Defining the Economic Scope for Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management

Network analysis shows changes in Alaska’s marine fisheries following the implementation of catch share programs beyond the targeted catch-share fishery, spotlighting the risk of unintended spillover effects in implementing fisheries policies.

View Journal Article


Feb. 13, 2019


Journal Article

Reading time

1 minute

Key Findings

  • In much the same way that Ecosystem Based Fishery Management (EBFM) considers the ecological connectivity among fisheries, network analysis can help document the economic connectivity among fisheries.
  • Management changes, such as the implementation of a catch share in one fishery can generating unintended ‘spillover’ effects as fishers change their participation and allocation of effort in other fisheries.


The emergence of ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) has broadened the policy scope of fisheries management by accounting for the biological and ecological connectivity of fisheries. Less attention, however, has been given to the economic connectivity of fisheries. If fishers consider multiple fisheries when deciding where, when, and how much to fish, then management changes in one fishery can generate spillover impacts in other fisheries. Catch share programs are a popular fisheries management framework that may be particularly prone to generating spillovers given that they typically change fishers’ incentives and their subsequent actions. We use data from Alaska fisheries to examine spillovers from each of the main catch share programs in Alaska. We evaluate changes in participation—a traditional indicator in fisheries economics—in both the catch share and non-catch share fisheries. Using network analysis, we also investigate whether catch-share programs change the economic connectivity of fisheries, which can have implications for the socioeconomic resilience and robustness of the ecosystem, and empirically identify the set of fisheries impacted by each Alaska catch share program. We find that cross-fishery participation spillovers and changes in economic connectivity coincide with some, but not all, catch share programs. Our findings suggest that economic connectivity and the potential for cross-fishery spillovers deserves serious consideration, especially when designing and evaluating EBFM policies.


Related Content