Economic Evaluation of Fisheries Policies in Lamon Bay, Philippines Public Deposited

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  • Lamon Bay is one of the most important fishing grounds in the Philippines. In spite of this, most fishermen in the area live in poverty, and their plight is getting worse, not better. Fish catch is declining by 13.5 % a year, more than double the decline experienced elsewhere in the country. Current fisheries policies for the area have failed to improve the situation but not research has been done to find out why. Are the policies poorly designed? or have they not been adequately enforced? this report attempts to fill this information gap about the reasons for policy failure. Drawing on data from secondary sources and an original survey, it uses a bioeconomic model to simulate the effects of changes in the enforcement levels of three current policies: ban on electric shiners, fish cage regulation, and regulation of both electric shiners and fish cages. Investments of the government on different levels of enforcement were assessed using benefit cost analysis. The report assesses the effects of enforcing current fisheries policies more stringently. It find that a substantial investment (PHP 614,000 per year) would be required to ensure compliance with regulations and that the benefits of achieving high levels of compliance would exceed costs by only a tiny margin. The situation would be transformed into one in which large and perhaps increasing numbers of people would continue to fish, expending larger amounts of effort to comply with various gear restrictions but, in all likelihood, harvesting no fewer fish. Because the bay is already overfished, catch per unit effort and marginal productivity would decrease. Any additional fishing effort in the bay will result in a decrease in the average catch of all fishermen. Enforcement of current policies will not address the underlying problems of open access and the overfishing it leads to. One policy to deal with the problems of open access and overfishing is to set a limit on the total number of fish that can be caught and divided this quota among Lamon Bay's fishermen. Over time, the total allowable catch might be reduced. (The easiest way to make the initial reductions would be to revoke the permits of fishermen who contravene fishing regulations, e.g. regarding permissible catch size or seasons). To allow flexibility, the quotas allocated to individual fishers might be tradeable. This system of individual tradeable quotas or permits has been very successful in New Zealand. The typical Lamon bay fisherman lies below the poverty level, has almost no secondary source of income and finds his household members willing but unable to obtain work. Efforts to reduce overfishing in the bay should therefore be complemented with measures to promote alternative sustainable livelihoods.
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  • Campos, Maria Rebecca, Blanquita Pantoja, Nerlita Manalili, Marideth Bravo. 2004. Economic Evaluation of Fisheries Policies in Lamon Bay, Philippines. Peer Review: No. In: Proceedings of the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, July 20-30, 2004, Tokyo, Japan: What are Responsible Fisheries? Compiled by Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, Corvallis, Oregon, USA, 2004. CD ROM. ISBN 0-9763432-0-7
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