Events & Media

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara



"The Legal, Ecological, and Economic Landscape for
Rights-Based Fishery Management in the United States"

Kristin Carden
Doctoral Student
Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

Thursday, June 21, 2012
1:00 p.m.
Bren Hall 3526 (Pine Room)

Steve Gaines, Faculty Advisor
Chris Costello and Sarah Anderson, Committee Members

Property rights-based approaches to fishery management, collectively called “catch shares,” are increasingly being implemented in state and federal waters. This dissertation considers how law, ecology, and economics interface in the context of rights-based fishery management in the United States.

Chapter one focuses on the viability of instituting “Territorial Use Rights in Fisheries” (TURFs), a spatially based fishery management technique, in California state waters. I conclude that while the policy rationales undergirding existing law and regulation (e.g., the Marine Life Protection Act and the Marine Life Management Act) support the idea of TURF management, they do not expressly provide for TURF implementation. Given that California lacks TURF-specific policy, I consider in chapter two what such a policy might look like and what the effects of that policy might be. To address these questions, my collaborators and I developed an ecosystem service tradeoff analysis model for the Southern California red sea urchin fishery. Generally speaking, we found that a TURF system’s performance depends upon the degree of cooperation among fishermen. Full cooperation among fishermen, however, may raise the spectre of antitrust prosecution. My third and final chapter considers how antitrust law affects the formation and operation of fishery cooperatives. I conclude that antitrust law exerts a chilling effect on fishery cooperatives. Most problematic from both conservation and economic standpoints is the constraint antitrust law places on a cooperative’s ability to voluntarily restrict harvest below a governmentally defined total allowable catch.