Research: Fisheries


Do catch-shares end the race to fish and increase ex-vessel prices? (with Anna Birkenbach and Marty Smith)

Catch-share fisheries management appears to improve economic efficiency by eliminating redundant capacity in fisheries. Theory and anecdotal evidence suggests that catch-shares may also alter within-season fishing behavior: they may slow the “race to fish” – short fishing seasons caused by inefficient competition. In doing so they may also increase fishing revenues.

We use data from all US catch-shares fisheries to test these hypotheses. We compare each catch-share fishery to a non-catch-share ‘match’ fishery. Our findings on the first hypothesis are published in Nature. We show that catch-shares distinctly slow the “race to fish”. Our preliminary findings on the second hypothesis suggest price impacts in line with theory, but our analysis needs some more work yet. This research is supported by NC Sea Grant Office and NOAA.


*Birkenbach, A, *Kaczan, D and *Smith, M (*co-lead authorship) (2017) ‘Catch shares slow the race to fish’, Nature.

What contribution can fisheries make to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? (with Pawan Patil, Sebastian Villasante, and Manel Antelo)

Fisheries are poorly managed in many countries, meaning forgone benefits in terms of employment, economic growth, and food security, among others. Taking Pakistan as a case study, we use a bio-economic model to quantify the benefits that could be expected from marine fisheries reform. We benchmark these benefits against the SDGs, and also consider possible benefits from plausible aquaculture development scenarios. This paper helps policy-makers understand what they stand to gain from undertaking fisheries reform, which may otherwise be a daunting challenge.

Working paper coming soon (late spring, 2018).