In the recent years, resource depletion of inshore and coastal fisheries has seriously impacted Taiwan. Local fishing communities’ economic profits in these fisheries have declined and resulted in lower earned incomes for the fishermen. These phenomena have lead many scholars, government agencies and fishing communities to evaluate the optimal number of operating vessels in these fisheries. This study has explicitly applied the concepts of community-based co-management, fish market concentration and labor stickiness to an economic model that can be used to determine the optimum number of fishing vessels in a fishing community. One corollary of this approach is that we modify the traditional assumption regarding labor mobility in a fishing community and explore here how labor stickiness to the extent that it exists in Taiwan’s fishing communities might bias traditional fishing management policies and influence the determination of optimal number of vessels. In addition, the Herfindahl index (H), which measures the degree of concentration in the structure of a fishery market, will also affect the final determination of the optimal number of vessels. Results suggest that when there are no labor mobility barriers, then with flexible fishing operation costs, the optimal number of vessels and the fish stock would be smaller. Larger values of H (i.e., Herfindahl index) and greater differentials in the fishing efficiency index in the fishing community also result in relatively fewer vessels and fish stock. Finally, as to the impacts of changing fish stock growth rate and fish price on the optimal vessel number and fish stock are also discussed.
Chuang, C. and Y. Lee. Co-management and Labor Stickiness in Fishing Communities: Determination of the Optimal Number of Vessels. In: Microbehavior and Macroresults: Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon, USA. Compiled by Richard S. Johnston and Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2001.