Fish or Fence? Sovereign-to-Sovereign Relations in High Sea Fisheries
35 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2013
Date Written: December 28, 2012
This paper builds on the framework developed by Anderson and McChesney (1994) to analyze two sovereigns bargaining over the use of scarce resources. We adapt the "raid or trade" model of disputes over land to the high seas fisheries context, where sovereigns must decide whether to continue the race to fish or restrict access to the fishery, i.e. fish or fence. After discussing the unique challenges presented by attempting to manage an open access resource that crosses national boundaries, we construct a basic model of the costs and benefits of resource depletion versus joint management. Sovereigns will deplete marine resources if the costs of negotiation outweigh the expected benefits of management. Differences in institutions, collective action problems, heterogeneity amongst fishermen, and lack of scientific data make the benefits of management less certain and increase the likelihood of depletion. We close by applying our analytical framework in the context of several case studies.
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