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The Eastern Pacific halibut fishery 1888-1972 : an evolutionary study of the spatial structure of a resource-based complex Dean, Leslie James

Abstract

This study examines the spatial evolution of the Eastern Pacific halibut fishery over the period 1888-1972 in terms of resource exploitation and vessel-port interaction and attempts to delineate the factors which brought about the observed patterns. Four distinct stages of development are identified: (1) a stage of spatial confinement and resource depletion characterized by corporate involvement and restricted vessel range, (2) a stage of spatial extension, company fleet decline, and independent fleet expansion, (3) a stage of spatial adjustment, quota control, and extreme competition, (4) a stage of further spatial extension, fleet decline, and maximum sustained yields. The spatial structure of the industry at each stage of development is shown to be a function of resource availability, fishing costs, and changes in halibut fleet behavior. The time-cost-distance factor between producing grounds and the landing/processing sector of the industry proved to be a critical factor in a fishery that was characterized by increased competition for annual quotas. Conceptual models of the industry's spatial structure have been developed to portray the major changes which occurred from one stage to the next. These in turn are further developed to conceptualize the evolution of the halibut fishery over the 1888-1972 period.

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