The Invisible Herring: Adam Smith and the Reform of British Fishery Subsidies, 1785-1825 Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/conference_proceedings_or_journals/zp38wf483

Suggested Bibliographic Reference: Challenging New Frontiers in the Global Seafood Sector: Proceedings of the Eighteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, July 11-15, 2016. Compiled by Stefani J. Evers and Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2016.

Proceedings of the Eighteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, held July 11-15, 2016 at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Center (AECC), Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.

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  • In late 18th century Britain, Adam Smith was the most influential thinker and writer to offer policy advice on fishery subsidies.  In The Wealth of Nations, Smith scoffed at the so-called white herring bounties. He used data from 1771-1781 to argue that the bounties had raised the price of locally-caught herring and that large, offshore vessels were being built to catch subsidies not herring. The Northern Enlightenment, however, occurred while North Sea herring (Clupea harengus Linnaeus 1758) showed every sign of being inexhaustible and a resource upon which political empires could still be built and defended. The British Parliament was certain the bounties would repatriate from the Dutch a lucrative herring export fishery and employ restive Highlanders in a nation-building, seafaring trade. In the grand tradition of reinventing the economic thought of Adam Smith to fit contemporary needs and politics, this paper suggests that the parliamentary reform of herring subsidies that Smith inspired achieved it goals, establishing Smith as the father of subsidy reform whose ghost can offer lessons for our age of IUU fishing, transnational, criminal syndicates, and collapsing fish stocks.
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  • 0976343290

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