UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Gilliland, Sanchirico, and Taylor Win Best Article Award from Marine Resource Economics

Aug. 1, 2023

ARE alumnus and Mt. Holyoke Associate Professor Theodore Gilliland, UCD Environmental Science and Policy Professor James Sanchirico, and ARE Distinguished Professor Emeritus J. Edward Taylor have won the Best Article award for 2023 from the journal Marine Resource Economics. Their work expands the focus of fishery research from individual fishers to whole fishing communities. Interactions among fishing and non-fishing households and activities shape the impacts of fishery reforms on welfare and poverty, as well as the sustainability of fisheries.

This research is important because of the crucial role that carefully designed regulations can play in restoring the world’s fragile, small-scale fisheries, which play a vital role in meeting the growing global demand for seafood. It also highlights the implications of these reforms for economic welfare, in both the short and long run. Policies that do not address economic costs as well as benefits of restricting access to fisheries are likely to have unintended consequences for welfare in poor fishing communities. They also may be difficult to enforce.

Previous studies largely focus on the fishing sector in isolation or do not disaggregate households into socioeconomic groups, for example, by poverty status. This study embeds the biology of a fishery within a local general equilibrium model, estimated and calibrated with data from a Philippine municipality. It disaggregates households based on their participation in fishing as well as their poverty status prior to implementing fishery reforms. It uses the model to simulate impacts of fishery regulations on the fish stock, on fishing and non-fishing activities, and on poor and non-poor fishing and non-fishing households over a 20-year time horizon, to allow time for the fish-stock dynamics to take effect.

The findings reveal that fishing households eventually overcome initial losses as the fish stock recovers, with wealthier fishing households attaining larger absolute gains. However, all household groups suffer in the short run, as regulations reduce fishing effort. Non-fishing households suffer negative spillovers and higher fish prices, and they gain only moderately as the fish stock recovers, leaving them worse off over the 20-year period. The findings suggest a need for complementary policies to redress short-run losses from fishery reforms, and a research approach that considers heterogeneous welfare outcomes across both fishing and non-fishing households and activities. The article also examines how trade can mediate the local impacts of fishery reform.

The article is available here.

The full citation is:
Gilliland, T.E., Sanchirico, J.N. and Taylor, J.E., 2022. A Bioeconomic Local General Equilibrium Assessment of Distributional Consequences of Small-Scale Fisheries Reform in Developing Countries. Marine Resource Economics, 37(2), pp.111-134.


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