Fisheries Rents: Theoretical Basis and an Example Public Deposited

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  • The concept of natural resource rents is much used in the natural resource and fisheries economics literature. It is therefore somewhat surprising that in this same literature it is difficult to find a clear definition of either natural resource rents or fisheries rents. Possibly, as a result, the concept is often loosely employed and in some texts it appears to be taken to be virtually synonymous with profits. This paper begins by attempting to provide a definition of the concept of natural resource rents in general and fisheries rents in particular that is both unambiguous and in conformance with the more traditional concept of economic rents as originally proposed by D. Ricardo in the early 19th century. On this basis, the paper goes on to elucidate the properties of the fisheries rents function and how it depends on the rate of harvesting, stock level and, indeed, fisheries management. With the theory clarified, the paper discusses the practicalities of estimating resource rents on the basis of empirical data and what steps need to be taken in order to obtain such estimates. The estimation of rent loss, since it unavoidably compares actual rents with potential ones both of which typically evolve over time, poses a different set of problems. These are discussed in the paper and options suggested. Finally, mainly for illustrative purposes, the global ocean fishery is used as an example of the estimation of rent loss in fisheries.
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  • Arnason, Ragnar. 2006. Fisheries Rents: Theoretical Basis and an Example. In: Proceedings of the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, July 11-14, 2006, Portsmouth, UK: Rebuilding Fisheries in an Uncertain Environment. Compiled by Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, Corvallis, Oregon, USA, 2006. CD ROM. ISBN 0-9763432-3-1
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