Fisheries Science

, Volume 83, Issue 6, pp 897–906 | Cite as

Does trade openness reduce a domestic fisheries catch?

  • Keita Abe
  • Gakushi IshimuraEmail author
  • Tetsuya Tsurumi
  • Shunsuke Managi
  • Ussif Rashid Sumaila
Original Article Fisheries


Although trade liberalization may increase a country’s welfare, its specific effect on a country’s fishing industry has not been well studied. By decomposing the effect of international trade into four parts, i.e., scale-technique effects (ST), the indirect trade-induced composition effect (IC), the indirect effect of trade intensity through income (ITC), and the direct effect of trade intensity (DTC), this study empirically investigates the effect of trade openness on country-level fisheries production. To take into account the endogeneity of trade openness and income, we adopt the instrumental variable approach. We find that a rise in trade openness reduces fisheries catch on average. In particular, the long-run effect is large. This result implies that future production is affected by current overfishing through stock dynamics. Our decomposed elasticities indicate that the ST and ITC dominate in the trade elasticity of fisheries catch. While ST implies that overfishing would be affected by trade, ITC may either establish an “overfishing haven”, similar to a “pollution haven” in the environmental literature, or production shift of fisheries to countries with lax regulation to pass stringent regulation, which is more likely to occur in high-income countries.


International trade Fish stock Overfishing Scale effect Technique effect Composition effect 


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Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Fisheries Science 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsThe University of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Fishery Systems Science Program, Faculty of AgricultureIwate UniversityMoriokaJapan
  3. 3.Faculty of Policy StudiesNanzan UniversityNagoyaJapan
  4. 4.Urban Engineering and Economics Laboratory, Departments of Urban and Environmental EngineeringSchool of Engineering Kyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  5. 5.Institute of Ocean and FisheriesUniversity of British Columbia, AERLVancouverCanada

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