Unintended Consequences of a Ban on Illegal Fishing Gear: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Tanzania Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/conference_proceedings_or_journals/s1784m755

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  • Overfishing and the destruction of small-scale fisheries in developing countries — particularly through the use of illegal fishing gear — is a pressing issue. Policymakers and local community leaders often suggest fines and enforcement mechanisms to reduce the use of illegal fishing; however, the response of fishery participants to “bans” on illegal fishing are not well understood, particularly in small-scale fisheries where fishing commons are often governed by local and informal institutions. We use a unique field experiment conducted with local fishers throughout several fishing communities in Tanzania to determine the effect of a hypothetical ban on illegal fishing gear on cooperative fishing behavior. In our experiment, players participate in a dynamic common-pool resource game whereby a group of players “harvest” from a communal bucket of beans. Players have the option of secretively choosing to use illegal harvesting gear, thereby doubling their harvest in a round. In the treatment arm, illegal gear use may be detected and punished by the group; in contrast, there is no threat of being caught or punished in the control arm. We show that the enforcement mechanism actually hurts cooperative fishing behavior as players shift from cooperative harvest strategies to more destructive ones, causing the commons to be depleted faster. One possible explanation is that the ban and subsequent enforcement mechanism crowded out fishers attitudes to sustain the resource for future rounds in the game. The fishers may have been more focused on not using illegal fishing gear than they were with sustaining the resource.
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  • MacColl, Spencer, Yaniv Stopnitzky, and Matt Reimer. 2015. Unintended Consequences of a Ban on Illegal Fishing Gear: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Tanzania. In: Proceedings of the Eighth Biennial Forum of the North American Association of Fisheries Economists, May 20-22, 2015, Ketchikan, Alaska: Economic Sustainability, Fishing Communities and Working Waterfronts. Compiled by Ann L. Shriver and Melissa Errend. North American Association of Fisheries Economists, Corvallis, Oregon, USA, 2015.
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  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2015-11-06T19:09:49Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 Reimer NAAFE 2015.pdf: 3389173 bytes, checksum: 52acaf11e0ffcc4a8ca03ac3e9eb87a7 (MD5) Previous issue date: 2015-05
  • description.provenance : Submitted by Melissa Errend (melissa.errend@gmail.com) on 2015-11-05T17:53:21Z No. of bitstreams: 1 Reimer NAAFE 2015.pdf: 3389173 bytes, checksum: 52acaf11e0ffcc4a8ca03ac3e9eb87a7 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Susan Gilmont(susan.gilmont@orst.edu) on 2015-11-06T19:09:49Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 Reimer NAAFE 2015.pdf: 3389173 bytes, checksum: 52acaf11e0ffcc4a8ca03ac3e9eb87a7 (MD5)

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