Master's Projects (Resource and Applied Economics)
The role of property rights in bycatch reduction: evidence from the British Columbia groundfish fisheryThe following analysis seeks to contribute to the literature by examining the effectiveness of the individual vessel bycatch quota (IVBQ) system as an incentive structure for the mitigation of halibut bycatch in the British Columbia Groundfish fishery. Through the use of an OLS regression technique, this empirical analysis intends to quantify the importance and overall effectiveness of the vessel bycatch quota incentive system in respect to mitigating bycatch. The research utilizes time series fisheries data from 1962-2012, as provided by The International Pacific Halibut Commission and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The research indicates that the IVBQ system has proven to be highly effective, confirming the significance of private property rights as a tool for the reduction of bycatch within British Columbia. Policy makers may utilize the information provided in this paper to design more feasible and effective policy options to promote the preservation of ecological balance in the management of marine resources.
Examining the advocacy coalition framework for insight into shale gas development in US and UK political systemsThe project considers the Advocacy Coalition Framework from the discipline of policymaking which is used to examine contentious and politically complex policy issues, particularly in energy and environmental development and planning. Shale gas development in the United States has been noted for its dramatic economic and political effects, leading some countries to pursue development of their own shale resources. The United Kingdom's tentative steps into the industry have engendered efforts to understand American experiences and conceptualize how their own country may or may not accommodate such development. The project attempts to highlight the current or potential issues or benefits entering the discourse and extrapolate insights from the Advocacy Coalition Framework to enhance and inform shale gas development as a social issue in addition to existing as an economic or technological disruption. Thoughts on attitudes between disciplines tangent to shale gas development are also expressed.
Changes in the value of the Southeast Alaska salmon purse seine limited entry permits following two permit buy back programsThe Southeast Alaska salmon purse seine fishery (S01A) is an Alaska state waters limited entry fishery. When initially limited by the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission in 1975, 419 permanent permits were issued. As salmon prices dropped in the late 1990s, current and expected future revenues also dropped leading to a decline in the market value of permit. This led permitees to look at different ways to improve their economic position. Reduction of permit numbers through the buyback and permanent retirement of some permits emerged as a preferred option for the S01A fishery; it was motivated as the best means to improve economic conditions in the fishery. After a very long road of regulatory changes at the state and federal level, 35 permits were bought and retired in 2008 using funds provided under a federal grant. A second buyback in 2012, based on a federally backed fishery reduction loan led to the retirement of 65 additional permits. Basic economic principles suggest that resulting decrease in supply of limited entry permits would lead to an increase in the market value of remaining permits. An important policy question is: whether the increased value to permitees is sufficient to offset the cost to taxpayers of financing the buyback. However, conducting that cost-benefit assessment is made difficult because of unrelated but concomitant changes in exvessel prices and catch volumes. During the same time that permits were being removed through the buyback, the exvessel value of salmon increased as did the volume of Southeast Alaska salmon harvests, per-vessel average exvessel gross earnings, and the market value of S01A permits. Econometric analyses based on Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) time series data on S01A permit values, estimated gross earnings, and salmon prices indicate that the buybacks led to statistically significant increases in the asset value of S01A LEPs. In light of the program's stated goals, the buyback was a qualified success in increasing the asset value of S01A permits and removing latent fishing capacity from returning to the fishery as exvessel prices increased. The buyback did not change the fundamental conditions that precondition the Alaska salmon LEP program to systematic vulnerabilities inherent in a management system that does not counter the pernicious race for fish motivations of participants.
A comprehensive bycatch market: investigating pricing mechanisms for ecosystem accountabilityThis report takes an ecosystem approach to managing targeted and non-targeted species in the Bering Sea Aleutian Island commercial fisheries. The current regulatory environment sets biological harvest limits across fish stock's entire range, although the individual components of managing fisheries within a stock may lead to economic inefficiencies and difficulties in accounting for social costs due to blunt incentives. The research presented here outlines a model for scenario analysis and pricing mechanisms at each level of harvest across a species range. Due to the modeled indifference of harvesting in targeted or non-targeted fisheries, designations are made for degrees of ownership rights and monetary transfers to balance these rights in the presence of non-target bycatch. This report argues that efficiency gains can be made by managing behavior through pricing incentives at the margin.