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Are fishery management upgrades worth the cost?

  • Author(s): Mangin, Tracey;
  • Costello, Christopher;
  • Anderson, James;
  • Arnason, Ragnar;
  • Elliott, Matthew;
  • Gaines, Steve D;
  • Hilborn, Ray;
  • Peterson, Emily;
  • Sumaila, Rashid
  • et al.
Abstract

Many analyses of fishery recovery have demonstrated the potential biological and economic benefits of management reform, but few have compared these to the associated costs of management upgrades, which can be substantial. This study aims to determine if the projected economic benefits of management reform outweigh the increases in management costs required to achieve those benefits. To answer this question, we developed a database of country-level fisheries management costs and use those to estimate the country-level costs of management changes. We use this framework to compare estimates of future costs of management upgrades against their economic benefits in terms of profit. Results indicate that for most nations, including the top 25 fishing nations, management upgrades outweigh their associated costs. This result is robust to a number of alternative assumptions about costs. Results also suggest that stronger reforms such as rights-based management, although sometimes more expensive to implement, can lead to greater net economic benefits compared to alternatives.

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