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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Studies in fisheries economics Southey, Clive

Abstract

Four separate non-empirical studies are presented together with an extensive preface which indicates their common elements. The first study is concerned with non-existence and instability of bionomic equilibrium as a potential explanation of the 'alleged' poor performance of the fishing industry. A comparative-static model is presented. The results suggest that biological and economic forces need not be compatible with equilibrium and stability. The second study examines the problem of welfare and fishery regulation. It is argued that the objectives and appropriate regulatory regimes must be determined by consideration of limitations on compensations the diverse objectives of various organizational structures, and the efficiency with which regimes can internalize the complex externalities involved. With respect to regulation by public authority, several devices are examined and a tax on catch is shown to be efficient. In accordance with modern welfare economics, the study stresses the need for explicit considerations of compensation of losers. The third study examines the problem of "sports versus commercial" fishermen. It is shown how freedom of access results, under normal circumstances, in losses of welfare in both types of activity. Optimal resource allocation typically requires that different users only be discriminated against if their fishing techniques warrant it. If freedom of access is maintained, discrimination may be justified but only if the benefits are measured on each case. Finally, the indirect method of measuring benefits is evaluated, and rejected for some old and some new reasons. Study four examines the logic of "share systems". Under conditions of certainty, we re-affirm the conclusion that in the absence of technical, administrative or legal constraints, share systems are prone to resource misallocation. When viewed purely as a device for allocating resources under conditions of uncertainty the share system is restrictive and imperfect (if we ignore transaction costs). The system can be rationalized when viewed as a compromise between risk-bearing and incentives. Thus the prime explanation offered for share systems is moral hazard".

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