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Effects of Global Fisheries on Developing Countries: Possibilities for Income and Threat of Depletion

  • Eggert, Håkan
  • Greaker, Mads

This study deals with fisheries and trade, focusing on developing countries. Fish is globally traded, and for many developing countries, it is an important net export good. In most of these countries, fisheries are often characterized by poorly defined property rights, accompanied by overcapitalization where too many vessels and fishermen catch too few fish from too small stocks. Management is often de facto open access, where vessels with or without permission to fish land as much as they can catch due to limited monitoring and enforcement activities. Even in developed countries, many fisheries are poorly managed, and recent studies indicate that marine ecosystems are in global decline. While trade generally is beneficial for growth and welfare, the combination of pure open access and trade liberalization may both reduce welfare and stocks for a country—an outcome that can be reinforced by the common use of bad subsidies. However, trade liberalization may have an additional positive impact by promoting the development of property rights in response to increased fish exploitation. The WTO can play a role by adopting a broader classification of subsidies to help eliminate bad subsidies, such as public support of vessel construction, fuel subsidies, or fishing rights outside developing coastal countries provided at limited or zero cost. The WTO can also assist by distinguishing good subsidies (e.g., improving fisheries management or improving monitoring and enforcement), which are desirable targets when rich countries allocate aid resource to developing countries.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-10-09-02-efd.

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Date of creation: 15 Feb 2009
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-10-09-02-efd
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  1. Karp, Larry & Sacheti, Sandeep & Zhao, Jinhua, 2001. "Common Ground between Free-Traders and Environmentalists," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(3), pages 617-47, August.
  2. Anderson, Kym & Martin, Will & van der Mensbrugghe, Dominique, 2006. "Doha merchandise trade reform : what's at stake for developing countries ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3848, The World Bank.
  3. Eggert, Hakan & Lokina, Razack B., 2008. "Regulatory Compliance in Lake Victoria Fisheries," Discussion Papers dp-08-14-efd, Resources For the Future.
  4. Weninger, Quinn & McConnell, K. E., 2000. "Buyback Programs in Commercial Fisheries: Efficiency Versus Transfers," Staff General Research Papers 1834, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 2009. "Trade, Tragedy, and the Commons," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 725-49, June.
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  8. R. Quentin Grafton & Ragnar Arnason & Trond Bjorndal & David Campbell & Harry F. Campbell & Colin W. Clark & Robin Connor & Diane P. Dupont & Rognvaldur Hannesson & Ray Hilborn & James E. Kirkley & To, 2005. "Incentive-based approaches to sustainable fisheries," Economics and Environment Network Working Papers 0508, Australian National University, Economics and Environment Network.
  9. Holland, Dan & Gudmundsson, Eyjolfur & Gates, John, 1999. "Do fishing vessel buyback programs work: A survey of the evidence," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 47-69, January.
  10. William R. Cline, 2004. "Trade Policy and Global Poverty," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 379, March.
  11. Erwin Bulte & Edward Barbier, 2005. "Trade and Renewable Resources in a Second Best World: An Overview," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 30(4), pages 423-463, 04.
  12. James A. Brander & M. Scott Taylor, 1995. "International Trade and Open Access Renewable Resources: The Small Open Economy Case," NBER Working Papers 5021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Clark, Colin W. & Munro, Gordon R. & Sumaila, Ussif Rashid, 2005. "Subsidies, buybacks, and sustainable fisheries," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 47-58, July.
  14. U. Sumaila & Ahmed Khan & Andrew Dyck & Reg Watson & Gordon Munro & Peter Tydemers & Daniel Pauly, 2010. "A bottom-up re-estimation of global fisheries subsidies," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 201-225, October.
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