Fisheries Economics & Policy: A Closer Look at Fisheries

Fisheries Economics & Policy: A Closer Look at Fisheries


in this video we’re going to try to build a bigger picture of Fisheries today to get an idea of the problems they face ok previously we looked at the relationship between effort and economic rent when the stock of fish is fished by one person they try to maximize their own profit and actually end up utilizing the fish stock efficiently the more productive the stock is the better off they are so they never fish past the point where the fish’s growth rate Falls because of low population even if their costs were zero but in open access open access meaning anyone is allowed to fish and there’s no rules regarding how much or just that those rules are not well enforced a group will end up fishing till the total revenue equals the total costs the problem with this is well a long time ago this graph may have looked more like this the technology was less advanced making fishing more expensive also the demand for fish was lower the open access situation didn’t optimize rent but the populations were still high today the demand is so high and technology has become so advanced that fishing has become relatively cheap and the open access can lead to not only these lower profits for fishermen but fish populations becoming economically extinct and fishermen becoming completely out of work putting effort in past the maximum economic yield doesn’t optimize the economic rent fishing past the maximum sustainable yield damages the fish stock and doesn’t even maximize revenue allowing open access is just dangerous and leaves the stock vulnerable to collapse unfortunately this seems to happen a lot as has been seen in the Grand Banks the southern tuna New England ground fish Northwest Atlantic haddock Atlantic salmon New Zealand orange roughy Chilean jack mackerel Japanese pilchard South American pilchard and others here’s a graph for all the fish caught everywhere excluding farming which seems to have picked up the slack but those farms are often fed with food stuff from the land the wild captures seem to have leveled off on average why have overall caches stagnated it might be partly because of that relationship we talked about in a previous video where effort is increasing but fish caches are not remember this is the fishermen putting in more effort to find the hiding fish their catch per unit effort is decreasing so maybe the world’s catches are a maxi version of this rule or maybe it’s from when one species population goes down the population of their food increases like when the catch of Atlantic cod declined the catches of their price know crab and shrimp increased it’s what they call fishing down the food chain this phenomena may seem good for some fishermen but I think it’s better to get those top predators that tend to be more valuable and more tasty and this isn’t really a sign of a healthy ecosystem but maybe this graph has leveled off from relationships like that or maybe the fishermen just keep finding new stocks of fish but these big graphs can only communicate so much there is a lot of diversity between fisheries some fishing is hunting pelagic fish like tuna that lived nearer the surface and swim around a lot other fish are demersal like cod and Pollock that hang around on the bottom there’s invertebrates like crabs and lobsters and there’s really big things mammals like whales and dolphins some stocks can be fished by one community and others like tuna by many countries most fish cod is used for food but a good amount is used for animal feeds or for fish oils anyways the point is each fishery is going to have different sources of conflict depending on how they run and who has vested interests and the way they run there’s the fishermen and processors who can make money by caching processing and selling fish they are motivated by the desire to eat and earn a living there’s the fishing towns and communities where they come from whose livelihoods depend on a steady stream of money coming in from the fisheries there’s biologists monitors and economists who can give advice on what the population is and how it’s affected by fishing there’s consumers who want to eat fish and don’t want the fish to go extinct so they can keep eating fish without guilt there are conservation groups and environmentalists who want the fish population to remain at some sustainable level and they don’t want any fish population to go extinct and there’s government people who may be in a position to help regulate activity by passing laws and giving taxes or subsidies whenever these people have different or incompatible goals you get conflict but in the end the most successful fisheries will be the ones where all these people are on the same page working towards the same goals let’s say our goal is let’s start small a healthy fish stock because that is where the value comes from the more productive the fish are kept the happier the fishermen the environmentalists the government and everyone else can be beyond the open access problem that we looked at in the previous videos fishing industries have some other problems standing in the way of our goal first off it’s really difficult to know how many fish there are okay here’s how counting the number of trees in a forest works you find out the size of the forest you know after you’ve decided what counts as a forest and what counts as a tree I mean does a sapling count as a whole tree then you start counting you don’t count all of them because depending on the size of the forest that can take a really long time and be really expensive so you count various sections ideally random plots throughout then you sort of assume the rest of the forest is similar and come up with an estimated number you don’t know what it is for sure so it’ll be some sort of a range now imagine you don’t know the size of the forests or how many forests there are the trees are invisible and under a bunch of water salt water which is the worst kind of water the trees move around and their population is constantly changing from climate predator-prey relations and humans taking large amounts of them out of the water well sometimes trying to hide that they’re doing so and if monitoring is government funded when money needs to be cut from a government’s budget it’s often first from environmental concerns or economic assessments and even with a semi-decent estimation governments are constantly under pressure from the fishermen to raise the quotas because historically fishing hasn’t been something that gets a ton of regulation fishermen dislike being regulated unless if they can see that they’re gonna benefit from it but today regulation typically means fishing less which means some of them are gonna lose their jobs another problem along these lines fishing is sometimes seen by fishermen governments environmentalists and communities as some sort of fundamental human right and there’s often opposition to instating property rights over the ocean or its resources but you know it sounds romantic it’s a very inspiring notion but in practice this is just describing an open-access situation where anyone can use it and from the model we’ve been building up till now we know this can lead to an unhealthy fish stock fishing as a free fundamental human right today means fish populations struggle or fail and then counter-intuitively all these people are worse off if they treat it like a free resource along with these problems is governments wanting to support the fishing industry with subsidies this is what we’ll be covering in the next video the problem is the government wants to support the fishermen when their catches are give them some assistance but passing money to fishermen can give them the incentive to fish more which ends up being the opposite of what the government should be aiming for

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