Fleet heterogeneity and economic performance in American Lobster fishery
Thursday, July 22, 2021
1:00 pm Eastern Time
Thank you to the AFS Socioeconomics Section for sponsoring this webinar!
American lobster fishery is the most valuable fishery in the United States. After several decades of steadily increased landings, the American Lobster fishery now dominates Maine’s marine economy. The center of the fishery, the Gulf of Maine, is one of the fastest-warming water in the world, and there is uncertainty about the future robustness of the stock and the economic value, and profitability of the fleet appear vulnerable. This research characterizes heterogeneity in Maine’s fishing fleet using latent profile analysis and then quantifies the technical efficiency of Maine’s lobster industry for each profile to benchmark diversity of fishing styles and associated economic performance in Maine’s lobster fishery in the pre-warming period. The study uses a unique dataset obtained from the firm-level economic survey of the American lobster fishery operators conducted in 2010, the year before the reported environmental change in the Gulf of Maine. In total, firm-level economic and operational data were collected from 1,007 harvesters. First, the latent profile analysis was performed, identifying four fishing styles representative of the fisher’s experience, fleet’s technical capacity, and technology, and fishing ground characteristics. For each identified fishing style, we conduct the Cobb-Douglas and trans-log stochastic profit frontier analysis. Our findings indicate economic efficiencies differ based on their choice of fishing styles and found technical upgrades generally contribute to improved economic performance in the pre-warming period. Reported societal benefits associated with employment levels have characterized the lobster production environment over firm-level efficiency. This research establishes a critically important baseline for future comparison and quantification of policy reforms within the U.S. lobster fishery.
Kanae Tokunaga is an Associate Research Scientist in Coastal and Marine Resource Economics at Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI). Prior to joining GMRI, she worked as a researcher at the University of Tokyo, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency, and as a consultant for the Environmental Defense Fund. In her research, she applies quantitative and qualitative research methods, including bioeconomic modeling, econometrics, surveys, and interviews, to approach coastal and marine resource management issues. She is interested in understanding the efficiency, efficacy, and stability of various fisheries management institutions, and how they may be impacted by climate change and other environmental changes. She is also interested in understanding various aspects of socio-economic activities that take place in coastal communities, and how they shape coastal and marine resource use. She values and enjoys collaborative research and continues to work with researchers from diverse disciplines, while also working closely with coastal communities, policymakers, and industries.