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Institutional Economics and Fisheries Management

The Case of Pacific Tuna Elizabeth H. Petersen, Natural Resource Economist, Advanced Choice Economics Pty Ltd, Research Officer, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Western Australia and Research Associate, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University
Elizabeth H. Petersen argues that economists and other social scientists are increasingly focusing their attention towards institutions (defined as humanly-devised rules) as critical determinants of economic, social and political growth and development. Institutions responsible for the governance of fishery resources have experienced dramatic reforms over the last few decades, stimulated by increased competition for access and exploitation of resources, leading to emerging scarcity of these very resources. This book aims to contribute to the biological and economic sustainability of fish resources worldwide by providing an analysis of fisheries management in the context of new institutional economics.
Extent: 208 pp
Hardback Price: $127.00 Web: $114.30
Publication Date: 2006
ISBN: 978 1 84376 782 4
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Environmental Economics
  • Environment
  • Environmental Economics
  • Management Natural Resources
Elizabeth H. Petersen argues that economists and other social scientists are increasingly focusing their attention towards institutions (defined as humanly-devised rules) as critical determinants of economic, social and political growth and development. Institutions responsible for the governance of fishery resources have experienced dramatic reforms over the last few decades, stimulated by increased competition for access and exploitation of resources, leading to emerging scarcity of these very resources. This book aims to contribute to the biological and economic sustainability of fish resources worldwide by providing an analysis of fisheries management in the context of new institutional economics.

The book’s premise is that sound fisheries management requires a clear definition of policy goals for the fishery, such as long-term biological sustainability and maximization of sustainable economic returns, and the subsequent development of institutions capable of aiding and achieving these policy goals. Without such policies and institutions, the author illustrates, there is likely to be continued resource conflict as well as biological and economic over-exploitation.

This book provides an innovative institutional framework for managing multilateral fisheries and includes suggestions for solving specific fisheries problems, such as managing fishery revenues and trading cheap fisheries access for foreign aid. The book concludes with a discussion of the importance of economic growth and development, as well as broader socio-economic institutions for fisheries. As such, it will be of enormous interest to environmentalists, ecologists, policymakers, scholars and practitioners focusing on fisheries management.
‘I recommend Institutional Economics and Fisheries Management because I am sure readers who are not into new institutional economics will have a nice overview of this area of economics, and those who are, will see the concepts of new institutional economics applied to fisheries in a brilliant manner. Fisheries regulators and managers will find useful ideas to help them do their work better.’
– Ussif Rashid Sumaila, International Journal of Maritime History

‘This interesting and easy to read book does not require extensive technical knowledge to be understood. The many graphs and charts were clear, useful, and informative. I recommend this book to economists, environmentalists, geographers, political scientists, and others interested in economic development and fisheries management.’
– Donald E. Agthe, Journal of the American Water Resources Association

‘Management of large-scale fisheries is failing nearly everywhere, and particularly in the Pacific tuna fishery, the world’s largest tuna resource. Both policymakers and their scientific advisers have to accept blame. This is an important book because it addresses the areas where the scientists and the policymakers are failing. First, it makes the case for the use of the economic concept of maximum economic yield of fisheries in place of the concept of maximum sustainable yield that currently dominates among biologists. This was a battle that was fought and won by economists in agriculture over 30 years ago. Second, the book places the design of management policies for fisheries within the New Institutional Economics (NIE) framework. Petersen shows how the NIE framework can be used to design institutions and policies for fisheries management so that they provide the kinds of incentives that will lead to optimal yields and optimal returns to resource owners and fishers.’
– Ron Duncan, The University of the South Pacific, Fiji Islands

‘The litany of world fishery failures shows that reform of fisheries governance and institutions is essential. The valuable insights and applications in this book will be enormously useful for fishery regulators as they try to sustainably and profitably manage fish stocks, especially highly migratory species such as tuna.’
– Quentin Grafton, Australian National University
Contents: Introduction 1. The New Institutional Economics and Natural Resource Management 2. The Western and Central Pacific Tuna Fishery 3. Getting Fishery Policy Objectives Right 4. Achieving Policy Objectives through Institutional Reform 5. Managing Resource Revenues 6. The Catch in Trading Fishing Access for Foreign Aid 7. The Contribution of Fishery Resources to Economic Development References Index