An economic analysis of the Australian east coast tuna longline fishery

McIlgorm, Alistair (1995). An economic analysis of the Australian east coast tuna longline fishery PhD Thesis, School of Economics, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author McIlgorm, Alistair
Thesis Title An economic analysis of the Australian east coast tuna longline fishery
School, Centre or Institute School of Economics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1995
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Harry Campbell
Total pages 343
Language eng
Subjects 14 Economics
Formatted abstract Japanese tuna longline vessels have fished in the eastern Australian area since the 1950s and under access agreements with the Australian government since the establishment of the Australian Fishing Zone in 1979. The development of the domestic Yellowfin tuna fishery in the 1980s revealed the need for an economic analysis of the fishery.

A Generalized Leontief revenue function was used to estimate the multispecies production of the Japanese vessels in the 1984-1989 period. Input scaled supply equations were estimated for the supply of each species, at the vessel level, and likelihood ratio tests were used for specification and technology tests. Shift variables captured the seasonal, annual and spatial variations in fish stock, for which no direct variations were available, and the influence of the East Australian Current. The revenue function enabled identification of joint and nonjoint vessel technologies through likelihood ratio tests and the calculation of own price, cross price, and product specific scale elasticities. A direct Cobb-Douglas production function was used to estimate production in the single species domestic Yellowfin fishery. Sustainability of the fisheries was estimated in the 1962-1989 period using a linear depletion model and the Gordon-Schaefer production model.

Revenue function estimation and likelihood ratio test results showed that the final estimations should be for small and large Japanese vessels in the northern and southern fisheries (around 25°S). The production technology in the northern fishery was nonjoint (catches were independent of output prices), whereas the southern vessel technology was joint. Input-output separability - the species mix is independent of the level of effort-could not be rejected in the north, but was rejected for large vessels in the south. In the south the production of Albacore, Yellowfin, Bigeye and Swordfish was individually joint. Own price and cross price elasticities of supply confirmed that Bigeye and Yellowfm were produced as complements, whereas Bigeye and Albacore, and Bigeye and Swordfish were substitutes. Marlin were individually nonjoint in all areas and may be an incidental catch. Yellowfin and Bigeye were most available inshore, whereas Albacore, Marlin and Swordfish had higher availability with distance from shore.

The revenue function comparisons of Japanese and domestic vessels inshore revealed significant differences in technology. The domestic vessels concentrated on surface species such as Yellowfm tuna, whereas the Japanese fished for the deeper swimming species in the same area. The direct analysis of the domestic Yellowfin vessels indicated significant differences in Yellowfin production in the areas north and south of Sydney.

Average Revenue of Effort estimates and comparisons suggested there were three groups of Japanese vessel offshore: smaller tropical longliners in the north; large Southern Bluefm Tuna longliners in the south; and vessels that move between the northern and southern areas. The long-run viability of large vessels in the south was questioned, and only small vessels in the northern area were earning greater returns than in an open access fishery. The representative domestic vessel had a comparative advantage over the representative Japanese vessel, but only in the inshore area.

The sustainability analysis indicated no diminution in the Japanese vessel catch rates since the commencement of the domestic and Western Pacific tuna fisheries, though depletion of Albacore, Yellowfin and Blue Marlin was noted in the 1962-1989 period. Production modelling indicated that effort levels in 1989 would need to be reduced by 28% and 41%, for Swordfish and Black Marlin respectively, to achieve maximum economic yield. The production analysis was not applicable to the other species.

The examination of technology and management indicated that output based regulations, such as individual quota and royalty per unit of catch, would not be appropriate for the nonjoint technology of the Japanese vessels in the northern fishery and for the domestic fishery. However the joint technology of the Japanese vessels in the southern area could be managed by a separate royalty or output regime. Effort regulations are recommended for all areas, but managers should monitor the relative prices of jointly produced species. Modelling recommends an effort limit of between 7 and 9 million hooks per annum and area specific effort regulations in the north and south to enhance fishery rent. The Japanese fleet should be kept in the offshore fishery due to the access fees received and the inability of the domestic fleet to displace the Japanese vessels.

Keyword Tuna fisheries -- Economic aspects -- Australia.
Additional Notes

Variant title: East Australian tuna longline fishery.

 
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