UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Gabriel Sampson, University of California, Davis

Spatial behavior and the value of spatially differentiated resource management: evidence from the Great Barrier reef commercial fishery

Date and Location

Monday, December 7, 2015, 4:10 PM - 5:30 PM
ARE Conference Room, 2102 Social Sciences and Humanities


Mismatches between policy scope and the spatial scale of ecosystem functions is widely implicated in resource over-exploitation and depressed returns. Policy instruments which are spatially differentiated have been suggested to improve economic and ecological outcomes, yet few empirical analyses validate these claims. This paper estimates the spatial patterns of exploitation in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park coral trout commercial fishery. The econometric model accounts for spatial correlation in fleet response to revenue patterns. Estimates from the model are used to simulate spatially differentiated price instruments (e.g. spatially explicit licenses). With a spatially uniform policy, I estimate an annual fishery value of $0.7 million, which matches with estimates for fishery value derived from quota lease trading evidence. A spatially differentiated policy is estimated to result in substantial value gains ($4-12 million), though the magnitude depends on spatial spillover of the policy instrument. The model demonstrates the practical application of space-based price instruments as part of spatially explicit resource policy and underscores the importance of accounting for spatial heterogeneity and spillover in the design and evaluation of spatially differentiated resource policies.

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