Study: Consider “Spillovers” in Fishery Management Policy Design


Feb. 13, 2019

News Type

Press Release

Washington, DC—A new paper on fisheries management by a team including affiliates from Resources for the Future (RFF) and other researchers was released today by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Catch shares are a management tool used worldwide in high-value commercial fisheries, including several dozen in the United States. They are typically implemented on a single-fishery basis. Using network analysis and data from the Alaska region, the new paper offers empirical evidence that fishing behavior can change outside the targeted catch-share fishery.

According to RFF Fellow Kailin Kroetz, the results “suggest that managers should consider economic linkages between fisheries and potential spillovers when designing and evaluating management policies such as catch shares.”

Coauthor Matt Reimer of the University of Alaska explains, “models of fisher behavior that include participation in multiple fisheries are difficult to develop.” He goes on to note that “the findings of this paper suggest we need to develop just these sorts of models though, and this is something the team is currently working on.”

On the broader implications of this work, RFF University Fellow and University of California Professor Jim Sanchiricostated: “This paper is part of a shifting paradigm in how we think about fisheries economics and management, which began with ecologists focusing on the ecological connectivity of species within regional ecosystems and the advancement of Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management as a framework, and is now beginning to include consideration of economic connectivity as well.”

The authors of the paper are RFF Fellow Kailin Kroetz, Matthew N. Reimer (University of Alaska, Anchorage), RFF University Fellow James N. Sanchirico (University of California, Davis), Daniel K. Lew (NOAA Fisheries - Alaska Fisheries Science Center), and RFF Research Assistant Justine Huetteman. Their paper is: Defining the Scope for Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management.

Read the full text at the PNAS site.

Resources for the Future (RFF) is an independent, nonprofit research institution in Washington, DC. Its mission is to improve environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement. RFF is committed to being the most widely trusted source of research insights and policy solutions leading to a healthy environment and a thriving economy.

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