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Estimating the economic impacts of bycatch in U.S. commercial fisheries

Wesley S. Patrick and Lee R. Benaka

Marine Policy, 2013, vol. 38, issue C, 470-475

Abstract: Bycatch presents a challenge to optimizing yield in commercial fisheries, where bycatch can total more than 1 million mt per year in the United States. Yet the economic impacts of bycatch have rarely been evaluated in the scientific literature. These economic impacts largely occur from the loss of landings through (1) early closure of fisheries when catch limits of bycatch species are reached; and (2) discards of marketable catch due to regulatory requirements in the fishery. This paper illustrates the economic impacts of early closures due to bycatch in U.S. fisheries by describing past case studies, as well as evaluating the economic impacts of discarding fish in U.S. commercial fisheries. Premature closures in the fisheries reviewed resulted in potential losses ranging from $34.4 million to $453.0 million annually. Nationally, bycatch estimates in the form of regulatory discards are annually reducing the potential yield of fisheries by $427.0 million in ex-vessel revenues, and as much as $4.2 billion in seafood-related sales, $1.5 billion in income, and 64,000 jobs. Our review also shows that some of the most promising work to reduce bycatch over the last decade has been the development of gears or gear modifications, termed “conservation engineering.”

Keywords: Conservation engineering; Forgone yield; Fisheries management; Input–output model; Optimum yield; Regulatory discards (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2012.07.007

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Handle: RePEc:eee:marpol:v:38:y:2013:i:c:p:470-475