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Putting a price on sea fish
Date:4/20/2011

Hkan Eggert's studies from Iceland and the Gullmar fjord on the Swedish west coast, reveal that when commercial fishermen are given fishing rights they voluntarily choose more sustainable fishing methods and earn far more. His research at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, demonstrates that over-capacity in the fishing fleet can be reduced.

Transferrable fishing rights were introduced in Sweden as late as 2009, and then only for species such as herring and mackerel. A report from the inquiry into Sweden's new Fishery Conservation Act has recently been out for consultation and paves the way for the introduction of this system for all commercial fishing. Annual vessel quotas for cod fishing in the Baltic Sea were introduced on 1 April this year.

The lack of well defined owners of fishing rights encourages a race to catch fish the world over. Increased trading in fish can also entail a threat, not least to the economies of developing countries. Of course, trade generates income, but it also increases the strain on fish stocks.

A system of catch quotas and fishing rights for groups of commercial fishermen or individuals can work well and contribute to more sustainable and productive fishing, reveals Hkan Eggert's research.

In one of his studies, Eggert compares how well labour, capital and fish stocks have been used in the Swedish, Norwegian and Icelandic fishing industries over a period of 30 years.

"Our hypothesis was that these countries share similar fishing conditions, and that if we looked at labour, capital and fish stocks the differences in the management system would perhaps become evident," says Eggert. "The results show that Iceland, which reformed its fishing in line with economists' recommendation to introduce transferable catch quotas and thus put a price on sea fish, has fared far better in terms of productivity."

Since 1990 Iceland has completely, and Norway has largely, managed national fishi
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Contact: Hkan Eggert
hakan.eggert@economics.gu.se
46-031-786-4175
University of Gothenburg
Source:Eurekalert  

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