Economic modeling for optimal spatial allocation of New Zealand's near-shore fisheries

PhD Candidate: Sophal Chhun

Supervisors: Professor Henrik Moller (CSAFE); Dr. Paul Thorsnes and Dr. Viktoria Kahui (Department of Economics)

Project dates: September 2010-2013


Brief Abstract

There is a clear need for more sustainable fisheries management; implementing spatial tools such as customary management areas and marine reserves would help achieve this end. Alternative uses of a marine space (i.e. customary management area, marine reserve, fishing ground) generate different selections of benefits, whose values might not be comparable. It is therefore difficult to judge which alternative would be the societal preference and would improve the well-being of the society overall.  

Development of improved economic tools might help in this quest, but so far have not been applied in New Zealand with regards to marine space reallocation. The overall goal of this thesis is therefore to develop an economic value model to guide spatial allocations that integrate customary management areas and marine reserves into New Zealand?s Quota Management System.  

Specifically, this model will be designed by realising the following research objectives:

  1. To identify the qualitative - and where possible quantitative - economic, ecological, and social costs and benefits for customary, recreational, and commercial fishers and biodiversity advocates from establishing customary management areas (including mataitai and taiapure) and marine reserves, and the other underlying factors that affect the decisions regarding whether to approve or decline the proposals;
  2. To provide a real-world application of a ?discrete choice experiment? to discover people?s preferences and to estimate the welfare change relative to the proposals to establish mataitai, taiapure, and/or marine reserves;
  3. To combine findings from all objectives to suggest tools and an improved framework for facilitating more efficient allocation of marine space in fisheries management.