2.0 80 1.5 60
decked vessels (number) catch per vessel (tons)
catch per vessel (tons); catch per unit capacity (tons)
Globally, capture fisheries added $80 billion in gross value and provided direct and indirect employment to more than 120 million people in 2004 (World Bank and FAO 2009). But because fish are mobile, marine capture fisheries are very difficult to manage: only a handful of fisheries are being managed reasonably efficiently. The open access nature of capture fisheries has led to overcapitalization, rent loss,
FIGURE 5.1 Current ﬁshery practices are not sustainable (productivity of global fishing fleet, 1970–2005)
Extractable renewable resources (capture fisheries, natural forests, soil, and water) are often, though not always, common property resources—goods from which it is difficult to exclude potential users, whose consumption precludes consumption by others. The inability to exclude users often leads these resources to be managed under open access property rights regimes, under which no economic returns or rents accrue to the scarce natural capital. Under such a scenario, more factors of production are employed in the extraction of the resource than is efficient, and more of the resource is extracted, accelerating its depletion. If property rights were established, total output would increase (perhaps after a lag during which the resource regenerates itself), and rents would accrue to the scarce natural resource. Some factors of production, such as labor, could, however, be worse off once property rights were established, unless the rents were redistributed (Weitzman 1974). The fact that establishment of property rights can reduce the returns to labor may explain the resistance to introducing such rights. These potential losses should be weighed against enhanced productivity, which can improve overall economic welfare and, with a supportive policy environment, can enhance opportunities for moving up the value chain (by shifting from extraction alone to downstream processing), providing new job opportunities.
and overexploitation. Because of a shrinking resource base, the growing number of fishers and fishing overcapacity, the catch per fisher and per vessel has been declining globally— despite significant technological change and investments in vessel capacity (figure 5.1). The prevalence of subsidies has reduced the cost of fishing below its economic cost and has contributed both to overfishing and resource depletion and to the economic waste associated with overcapacity (World Bank and FAO 2009). The good news is that well-managed fisheries could accrue rents as high as $50 billion (World Bank and FAO 2009), which could be used to build wealth or increase productivity. Establishing property rights would help unlock the potential economic value of fi sheries. But defi ning and enforcing these rights remains a challenge. Highsea capture fi sheries (beyond the exclusive economic zone) are dominated by large commercial vessels, which are often largely unregulated, overcapitalized through subsidies, or both.4 For their part, inshore capture fisheries have long been used as a safety net
number of decked vessels (millions); fleet capacity index (fishing power)
Extractable renewable resources: Deﬁning property rights and moving up the value chain
fleet capacity index (fishing power) catch per unit capacity (tons)
Source: World Bank and FAO 2009. Note: The ﬂeet capacity index is the relationship between the capacity of a ﬁshing ﬂeet to catch a particular quantity of ﬁsh and the quantity of ﬁsh it actually catches.
Published on May 23, 2012
Published on May 23, 2012
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