillovers.