Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Fisheries management implications of technical efficiency analysis results

Efficiency measurement and related analysis can be of significant benefit to fisheries managers in helping them to formulate policy measures. For example, knowledge of the extent of inefficiency present in a fleet, and its progression over time, will help managers to predict the true impact, and required magnitude, of proposed input controls or a fleet reduction program. Efficiency analysis can also play an important role in tuning the catch function used in biological models to express fishing-related mortality.

For most fleet segments analysed in the study, the average level of efficiency was between 0.7 and 0.8, although average efficiency scores as low as 0.48 were observed (a core of 1.0 indicates no inefficiency). There was no apparent trend in terms of one fleet segment being more or less efficient than others on average. If the existing set of fleet inputs were used at their full efficient level, then average output could increase by between 20 and 40 per cent in most of the fleet segments examined.

In output-controlled fisheries, improvements in efficiency will result in lower effort levels and, consequently, decrease capacity utilisation. This, in turn, creates incentives to increase the level of non-recorded (black market) landings. In input-controlled fisheries, managers will need to respond by further restricting the level of inputs, preferably through fleet reduction.

From the analysis of the factors affecting efficiency, a number of factors could be identified that may lead to efficiency increases. These factors appeared to differ substantially from country to country even when common information was available to be tested. For example, the introduction of bigger boats was found to increase average efficiency for the Danish seine fleet, but for many other fleet segments, larger vessels were generally less efficient than smaller vessels. Newer vessels were more efficient in the Danish seine and Greek inshore fleet segments, but not in the English Channel fleet segments. Skipper age was generally negatively associated with efficiency, which has implications for the success of early retirement programs. Fishers from families with a fishing history tended to be more efficient than first generation fishers. This implies that key fishing skills are passed down through families. Consequently, there appears to be validity in the arguments for policies to preserve fishing communities to ensure the persistence of fishing skills.

Knowledge of the extent of inefficiency present in fleet segments is crucial in determining the form and impact of national decommissioning programmes. Assuming that the least efficient vessels are the first to exit, then a greater than proportional decrease in fleet size would be required to achieve a given reduction in output. For example, for the Greek inshore fleet, the fleet size would need to be reduced by almost 40 per cent to achieve a 20 per cent reduction in output. Similarly, a 20 per cent reduction in the output of the North Sea nephrops fleet would require an almost 30 per cent reduction in fleet size.

The effectiveness of 'days at sea' restrictions is dependent on the elasticity associated with the variable input levels derived from the stochastic production frontiers. In most cases, the elasticities for the industrial fleets were around 1, indicating that the days at sea restrictions would result in a more or less proportional decrease in output, as intended. However, the impact of the days at sea restrictions may, in fact, be 33 per cent greater for English North Sea seiners than for Danish seniers for an equal reduction in days fished.

The study produced a number of other measures that can provide useful information for fishery management. These include production elasticities, elasticities of substitution - both input and output - as well as measures relating to the scale of operation.

Reported by

University of Portsmouth
Locksway Road
PO4 8JF Southsea
United Kingdom
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