24 November 2009

Fishermen vs. Fishermen

Speaking of fish, DH sent an interesting article detailing the battle over fishing rights between sport and commercial fishermen in Florida:
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is intensively promoting and implementing programs which grant exclusive access privileges [ITQs] to public fishery resources... Unfortunately, in mixed fisheries where there is a large and growing recreational sector, exclusive fishing rights proposals maximize benefits to the commercial fishing industry while ignoring the participation and beneficial economic impacts of recreational fishing. Damaging impacts on recreational fisheries are being disregarded.
He asked how sport guys can maintain their access to the fish, and I said:
There are two options:
  1. Get ITQs for sport fishermen, then split them into per fish permits -- like deer licenses.
  2. Buy them from the commercial guys
Economists do not favor either, but (1) is clearly cheaper than (2) for the sport guys.

Given the financial firepower of sport guys, they can afford to pay. Let's see if they have the same political power :)
Bottom Line It's not the efficiency that bothers people as much as the distribution of money that buys that efficiency. That's not economics, that's politics!

1 comment:

  1. I don't see permits as a big problem, although outdoorsmen have been so completely polarized, politically, that getting it passed may prove difficult. 80 years ago, it would have been different.

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