Sustainable fisheries: how externalities impact urban fishery management
An economic theory of externalities and Ostrom’s principle of benefits and costs equivalence is used to address the inter-agency tension that reduces the sustainability of a social–ecological system (SES). We examine environmental management challenges by analyzing who benefits and who pays for a man-made, common-pool fishery on Ship Creek in Anchorage, Alaska, and how this cost structure acts as a barrier to sustainability. The economic benefits of the fishery have been estimated and published, but the costs paid to mitigate the fishery’s biophysical effects on the SES are undocumented. We focus on quantifying the fishery’s externalities, which are paid for by public infrastructure providers who do not receive benefits from the fishery and therefore exhibit social distrust and a lack of cooperation. This information is used in conjunction with a property rights regime of the SES to construct a new cost-sharing framework that provides decision makers with an economic incentive to increase the sustainability of the fishery.