Using a two-stage harvesting game, I model the political and economic incentives to overfish in a regulated, restricted access common property fishery with income supplements. As variable fishing effort is regulated and effort caps appear to be binding, I argue that social choice of political lobbying effort becomes the principal choice variable by which commercial fishermen continue to press for additional fishing opportunities relative to the regulator’s desired catch target.
The model helps explain recent fish stock collapses. The analysis also questions the appropriateness of continuing the fishing category of Canadian employment insurance as the regulator embraces a precautionary, risk averse approach to fisheries management.
Keywords: Bioeconomic modelling, Common property, Rent-seeking, Fishery regulations, Bio-diversity, Canada.
Poole, E. Income Subsidies and Incentives to Overfish. 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.