Quasi-experimental evidence on the “rights to fish”: The effects of catch shares on fishermen’s days at sea

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    16 Scopus citations


    This paper investigates whether rights-based management in fisheries ends the “race to fish.” The staggered introductions of catch shares in the Alaska pollock and Pacific hake fisheries—neighboring regional fisheries that are the largest and sixth largest fishery by volume in the United States, respectively—provide a unique natural experiment for isolating the impact of “catch shares.” Difference-in-difference-in-differences estimations, combined with vessel fixed effects, indicate that catch shares are associated with an increase in the number of days that a harvester spends at sea engaging in fishing activities, which implies a slowing of fishing effort, ceteris paribus. For the Pacific hake fishery, participation in the pollock fishery is a negative predictor of a harvester’s days at sea in the target fishery. In the initial two years when the hake fishery was rationalized before the pollock fishery the pollock fishery served as a derby alternative for hake harvesters. Results also show that pollock and hake harvesters respond to changing economic conditions: fish or fish product prices are positive predic-tors of days at sea. For the Pacific hake catcher-processor fleet, an estimated increase in days at sea per ton of catch suggests that a harvester’s fishing intensity has also slowed as a result of catch shares.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)407-445
    Number of pages39
    JournalJournal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


    • Catch shares
    • Cooperatives
    • Difference-in-difference-in-differences
    • Natural experiment
    • Rights-based management

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Nature and Landscape Conservation
    • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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