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Cooperative Management of Trans-Boundary Fish Stocks: Implications for Tropical Tuna Management in the Pacific Island Region Public Deposited

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Suggested Bibliographic Reference: NAAFE Forum 2017 Proceedings, March 22-24, 2017. Compiled by Ann L. Shriver with assistance from Stefani Evers. North American Association of Fisheries Economists (NAAFE), Corvallis, 2017.


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  • The trans-boundary migration of fish stocks creates spatial externalities, and hence, makes international cooperation beneficial. This study provides a model for the management of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks and examines the relationship between fish migrations and the benefits from cooperation. Previous studies on trans-boundary fish stock management have focused on seasonal migrations of fish stocks.  Instead, this study focuses on non-seasonal movements of fish. In addition, the model presented in this paper takes stock leakages from exclusive economic zones to international waters into consideration. These two model features are applicable to the tuna fisheries in the Pacific island region, where the countries' exclusive economic zones are surrounded by international waters. The study confirms that cooperation is beneficial when fish migrate. The study finds that leakages of stocks to international waters reduce the surplus gained from cooperative management. For a given stock leakage level, the surplus gain from cooperation increases with an increase in the gap between the two countries' fish migration rates. Under the Nash-bargaining rule, the surplus is gained equally between the two cooperating countries. In contrast, under the rule based on stock distribution, the country with higher migration rates gains more from cooperation. The study suggests a positive relationship between the optimal price of a fishing license and stocks. This implies possible large income loss for some Pacific island countries from predicted climate change impacts on tuna distribution in the Western and Central Pacific.
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