One policy question in fisheries management today concerns whether fishing rights should be “privatized” by granting a few fishermen dedicated rights to a certain quota of fish each year. The management tool operates through a system of permits or quotas that give individual fishers rights to fish they have yet to catch. The premise is that fishers will become better stewards of a resource that they have an economic interest in sustaining. Generally, fisheries that use this economic management tool have been termed “dedicated access privilege” fisheries.
Although economists have written extensively about the economic outcomes of these privatized fisheries, there is a paucity of information about the ecological effects that this management tool has on the fishery resource it is managing. Because proponents of dedicated access fisheries are advocating for an increased number of fisheries to be managed under this system in the United States, it is important to understand what impact this new tool will have on fish and marine ecosystems.
This project will examine the ecological effects of dedicated access fisheries by analyzing the ecological health of all the dedicated access fisheries around the world before and after the dedicated access systems were implemented. The project will not only examine whether dedicated access fisheries lead to greater ecological benefits as compared to non-dedicated access fisheries, but will also identify what specific components of a dedicated access fishery may lead to ecological benefits (or impacts) in order to improve the design of fisheries in the future.