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Marine protected areas in spatial property-rights fisheries *

Christopher Costello and Daniel Kaffine

Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 2010, vol. 54, issue 3, 321-341

Abstract: Marine protected areas (MPAs) and spatial property rights (TURFs) are two seemingly contradictory approaches advocated as solutions to common property failures in fisheries. MPAs limit harvest to certain areas, but may enhance profits outside via spillover. TURFs incentivize local stewardship but may be plagued by spatial externalities when the TURF size is insufficient to capture all dispersal. Within a numerical model parameterized to a California marine species, we explore the economic and ecological effects of imposing MPAs on a TURF-regulated fishery. Whether MPAs can enhance or diminish profits (or fish abundance) hinges critically on the level of coordination already occurring between TURF owners. If coordination is complete, private MPAs may already emerge in some TURFs; implementing additional MPAs reduces profits. However, to the extent that coordination is incomplete, strategically sited MPAs may be an effective complement to spatial property rights-based fisheries, increasing both fishery profits and abundance. Copyright 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation 2009 Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society Inc. and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.

Date: 2010
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