Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 66, Issue 4, pp 749–764 | Cite as

Fewer Fish for Higher Profits? Price Response and Economic Incentives in Global Tuna Fisheries Management

  • Chin-Hwa Jenny Sun
  • Fu-Sung Chiang
  • Patrice Guillotreau
  • Dale Squires
  • D. G. Webster
  • Matt Owens


This paper evaluates industry-wide economic incentives arising from changes in product prices in an industry exploiting a common renewable resource (tropical tunas) that is regulated via output limits. Changes in prices alter economic incentives by affecting revenues, profits, conservation, and nonmarket public benefits. Economic incentives in industries exploiting common resources have been examined from multiple angles. However, industry level variation in market prices arising from changes in public regulation has not been explored. We analyse the impact on economic incentives due to changes in output limits and market prices through estimation of ex-vessel price and scale flexibilities for imported skipjack and yellowfin in Thailand’s cannery market. The unitary scale flexibility, estimated from the General Synthetic Inverse Demand Systems, indicates no loss in revenue and even potential profit increases resulting from lower harvest levels that could arise from lower catch limits. However, for a revenue neutral or positive outcome to be achieved, the three inter-governmental tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations, which manage the majority of the yellowfin and skipjack tuna in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, would have to coordinate multilaterally to set the catch limits for both species.


Economic incentives Conservation policy General synthetic inverse demand systems Global tuna fisheries 



This material is partly based upon work supported by the National Marine Fisheries Service, National Science Foundation under Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems Program “Fishscape: Complex dynamics of the eastern Pacific tuna fishery” Grant No. CNH-1010280, the National Science Council Grant No. NSC90-2621-Z-019-001 and Grant No. NSC95WFA2000217, the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) under grant CEP (changements environnementaux planétaires) MACROES: MACROoscope for Oceanic Earth System (ANR-09-CEP-003), and the international projects MADE (Mitigating the Adverse Ecological Impact of Fishing funded by the European Commission under the 7th Research Framework Programme). We also acknowledge the community-building support of CLIOTOP (Climate Impact on Oceanic Top Predators) and IMBER (Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research). The results are not necessarily expressing the views of the authors’ organizations, countries, or sectors, and any remaining errors are the authors’ responsibility.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chin-Hwa Jenny Sun
    • 1
  • Fu-Sung Chiang
    • 2
  • Patrice Guillotreau
    • 3
  • Dale Squires
    • 4
  • D. G. Webster
    • 5
  • Matt Owens
    • 6
  1. 1.Gulf of Maine Research InstitutePortlandUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Applied EconomicsNational Taiwan Ocean UniversityKeelungTaiwan
  3. 3.LEMNA, University of NantesNantesFrance
  4. 4.Southwest Fisheries Science CenterNOAA FisheriesLa JollaUSA
  5. 5.Environmental StudiesDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  6. 6.Environmental Policy and Social Responsibility Tri MarineBellevueUSA

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