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Fisheries Enforcement: Basic Theory Public Deposited

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  • If fisheries management is supposed to affect behaviour, it has to be enforced. Fisheries enforcement has generally been found to be quite costly compared to the attainable rents from the fishery. This has a number of important implications. First, obviously, it is economically important to operate the enforcement activity at or close to the optimal level. Second, due to enforcement costs, it may not be optimal to seek full compliance to management measures. Third, a sensible choice of fisheries management systems as well as fisheries management measures within given fisheries management systems must take account of the associated enforcement costs. Thus, management systems or measures that appear promising when the enforcement aspect is omitted from the analysis may well turn out to be severely wanting when the necessary enforcement activity is included. This paper is concerned with these problems. To lay a proper foundation for dealing with them, the paper begins by setting out certain basic elements of the theory of fisheries enforcement. On this basis, the fishers’ behaviour under enforcement, the so-called enforcement response function can be derived. This defines the fishers’ actions, e.g. catch levels, as a function of the enforcement effort and the level of penalties. Compliance is then given as the difference between the real actions and the targeted action. Given costly enforcement, obviously full compliance is generally not optimal. At the same time, fisheries management is essentially transferred from setting targets, e.g. a TAC, to deciding on the level of enforcement. Indeed, as far as published targets are concerned, the main thing is to make them more binding than what is actually aimed at. The paper goes on to discuss how the practicalities of setting the optimal level of enforcement in real fisheries on the basis of empirical data.
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  • Arnason, Ragnar. 2006. Fisheries Enforcement: Basic Theory. 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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  • The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Marine Fisheries Service, United States Department of Commerce (NOAA Fisheries); United Kingdom Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA); The United States Agency for International Development supported Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Support Program (ACRSP).
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