Productivity growth and product choice in catch share fisheries: The case of Alaska pollock
Many fisheries worldwide have exhibited marked decreases in profitability and fish stocks during the last few decades as a result of overfishing. However, more conservative, science- and incentive-based management approaches have been practiced in the US federally managed fisheries off Alaska since the mid-1990s. The Bering Sea pollock fishery is one such fishery and remains one of the world׳s largest in both value and volume of landings. In 1998, with the implementation of the American Fisheries Act (AFA) this fishery was converted from a limited access fishery to a rationalized fishery in which fishing quota were allocated to cooperatives which could transfer quotas, facilitate fleet consolidation, and maximize efficiency. The changes in efficiency and productivity growth arising from the change in management regime have been the subject of several studies, with a few focusing on the large vessels that both catch and process fish onboard (catcher-processors). This study modifies existing approaches to account for the unique decision making process characterizing catcherprocessor׳s production technologies. The focus is on sequential decisions regarding what products to produce and the factors that influence productivity once those decisions are made, using a multiproduct revenue function. The estimation procedure is based on a latent variable econometric model and departs from and advances previous studies since it deals with the mixed distribution nature of the data, a novel application to fisheries production modeling. The resulting productivity growth estimates are consistent with increasing productivity growth since rationalization of the fishery, even in light of large decreases in the pollock stock. These findings suggest that rationalizing fishery incentives can help foster improvements in economic productivity even during periods of diminished biological productivity.