Keywords: fisheries science, scientific advice, economic instruments, sustainable fisheries, ecosystems approach, fisheries management, fish stocks, incentives, property rights, eco-certification
An ecologist's view of economic instruments and incentives
Advice by fisheries scientists to reduce catches or effort is often not fully implemented and efforts to increase impact of advice have often failed. Fisheries scientists rarely discuss the potential contribution of economic instruments to improving the impact of science advice. This paper rejects several possible justifications for the absence of discussion on economic instruments in fisheries science advice. It then highlights how two types of economic instruments, allocation of property rights and eco-certification, may promote the same changes in fisheries exploitation rates and ecosystem impacts that science advisors recommend on biological grounds. It concludes with a consideration of how science advice could include a discussion of such instruments without having the advice from fisheries scientists and ecologists affect social and economic policy any more than advice on tools like marine protected areas or quota reductions do at present.