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Analysis of Alternatives for Participation in International Management of Pelagic Fisheries

Progress Reports (PDF): FY 2002, FY 2001, FY 2000

Project Overview
Fisheries management in the United States under the Magnuson-Stevens Act has focused on stock conservation and allocation of catch among domestic user groups. This has generated a broad range of new and modified fishery management options, but these are domestically focused. International arrangements essential for management of pelagic fisheries involve a higher level of institutional complexity (or simplicity, depending on perspective) than domestic management. A range of economic and political science game theoretic approaches are being taken relative to governance and international resource management issues. These approaches, in conjunction with research on a range of altenative fishery management approaches, should be explored in relationship to the mid-Pacific pelagic fisheries of concern to the Council (Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council).

The general approach behind international management of highly migratory species (often called "large pelagics"), such as tuna, billfish and swordfish, follows the United Nations Convention on Straddling Fish Stocks & Highly Migratory Fish Species (1995). This Convention emphasizes the importance of regional fishery management bodies in developing cooperative arrangements for the conservation and management of highly migratory species. This is in contrast to the unilateral extension of coastal EEZs or continuation of the open access which typifies most highly migratory fisheries outside of coastal EEZs.

Development of articles for regional arrangements tends to be accomplished through international conferences such as the Multilateral High Level Conference on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Pacific (MHLC). The fifth MHLC convention was held in Honolulu, Hawaii during September 1999. While substantial progress has been made in the MHLC process, the actual choice and implementation of management regimes is a possibly contested decision, as is the form of participation of interest groups within the U.S. delegation, the allocation of fishing rights for U.S. participants, etc. To date, international fisheries conventions tend to follow both traditional fishery management approaches (identifying a total allowable catch and allocating it to individual harvesting groups within participating countries) through standard international state-to-state negotiations and rule-making.

The purpose of this project is to identify a variety of approaches; their advantages/disadvantages in Hawaii and to work out some of the analytics and processes of their implementation. Project researchers want to examine various decision-support approaches and the implications of such models on bargaining theory, strategic planning, participatory management, etc. Development of some participatory approaches within the game-theoretic framework is also planned. These ideas should be of value to the local governing entities and U.S. delegations, and may provide avenues for avoiding the kind of negative-sum game currently being played out in the Atlantic swordfish fisheries.

Year 1 funding for this project awarded in October 1999.

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Samuel Pooley
National Marine Fisheries Service
Southwest Fisheries Science Center
Honolulu Laboratory
2570 Dole Street, Room 219
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822
Phone (808) 983-5320
FAX (808) 983-2902
email: spooley@honlab.nmfs.hawaii.edu


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This page updated August 17, 2006