Oral Presentation Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2017

How do we prevent the economic benefit of fisheries being exported? (#23)

Caleb Gardner 1 , Klaas Hartmann 1 , Rafael Leon 1 , Timothy Emery 1
  1. Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, Australia

Commercial fisheries rely on access to a public resource so it’s reasonable for the public to expect to see a benefit. Commercial access is often justified by benefits of employment or provision of food for the local community, however these benefits are not always relevant in high-valued fisheries, such as the Australian examples explored in this paper. A large quantity of wild-capture seafood is exported so the public gets little consumption benefit, while employment is actively minimised using catch share management (ITQ) to promote technical efficiency and increase economic yield. This strategy has successfully reduced employment for example, in all Australian rock lobster fisheries, so that economic yield has typically increased several fold. This higher economic yield would theoretically benefit the public owners of the resource if it were retained in the community, through for example, royalty payments or the development of new industries. However, the economic yield of various Australian rock lobster fisheries is increasingly being exported, for example by companies outside the jurisdiction buying and leasing ITQs. This trend of Australian rock lobster fisheries exporting benefit has become a significant concern for industry groups but they typically question whether there are any solutions. In fact, there are numerous options available and some of these will be explored in this discussion. They include controls on foreign ownership, taxation approaches, and social structures.