Fisheries Management


Fisheries ITQs in Argentina

Mar del Plata

The small-scale rada o ria fleet in Mar del Plata, Argentina

My dissertation research addresses the principal research question:

How do configurations of natural resource rights-based management influence economic, social, and ecological outcomes in a developing country context?

The proposed research is motivated by current trends to evaluate the economic performance of ITQs and critically analyze how rights-based management design influences trade-offs between social equity and economic efficiency objectives.

In fisheries management, regulated, open-access fisheries are characterized by dissipated rents and shortened seasons due to over-capitalization of fishery capital and the “race-to-fish,” where fishers seek to capture as much as much of the total quota of the fishery before it is closed. While command-and-control regulations such as input restrictions and total allowable catch (TAC) are designed by fisheries managers to achieve biological goals, rights-based management regimes, often in the form of individual tradable quotas (ITQs), are market-based approaches that secure economic rents through fleet consolidation and enhanced production efficiency. An ITQ is an allocation of a proportion of the total allowable fishery catch for a commercial fishery stock. This allows fishers to buy and sell the right to catch a specified quantity of fish, incentivizing them to protect the resource share as their own.

Over 10% of the global seafood harvest is managed under ITQs, a trend that is likely to continue to grow. Assessing how ITQ programs are designed to accomplish distinct objectives, and to what extent these are achieved, is an important research undertaking for enhancing food security and fisheries sustainability worldwide.

In Latin America, about half of the total coastline is concentrated in five states and significant fishery stocks are found in Peru, Chile, Mexico, and Argentina. All four of these countries feature rights-based fisheries management regimes. Argentina is increasingly exporting seafood products and is an important contributor to global hake, squid, and shrimp seafood markets.

While ITQ regimes are relatively well-understood and studied in Chile, Mexico, and Peru, only one study analyzes the ITQ regime in Argentina. Nonetheless, ITQ management of Argentine fisheries presents an interesting case because it can lend insight to common pool resource management in emerging economies in Latin America.

Stefanski, S. “The New Fisheries Catch Shares Program in Argentina: Balancing Efficiency and Equity Objectives in Rights-Based Management Systems.” NAAFE Forum, La Paz, Southern Baja California, Mexico, March 22-24 2017.

Cross-scale exploitation patterns and marine population collapse in international seafood markets

 In this SESYNC Graduate Pursuit, our interdisciplinary team of natural resource economists, fishery scientists, and geographers will systematically test hypothesized patterns of fisheries stock status and international markets using paired comparative analysis of fisheries in two global databases (RAM Legacy Stock Assessment Database and the FAO Landings Database). We will understand underlying causal mechanisms through a case study in Baja California, Mexico. Our results will provide empirical evidence connecting globalized trade to fisheries status.

Marine Mammal By-Catch in Fisheries

This comprehensive literature review collects data on cases where regulated fisheries in the U.S. compete with unregulated fisheries on the international market. According to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, all seafood imports must adhere to the same standards of marine mammal by-catch reduction as comparable fisheries in the United States. However, this legal provision has never been enforced. I interviewed policymakers, business owners, fishermen, economists, and biologists concerning North Atlantic Right Whale entanglement in the Northeast and the Tuna-Dolphin by-catch problem in the Eastern Tropical Pacific as two case studies to assess the economic and ecological implications of failing to adhere to this provision.

Smith, Z., Gilroy, M., Eisenson, M., Schnettler, E., Stefanski, S. 2014. “Net Loss: The Killing of Marine Mammals in Foreign Fisheries.” NRDC Issue Report R:13-11-B.