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Did Tradable Quota Rights Really Affect Fleet Size? The Case of IFQ Programs in the Gulf of Mexico

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Abstract: After being in force ten and seven years respectively, the tradable fishing quota programs for red snapper and grouper-tilefish in the Gulf of Mexico have so far failed to bring about the expected reduction of the active fleet size and shedding of overcapacity. With the help of a microeconomic model of vessel participation that takes into account environmental and policy variables, we find that biomass and total allowable catch can help explain the observed fleet size evolutions. We also explain why, beyond the initial adjustment, the tradable fishing quota regime did not bring about a significant change to fleet size.

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