Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 67, Issue 4, pp 661–681 | Cite as

Why are Fishers not Enforcing Their Marine User Rights?

  • Katrina J Davis
  • Marit E Kragt
  • Stefan Gelcich
  • Michael Burton
  • Steven Schilizzi
  • David J Pannell


Over-fishing is a global problem that damages the marine environment and compromises the long-term sustainability of fisheries. This damage can be mitigated by restricting catch or other activities which can occur in marine areas. However, such management is only effective when restrictions are enforced to ensure compliance. We expect fishers to help enforce restrictions when they have exclusive user rights and can capture the benefits of management. In a number of such cases, however, fisher participation in the enforcement of user rights is absent. In this analysis we used central Chile as a case-study to investigate why some fishers may not participate in enforcement even when they have exclusive territorial user rights for fisheries. We used a best-worst scaling survey to assess why fishers would choose not to participate in enforcement through monitoring their TURF management areas, and what would help to increase their participation. We found that the main reason fishers may not monitor is because they consider government policing of marine areas and punishment of poachers to be ineffective. Increased and timely responsiveness by government when poachers are detected and more stringent penalisation of poachers may lead to greater involvement in enforcement by fishers.


Best-worst scaling Chile Marine management Monitoring  Small-scale fisheries TURFs 



This research was conducted with support from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions. The authors would like to thank F Auzanneau, M Guerrero Gatica, and A Keim for their invaluable and expert assistance during data collection. SG thanks Financiamiento Basal FB-0002, Nucleo-Milenio RC13004, and NC-120086 from the Ministerio de Economia, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, and The Pew Marine Conservation Fellowship Program.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy, School of Agricultural and Resource EconomicsUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.Centre of Excellence for Environmental DecisionsUniversity of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  3. 3.Center of Applied Ecology and Sustainability (CAPES) & Centro de Conservación Marina, Departamento de Ecologia, Facultad de Ciencias BiológicasPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile
  4. 4.Bren School of Environmental Science and ManagementUniversity of California Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraUSA

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