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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. 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.
  2. Kym Anderson & Will Martin & Dominique van der Mensbrugghe, 2006. "Doha Merchandise Trade Reform: What Is at Stake for Developing Countries?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 20(2), pages 169-195.
  3. Bulte, E.H. & Barbier, E., 2005. "Trade and renewable resources in a second best world : An overview," Other publications TiSEM b32c301d-ca5d-47bb-ae5a-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  4. 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.
  5. Roland Ismer & Karsten Neuhoff, 2007. "Border tax adjustment: a feasible way to support stringent emission trading," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 137-164, October.
  6. 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.
  7. Zhao, Jinhua & Karp, Larry & Sacheti, Sandeep, 2001. "Common Ground Between Free-Traders and Environmentalists," Staff General Research Papers 5138, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  8. William R. Cline, 2004. "Trade Policy and Global Poverty," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 379, May.
  9. Eggert, Håkan & Lokina, Razack B., 2010. "Regulatory compliance in Lake Victoria fisheries," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(02), pages 197-217, April.
  10. James A. Brander & M. Scott Taylor, 1997. "International Trade and Open-Access Renewable Resources: The Small Open Economy Case," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(3), pages 526-52, August.
  11. Grafton, Quentin R. & Arnason, Ragnar & Bjorndal, Trond & Campbell, David & Campbell, Harry F. & Clark, Colin W. & Connor, Robin & Dupont, Diane P. & Hannesson, Rognvaldur & Hillborn, Ray & Kirkley, J, 2006. "Incentive-Based Approaches to Sustainable Fisheries," Staff General Research Papers 12766, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  12. Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 2004. "Trade, Tragedy, and the Commons," NBER Working Papers 10836, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. Thomas W. Hertel & L. Alan Winters, 2006. "Poverty and the WTO : Impacts of the Doha Development Agenda," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7411.
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