Institutional Economics and Fisheries Management

Institutional Economics and Fisheries Management

The Case of Pacific Tuna

Elizabeth H. Petersen

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.

Introduction

Elizabeth H. Petersen

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics, management natural resources

Extract

Over the last two or three decades, economists and other social scientists have given increasing attention to institutions, defined as humanlydevised rules, as critical determinants of economic, social and political growth and development. Economic institutions, defined as rules that govern economic behaviour, have been dramatically reformed over this time period. Globally, some of these reforms include the collapse of communism in eastern Europe, the growth of institutions for market capitalism in China, Vietnam and other communist states, the influence of the World Trade Organization in multilaterally reducing barriers to trade, the rise of regional trade agreements and the freeing up of world capital markets. Economic institutions for the governance of natural resources have also experienced dramatic reforms. Such reform has often been stimulated by increased competition for resource access and exploitation, leading to emerging resource scarcity. This scarcity has prompted managers to focus on strengthening private property rights and relying on markets for allocating and adjusting these rights amongst potential users. The increased focus on individual transferable quotas (ITQs) is evidence xi xii Institutional economics and fisheries management of this. Globally, this push towards strengthening property rights for fishery resources has led to the formation of a number of agreements and laws such as the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 2001 United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement. While economic institutions for fisheries governance is still evolving, there is still a strong need for continued reform, as evidenced by the vast body of...