Hidden Flexibility: Institutions, Incentives, and the Margins of Selectivity in Fishing

Last modified: 
August 30, 2016 - 9:27am
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2015
Date published: 02/2015
Authors: Joshua Abbott, Alan Haynie, Matthew Reimer
Journal title: Land Economics
Volume: 91
Issue: 1
ISSN: 1543-8325

The degree to which selectivity in fisheries is malleable to changes in incentive structures is critical for policy design. We examine data for a multispecies trawl fishery before and after a transition from management under common-pool quotas to a fishery cooperative and note a substantial shift in postcooperative catch from bycatch and toward valuable target species. We examine the margins used to affect catch composition, finding that large- and fine-scale spatial decision making and avoidance of night-fishing were critical. We argue that the poor incentives for selectivity in many systems may obscure significant flexibility in multispecies production technologies.

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