Proceedings of the Eighteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, held July 11-15, 2016 at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Center (AECC), Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.
Suggested Bibliographic Reference: Challenging New Frontiers in the Global Seafood Sector: Proceedings of the Eighteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, July 11-15, 2016. Compiled by Stefani J. Evers and Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2016.
Spatial closures are a prominent tool for ecosystem-based management in commercial fisheries. The potential benefits of spatial closures in commercial fisheries have been discussed thoroughly in the literature; however, empirical estimates of the potential short-run costs incurred by the commercial fishing industry are relatively scarce. Spatial closures constrain the ability of fishermen to balance their catch compositions in accordance with annual species-specific quotas, and can force fishermen out of high-productivity fishing areas. Thus, spatial closures may have substantial short-run costs in the form of increased operating costs and/or foregone revenues from reduced target-species catch. Evaluating the short-run costs incurred by the fishing industry relative to the potential benefits of spatial closures is an important element of evidence-based policy making for ecosystem-based fisheries management. Unfortunately, evaluating the impact of a spatial closure is complicated by the fact that spatial closures are not implemented in a way that facilitates the measurement of the causal relationship between spatial closures and short-run industry costs. We conduct an ex post evaluation of the short-run industry costs associated with the 2011 spatial closures to the North Pacific groundfish fleet for the protection of the endangered Western stock of Stellar sea lions in the Aleutian Islands. We use a combination of program evaluation and structural techniques to isolate the effect of the spatial closure from other confounding effects, such as changes in prices, total allowable catches, and abundances. Our results highlight the importance of ceteris paribus comparisons for evaluating the effects of spatial closures.