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A Dynamic Model to Evaluate the Effects of Regulation on the Hawaii Commercial Fisheries

Progress Reports (PDF): FY 2001, FY 2000, FY 1999, FY 1998 (see below)

Project Overview
The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WPRFMC) has jurisdiction over nearly 1.5 million square miles, an area larger than the EEZs of the other seven regional fishery management councils. In terms of revenues, pelagic fisheries are the most important source of fish in this region, with revenues of $429 million in 1993. In terms of economic importance, the value of the region's fishery has been growing steadily over the last decade.

Among the most important objectives of the WPRFMC in managing the pelagic resources are to: (i) maximize the incomes of commercial fishermen while, (ii) maintaining optimal stock levels and providing opportunities for recreational fishing. In achieving these objectives the WPRFMC chooses from a range of available management options such as:

  • maintaining area closures and other forms of limited entry
  • limitations on number and characteristics of vessels (eg., size, gear type)
  • catch quotas per vessel
  • license fees
  • transferable quotas

Each of these regulatory instruments affects the allocation of fishing effort by individual vessels who engage in profit-maximizing behavior. These regulatory policies have differential impacts on fish catches, fish stocks and profits to individual fishermen. Aggregate fish catches, in turn, determine the market prices of each type of fish.

The objectives of this research project are to develop a dynamic optimization model of the Hawaii commercial fisheries. The model will incorporate the dynamic effects of the WPRFMC's regulatory policies. Researchers will conduct model simulation and obtain estimates of the impacts of different regulatory instruments on long-run fishing effort, fleet size, vessel entry and exit, profits, and the distribution of income and employment in the fishery.

Dr. Chakravorty was co-editor of workshop proceedings published as part of SOEST-JIMAR publication series and a technical report on area closures:

"Ocean-scale management of pelagic fisheries: Economic and regulatory issues (Proceedings of an international workshop organized by the Pelagic Fisheries Research Program, JIMAR, UH, November 12-13, 1997)", 1999. Ujjayant Chakravorty and John Sibert (editors). SOEST 99-04, JIMAR Contribution 99-321

"Modeling the effects of area closure and tax policies: A spatial model of the Hawaii longline fishery", 2000. Ujjayant Chakravorty and Keiichi Nemoto. SOEST 00-02, JIMAR Contribution 00-329

See SOEST-JIMAR Publications page for other PFRP reports

Principal Investigator:
Dr. Ujjayant Chakravorty
Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics
University of Hawaii at Manoa
3050 Maile Way, Gilmore 115
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822
Phone (808) 956-7279
FAX (808) 956-2811
email: unc@emory.edu (Emory University, as of July 2000)

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Progress Report - June 1998

In the last year, the project has focused on application of the dynamic model to examine impacts of specific policy instruments, such as area closure and exogenous demand shocks. In particular, three policies were examined:

  1. closure of areas close to the main Hawaiian islands to reduce gear conflict,

  2. closure of north fishing areas (greater than 30 degree N) for conservation of swordfish, and,

  3. 25 percent lower ex-vessel prices of the five major species.

    Preliminary results suggest that closure of areas near the Hawaiian Islands will have a substantial impact. On average the number of trips will decline by about 15 percent. However, profits per vessel decline by about 4 percent. On the other hand, in the case of turtle conservation, the number of trips actually increases but profits per vessel decline sharply - by about 30 percent. This is because boats cannot access swordfish-rich fisheries and target lower-valued tuna. Finally, demand shock in terms of reduced fish prices will reduce trips but more importantly, reduce profits/trip by about 40 percent. These results are currently being checked through sensitivity analysis. Further policy analysis is planned. A paper that develops the methodology is being finalized for journal submission (Chakravorty, et. al., 1998).

    Two extensions of the model are proposed: one in which migration of fish is explicitly included and second, development of a framework which will allow transboundary issues such as movement of fish and vessels across political jurisdictions to be modeled quantitatively.


    Chakravorty, Ujjayant, Keiichi Nemoto and KinPing Tse, "A Spatial-Dynamic Model for the Allocation of Fishing Effort: Application to the Hawaiian Longline Pelagic Fishery," Unpublished Manuscript, University of Hawaii.

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    This page updated August 17, 2006