Net loss: A cost-benefit analysis of the Canadian Pacific salmon fishery
This article applies cost-benefit analysis to the Canadian Pacific commercial salmon fishery. It demonstrates that government policies to preserve the fishery have resulted in higher net social costs than would have resulted from a "do nothing" policy, notwithstanding the rent dissipation associated with unconstrained resource exploitation. The value of landings and the private costs of the harvest over a cycle (1988-1994) are calculated. On average, fishers extracted rents of C$34.7 million (in constant 1995 Canadian dollars) annually. The public costs of enhancing the resource and organizing and policing the harvest are estimated. When these costs are included in the calculation, net benefits drop to an average of negative C$55.6 million annually. This translates into a net present value (NPV) of the salmon fishery of negative C$784. The effects on NPV of both modest policy changes implemented in 1996-1997 and of a more dramatic but credible fleet rationalization program are provided. The results indicate that further policy change is called for. More generally, the study shows that policy reform that would significantly benefit both the private sector (through reduced rent dissipation) and the public sector (through reduced government expenditures) can be surprisingly difficult. © 2000 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.
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Volume (Year): 19 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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