Institutional Economics and Fisheries Management: The Case of Pacific Tuna

Elizabeth H. Petersen argues that economists and other social scientists are increasingly focusing their attention towards institutions (defined as humanly-devised rules) as critical determinants of economic, social and political growth and development. Institutions responsible for the governance of fishery resources have experienced dramatic reforms over the last few decades, stimulated by increased competition for access and exploitation of resources, leading to emerging scarcity of these very resources. This book aims to contribute to the biological and economic sustainability of fish resources worldwide by providing an analysis of fisheries management in the context of new institutional economics. The book's premise is that sound fisheries management requires a clear definition of policy goals for the fishery, such as long-term biological sustainability and maximization of sustainable economic returns, and the subsequent development of institutions capable of aiding and achieving these policy goals. Without such policies and institutions, the author illustrates, there is likely to be continued resource conflict as well as biological and economic over-exploitation. This book provides an innovative institutional framework for managing multilateral fisheries and includes suggestions for solving specific fisheries problems, such as managing fishery revenues and trading cheap fisheries access for foreign aid. The book concludes with a discussion of the importance of economic growth and development, as well as broader socio-economic institutions for fisheries. As such, it will be of enormous interest to environmentalists, ecologists, policymakers, scholars and practitioners focusing on fisheries management.