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Free Content Fish Aggregating Devices and Open-Access Commercial Fisheries: A Theoretical Inquiry

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This paper explores the economic consequences of deploying fish aggregating devices (FADs) in developed open-access or common-property commercial fisheries. The objective is to understand how FAD installation can be expected to influence sustained gross revenues (sustained harvests), employment and fishermen's profits over the long run. A mathematical bioeconomic model is presented which illuminates the biological interdependence between fishing which occurs at FAD locations and fishing that is directed at a background fish stock. Two models of biological interaction are considered. Model A assumes that high levels of FAD fishing effort will not reduce the biological productivity of the underlying fish stock. In Model B, this assumption is relaxed. Results of both models suggest that if harvesting effort in the FAD fishery is unregulated, installation of FAD networks will not generally increase fishermen's aggregate profit position. Furthermore, depending on relative productivity and cost of effort in the FAD and non-FAD fishery, deployment of FADs may generate unintended results: decreases in employment, harvest levels, and sustained gross revenues. Potential problems are especially acute when FAD fishing effort is low cost and efficient, and FADs are effective at aggregating fish. These findings point to the need for managing levels of commercial fishing effort at FAD locations. Limited entry schemes, licensing and user fees are discussed as possible management options.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 1985

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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