Contributing to Fisheries Sustainability: Inequality Analysis in the High Seas Catches of Countries
Gutiérrez Huerta, María José
Inguanzo Lorenzo, Belén
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Sustainability 11(11) : (2019) // Article ID UNSP 3133
The uneven exploitation of scarce natural resources threatens their sustainability by altering the commitment of agents. In fisheries, a great portion of catches is known to be concentrated in a few countries. Aiming to provide a more complete view on the distributional issues associated to the exploitation of common marine resources, this article focuses on the analysis of catches from high seas, which can be understood as the common marine resources under the current legislation. The analysis focuses on the evolution of several inequality indexes (the Gini index as well as others from the Atkinson and General Entropy families) from 1960 to 2014. Additionally, the Theil index is decomposed to observe whether this inequality is given by biological (between inequality) or technological (within inequality) reasons. All inequality indexes confirm that the exploitation of fishing resources in high seas is very unequal across countries. However, this inequality has decreased between 29% and 65% from 1960 to 2014. When considering the origin of catches, between 46% and 82% of the inequality observed is due to technological and fishermen capacity differences across the countries operating within fishing areas, while between 18% and 54% of the inequality can be attributed to biological differences between the fishing areas. Over time, the within component has decreased more than 35%, reflecting the greater reliance of more countries on high seas fisheries and their catching up on fishing technology. Being aware on the existence and the nature of catches inequality observed is necessary to develop successful policies for maintaining the sustainability of the fishery resources.