While overfishing frequently is explained in terms of «the Tragedy of the
Commons» model, it is argued that the economic causes of such long-run resource problems could be more accurately characterised in terms of a «Tragedy of High Prices» due to landings prices exceeding fishing costs at
the socially optimal level of resource use.
In tackling over-exploitation problems, the feasibility and relative efficiency of demand-side measures in attaining management objectives without necessitating introduction of other fishing rights is discussed. Distributional issues associated with using a market mechanism to allocate use rights and potential adoption of demand-side measures within a co-management framework are considered.
Despite apparently desirable properties, solutions based upon demand-side regulation have been much neglected in the literature, and rarely put into practice. Discussion of such systems provides a contribution towards the continuing debate regarding how best to improve fisheries management, to ensure that economic rents are neither purely dissipated, nor simply captured by a first generation of resource users.
Valatin, G. On Demand-side Approaches to Solving the "Tragedy of High Prices" in Fisheries. In: Microbehavior and Macroresults: Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon, USA. Compiled by Richard S. Johnston and Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2001.