Current Institutional Affiliation
Department Chair and Proessor, Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, University of Rhode Island

Award Information

Abe Fellowship 2015
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Associate Professor, Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, University of Rhode Island
Quota-based management for small-scale coastal fisheries: Towards better management of marine resources while preserving fishing communities

Fisheries around the world is still in dire need to better management. While quota-based management such as individual quotas (IQs) have been promoted by researchers, there are skepticism in whether it is applicable to small-scale fisheries in coastal waters, where each operation is small in terms of capital and the financial capacity. In Japan, where many coastal fisheries are struggling with overfishing and low profitability, there is a heated debate over whether IQ system should be implemented. Japanese coastal fisheries are traditionally managed through cooperatives with small-scale fishermen as members. The proposed project will rigorously analyze how an IQ-like management system can be implemented in fisheries characterized by small-scale operators acting collectively, using the methods of experimental economics and detailed in-person interviews of fishermen and local government regulators. My claim is that unless we understand what are the obstacles of implementing the IQ system, the current debate will not yield any meaningful results. The proposed project seeks to do just that with particular focus on the volatility of harvest volume (risk), structure of supply chain of the product, and socioeconomic characteristics of the FCA/fishing communities. This project is extremely policy relevant and timely for Japan, but the lessons learned can go further beyond. As described above, fisheries worldwide and especially those in the developing countries can benefit since their structure of fisheries management is similar to Japanese coastal fisheries. Furthermore, there are fisheries in the US, such as the ones in New England region, that also share similar traits of small-scale operations. The region's groundfish fishery is of particular interest, as it recently implemented a sector allocation system, which essentially is an IQ combined with a cooperative-like fishermen's group called 'sector.' As such, there are much transitional potentials to the findings that can come out from the proposed project.