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Virtual Populations: A New Arrow in The Quiver of Rights-Based Fishing

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  • Quota management systems (QMS) provide faith-based incentives for individual quota holders to conserve the resource voluntarily; quota holders expect the system to work and to be enforced and their expectations are usually realized despite imperfect incentives and significant enforcement burdens. Even with QMS there is never an individual incentive to invest in conservation by harvesting less than the quota. Fish are mobile in varying degrees and fishers do no have their own growth function as does the hypothetical sole owner made famous by Gordon's paper (Gordon, 1954). To provide incentives for voluntary conservation, "Virtual Population Units" (VPUs) can be used. An economic agent (individual, port, region etc) is given exclusive right to manage its own virtual population. However, the suggested harvest levels (quotas under a QMS) next year will be based not on behavior of others, but on how that VPU managed the virtual population to which it has exclusive access rights. In this paper we apply a VPU regime to the Atlantic herring fishery in New England to illustrate numerically how multiple VPUs as economic agents might rationally allocate their efforts to optimize the present value of own profits and to measure the discrepancies form a sole owner solution.
  • Keywords: Theoretical and Empirical Bio-Economic Analysis, Fisheries Economics, Virtual Population, decentralized management, Rights-based fishing
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  • Lee, Jungsam, John M.Gates. 2004. Virtual Populations: A New Arrow in The Quiver of Rights-Based Fishing. 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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