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Conservation through Collusion: Antitrust Barriers to Cooperative Fishery Management

30 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2002  

Jonathan H. Adler

Case Western Reserve University School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Date Written: March 2002

Abstract

Antitrust law aims to protect consumers from anti-competitive conduct that can restrict output and increase price. Conservation, on the other hand, often requires restrictions on output in order to maintain resource consumption at a sustainable level. Thus, while antitrust and environmental law both seek to advance the public interest, in the context of resource conservation they can conflict. Collective arrangements among private firms to reduce output or allocate market shares are inherently suspect, even if the intent or effect is to conserve an otherwise threatened ecological resource. This paper examines the tension between resource conservation and antitrust in the context of marine fisheries. Beginning in the 1930s, fishing unions and cooperatives have been prosecuted for setting prices or restricting output, even where such arrangements have served conservation purposes. By limiting the sorts of cooperative arrangements that fishers or other common pool resource users may adopt to limit access or utilization of the underlying resource, antitrust law may inhibit the development of more effective self-governing institutions.

Suggested Citation

Adler, Jonathan H., Conservation through Collusion: Antitrust Barriers to Cooperative Fishery Management (March 2002). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=305921 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.305921

Jonathan Adler (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University School of Law ( email )

11075 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106-7148
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216-368-2535 (Phone)
216-368-2086 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.jhadler.net

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

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