Democracy Center - Fishery control. Economic advice

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Let us examine the contribution of the economics to Iceland's fishery control after most of  the fishing banks came under Icelandic rule forty years ago. In my article “Ideas behind Iceland's fishery control“ I documented that prominent economic advisers in Iceland had thought out ideas on how this control should be. An economic provision was referred, making an appropriate utilization of the commons, the fishing banks after all being commons. This provision has never been applied.

             The next important economic comment for these circumstances are the following statement by Rognvaldur Hannesson in 1994 (then professor in fishing economics at the Norwegian College of Economics, recently retired): “It is possible to have a long-range control of the utilization of the fish stocks in a limited area where the fluctuations in the environments are not too large. All lasting catch depends on the appropriate gauzing of the stocks, among other things regarding the supply of nourishment and the predation of the young fish by the older ones. This description, I believe, applies to cod in the fishing banks of Iceland.“

            The comment is in an article in the newspaper Morgunbladid ( 6th June). In April next year Faculty of Economics, University of Iceland, arranged a seminar where Rognvaldur Hannesson explained how fishery control could be organized where boats from many states were fishing, taking Barents Sea as the example. This was an impressive mathematical elucidation. As happens with mathematical studies in economics nothing useful came out of it. Maybe the reason is that mathematics poses so many preconditions. The seminar was attended by some outside the faculty, together with economists which had been occupied with fishery control, at the faculty and the National Economic Institute. After the introduction the conditions for fishery control were discussed by the non-faculty seminarists and the lecturer who confirmed his view presented above. The faculty economists and the National Economic Institute economists did not participate in the discussion.

            Those who want to get acquainted with the kernel of economic fishery control should read the article by Rognvaldur Hannesson of 1994. It remains to be said that the article is an answer to an open letter from the present author. There has never been any decision of fishery control in Iceland supported by the kind of arguments presented in this article.

Morgunbladid 22nd August 2015 [translated from the Icelandic]