Graduate Project

Stakeholder evaluation of market based approaches towards managing the adverse impacts of commercial fishing on the marine environment

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  • Over fishing, by-catch of non-target fish species, marine mammals, seabirds, and damage to benthic habitats remain serious problems in fisheries management. Management methods based on traditional command and control (CAC) approaches may meet with initial successes yet additional progress is often marginal, requiring managers to implement additional regulations to achieve improvements in environmental performance. Market-based instruments (MBI), particularly in the context of rights-based systems, are relatively new and potentially powerful instruments for addressing environmental externalities in the marine environment, yet few policymakers have embraced or actively experimented with them. A comprehensive literature review, a general survey on perceptions and attitudes, and workshops using policy relevant decision support frameworks were used to understand, educate and assist west coast fishery management participants in evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, and trade offs associated with the potential use of MBI compared to traditional CAC regulations in managing the adverse impacts of fishing on marine ecosystems. Survey results suggest that although there were some differences among the various stakeholder groups, fishery management participants are familiar, receptive and perceive MBI as an effective, potential way to manage the adverse environmental impacts of fishing on the west coast. Workshop results indicate that there was little difference among the diverse stakeholder groups in evaluating the different policy approaches towards managing the adverse environmental impacts of fishing on the west coast. An individual transferable bycatch quota of non-commercial fish species is a market-based policy option that had high criteria satisfaction, while managing the essential fish habitat through market based instruments was ranked low and had high uncertainties. The combination of a structured and participatory decision support system and a comparison of the potentials of MBI relative to traditional CAC regulations should assist policy makers and stakeholders in seeking more creative and effective approaches in managing the environmental impacts of fishing activities.
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