An Elemental Basis of Property Rights to Marine Fishery Resources
Among the questions that ecosystem-based management raises for economists
is how to partition uses of the many biological, chemical and physical
attributes of marine ecosystems into sets of property rights that undergird
total ocean wealth. An elemental basis of property rights for fisheries
involves the interplay between ecological and technological interactions,
including side-effects (externalities), and transaction costs. Fisheries
management typically divides ownership by species. Divided ownership is
efficient where production requires specialized skills and technologies
and/or where interactions are negligible. When damages caused by side-effects
are substantial, divided ownership might be used either by attenuating
(e.g., gear restrictions) or excluding (e.g., zoning) a subset of attribute
rights, provided that the opportunity (reduced output) and transaction
costs of restrictions/exclusions are less than damages in their absence.
However, uncertainty about resource dynamics, the recurrent nature of
interactions, the complexity of numerous contractual stipulations owing
to multi-attribute resources, and practical enforcement problems make
it likely that the transaction costs of divided ownership are great at
this time. Alternatively, property rights could be bundled into sets wherein
tradeoffs across margins which promote the total wealth of a multi-attribute,
common pool asset would be decided internally by a governance organization.
Bundled sets of property rights influence the choice of organizational
structures (government agency, commons, unitization of firms) and contracts
(fishery management plans, rules, private contracts). The discussion is
illustrated with examples from U.S. fisheries in the Northeast Region.
here for paper)
Source: Edwards, S.F. 2000. “An elemental basis of property rights
to marine fishery resources.” In: Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial
Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries
Economics & Trade:
Macrobehavior and Macroresults, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon. Corvallis,
OR: International Institute for Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET).
For more information, please contact: Steve.Edwards@noaa.gov