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Model Specification and Policy Analysis: The Governance of Coastal Fisheries

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Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Author: Schlager, Edella
Date: 1990
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/3558
Sector: Fisheries
Subject(s): fisheries--models
water resources
common pool resources
policy analysis
Abstract: "Coastal fisheries are often governed by institutional arrangements, devised by fishers, that limit who can enter fisheries and how harvesting of fish must be conducted. In this dissertation I present an analysis and explanation of these institutional arrangements. This explanation is based on data from case studies of many different coastal fisheries located throughout the world. Using an institutional analysis approach, I examine the problematic situations fishers confront. These involve problems related to the flows of fish through fishing grounds, or stock externalities; and problems related to the physical space constituting fishing grounds, such as assignment problems and technological externalities. I also explain and examine the types of problematic situations fishers attempt to resolve by cooperating to devise property rights and rules to govern the utilization of their fishing grounds. Fishers typically focus upon governing the physical space of their grounds as opposed to managing the flows of fish. Finally, I evaluate the performance of different institutional arrangements, and how performance varies depending upon how the arrangements are structured. Groups of fishers that possess more complete sets of property rights in their fishing grounds, and who have devised rules defining the harvesting actions they can take, typically achieve superior outcomes to those fishers who do not have as well defined institutional arrangements. An institutional analysis approach to fisheries differs significantly from the standard approach used by policy analysts. The bionomic model is based on the assumption that fisheries are 'common property,' meaning that no institutional arrangements exist to limit access or regulate harvesting activities. In addition, the model presumes a single problematic situation, that of stock externalities, and fails to recognize significant problems arising in relation to multiple fishers interacting within the limited space of fishing grounds. As a consequence, policies based on the bionomic model, and developed for open access, unregulated situations have failed when applied to coastal fisheries where institutions already exist, and the institutional arrangements devised by fishers have, in some cases, been seriously harmed by the imposition of these policies."

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