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.

Chapter 2: The Western and Central Pacific Tuna Fishery

Elizabeth H. Petersen

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


2. The Western and Central Pacific tuna fishery1 The Pacific Ocean spans more than a third of the earth’s surface and half of the earth’s sea surface: an expanse of 180 million square kilometres. Scattered in the Western and Central part of the Pacific Ocean are the 200 high islands and 2,500 low islands and atolls that comprise the 22 countries and territories of the Pacific islands (Figure 2.1). Of these 22, there are fourteen independent or self-governing countries, and eight territories of France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The former include the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The territories include three dependencies of France (French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Wallis and Futuna), three of the United States of America (American Samoa, Guam and Northern Mariana Islands), and one each of Great Britain (Pitcairn Island) and New Zealand (Tokelau). All these Pacific island countries and territories are members of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (formerly the South Pacific Commission).2 With the exceptions of Papua New 23 120E 160E Tropic of Cancer 140E Hawaii Wake Johnston Marshall Islands Palmyra Kiribati Nauru Phoenix Solomon Is Tuvalu Funafuti Tokelau Î 180 140W 160W 120W 20N Minami Tori Shima Northern Marianas 20N Guam Federated States of Micronesia Palau Howland & Baker Jarvis Line Islands EQ Papua New Guinea EQ Buru 24 Î 20S Cook...

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