Fish processors pay higher prices after individual quotas

Individual fishing quotas have been introduced to the Pacific whiting fishery off the US west coast, involving allocating rights to fish quota to both harvesters (80%) and processors (20%) and letting individuals decide when and how to to catch and land fish. A unique dataset of prices and costs allowed researchers to examine the impact of this change on land-based processors. Such an examination has not previously been possible in any fishery because cost and income data from processors is rarely, if ever, collected. The data show that fish landings were more spread out, with landings at the major processors increasing from 38 to 72 days, and that processors ended up paying a greater share of the export price to harvesters (leading to prices averaging $0.068 per pound higher). Processing efficiency, while headed towards greater efficiency, was not clearly better, although data were limited given the small number of processors. The new research by Marie Guldin (Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA) and SAFS professor Christopher Anderson, appears in the journal Marine Resource Economics.

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