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

ng by means of individual fishing quotas, which were not introduced in Sweden until 2009. From 1990 to 2003 productivity increased sharply in Icelandic and Norwegian fisheries, while Swedish productivity growth was low. This was despite the fact that 70% of Swedish fishermen left the industry during the period, compared with half in Norway and none at all in Iceland.

"Icelandic fisheries would thus appear to be more sustainable than its Swedish counterpart," says Eggert. "By sustainable, I mean how well they use resources from a biological and economic perspective."

Eggert's second study looks at six fishermen who jointly received exclusive rights to fish for prawns in the Gullmar fjord marine nature reserve. They were awarded 100 fishing days a year, which they divided equally between themselves. From 2000 to 2007 their income rose dramatically. The price differential between Gullmar prawns and offshore prawns rose from 15% to 75%. At the same time, the Gullmar fishermen had voluntarily increased the mesh size of their nets from the minimum requirement of 35 mm to 45 mm, with the aim of leaving small prawns to grow to optimum size.

"A small informal market also developed, where the fisherman bought and sold fishing days within the group," says Eggert. "As is the case with Icelandic fishing, this example demonstrates the potential of a system of individually transferable fishing quotas to reduce over-capacity in Swedish fishing."

Eggert's research results are also an example of what Elinor Ostrom winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics 2009 has shown, namely that when users themselves get to make the decisions on a shared natural resource, they will choose an approach that is long-term sustainable. This contradicts traditional economic theory, which states that people will choose individual gain over the best interests of the group, and demonstrates that people are both willing and able to work together when it comes to shared resour
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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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