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How To Control Overfishing A Market

1686 words - 7 pages

Overfishing is seen as a too big amount being fished, the problem of the definition stems from the poor insight in the mechanisms that regulate recruitment Beverton et al. (1994) considered occurrences of overfishing when a stock was 1/50th of the abundant biomass. Schaefers (1954) approached the issue by looking at the catch and population growth rate. The catch rate is higher than the population growth rate, and the population growth declines. This occurs when fish are caught at too young an age such that the individuals achieve only a small percentage of their potential growth. Another type is longevity overfishing, the virtual elimination of older age classes in a population such that this removal impairs recruitment, which would prevent a population from rebuilding. There came an end to the open access for many fisheries in the late 1970s. However the over-harvesting of fish did not stop. This essay will discuss how overfishing can arise in a market, how the government can intervene to result in an optimal level of fishing. Finally we will compare policy options.

People have engaged themselves in fisheries for thousands of years. Over the years the capital and labour in the fish industry has grown, which led to a higher productivity. Simultaneously with an increase in oceanic navigation caused this a grow in the production.

Until the late 1970’s fish stock could be considered common property, fisheries where managed as open access resources, each potential user has complete autonomy in utilizing the resource.

Economic theory predicts that under conditions of an open access, natural resource will be exploited, until total costs equal total revenues. (Gordon, 1954; Schaefler, 1957; Bjorndal and Conrad, 1987). This implies that as long as the profit exceeds the total costs, new participants will enter the market, and thereby reduce the overall profit. Also{*} no one want to ‘invest’ in stock maintenance because the expected benefits are likely to be collected by others, so fish stock is often severely depleted which may result in extinction. Next to the lost in profit and the possible extinction open access management usually result in an inefficient structure of the fish industry. (McKelvey, 1983; Lipton and Strand, 1989)

Above is discussed that open access results in biologically and economically inefficient outcomes. That is why we will immediately discuss a couple of government interventions in the ‘production of fishing activities’ and how they could make a difference.

Firstly, individual transferable quotas, they allocate a share to each fisher of a total allowable catch, which they are then free to use, lease or sell. These quotas where originated in work on environmental pollution and international trade and was subsequently extended to fisheries (Grafton, 1996). Property rights of a resource in the form of these quotas or shares creates the incentive for fishers to minimize the cost while catching their share...

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