The economics of ending Canada's commercial harp seal hunt
AbstractThe roots of the Canadian harp seal hunt can be traced to the 16th Century. But in the mid-20th century, opposition to the commercial hunt became widespread after television images of seal pups being killed with clubs on the pack ice off the coast of Newfoundland were broadcast around the world. International conservation groups, animal welfare groups, animal rights groups, and foreign governments have been calling for the Canadian government to end the commercial seal hunt on the grounds that it is inhumane and that harvest levels are unsustainable. The Canadian government defends the traditional practices of hunting harp seals, argues that seal pelts are an important source of income for sealers, and insists that the killing methods are humane and that harvest levels are sustainable. Emotions run high on both sides of the debate. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate whether or not there is a purely economic argument for ending Canada's commercial seal hunt. The paper finds that the benefits of ending the commercial hunt exceed the costs, but not unequivocally. However, the paper argues there should be a higher criterion--the Pareto criterion--for ending the commercial hunt; that is the hunt should end only if winners compensate the losers. The paper goes on to argue that an effective way to satisfy this criterion is to introduce a system of individual transferable quotas (ITQs) and let the market reveal the value of the commercial seal hunt. In addition to many other advantages such as improving the safety and efficiency of the hunt, the ITQ market could provide a mechanism by which those willing to pay to end the hunt could do so directly to sealers thereby ensuring that the hunt is scaled back or ultimately ended only when it is economically efficient and unambiguously welfare-improving.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Marine Policy.
Volume (Year): 34 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/marpol
Seal hunt Common property Economic efficiency Individual transferable quotas;
Other versions of this item:
- John Livernois, 2009. "The Economics of Ending Canada’s Commercial Harp Seal Hunt," Working Papers 0903, University of Guelph, Department of Economics.
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statistics
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wendy Shamier).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.