Feature-Taking Stock of Catch Shares: Lessons from the Past and Directions for the Future
© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. With the widespread implementation of catch shares (i.e., rights-based fisheries management) at the end of the twentieth century, economists have begun to examine empirical evidence about their performance. Yet despite documented positive outcomes and predicted gains from wider adoption of this approach, catch shares face persistent political opposition and criticism in the noneconomics literature. The debate surrounding catch shares focuses on equity, industry consolidation, nonlocal ownership of quotas, employment, and other impacts on fishing communities, but the evidence on both sides has been largely anecdotal. To inform this debate, it is important for economists and other researchers to produce rigorous analyses that quantify the effects of catch shares on employment, the distribution of economic value in the harvest and processing sectors, and other indicators of community well-being. We assess catch shares to identify research needs and guide policymakers. Using examples from the experiences of the United States and Argentina with rights-based fisheries, we demonstrate that a key challenge for researchers and policymakers is accounting for multiple species, globalization of seafood markets, and climate change. We urge policymakers to consider these forces and their impacts, along with available empirical evidence, when evaluating fisheries management options that balance efficiency and equity goals.
Birkenbach, AM; Smith, MD; Stefanski, S
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