Defining the economic scope for ecosystem-based fishery management
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 deserve serious consideration, especially when designing and evaluating EBFM policies.