Chapter 6: The Catch in Trading Fishing Access for Foreign Aid
6. The catch in trading ﬁshing access for foreign aid1 In Chapter 3 it was argued that an appropriate ﬁshery management policy for some governments (including the Paciﬁc islands) might be to focus on maximizing resource rents derived from access fees from both distant water fishing nations and local ﬁshing nations, and re-orienting government spending of the revenue into indirect support of the domestic market. Such indirect support might include governance, institutional strengthening, broad policy change and investment in education and health – initiatives to encourage an overall economic climate conducive to private investment. This advice has been criticized by ﬁshery managers in the Paciﬁc islands region for three main reasons. First, the pressing need for job creation has led to the exchange of cheap (or free) ﬁshery access for domestically-based activities. Second, frustration at what has been perceived to be the use of access fees for wasteful consumption expenditure and poor quality investments has led some fishery advocates to require some of the returns to be spent in the industry, perhaps through subsidizing 117 118 Institutional economics and ﬁsheries management domestically-based ﬁshing activity (this issue was addressed in Chapter 5). Third, the Paciﬁc island countries depend heavily on bilateral aid provided by distant water ﬁshing nations in exchange for cheap access. The purpose of this chapter is to address the last of these criticisms. It is argued that subsidizing access to fishing grounds in exchange for aid is detrimental for any economy, as it decreases the transparency...
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