Are fisheries going from bad to worse? The case of the Northeast Arctic cod
The Northeast Arctic cod is one of the few fish stocks with a long time series of landings, stock size, recruitment and rate of exploitation. This paper discusses how this stock and the catches it supports have developed since 1900. Both catches and the stock increased from 1900 until after the Second World War. After the war the stock declined and so did the catches from the late 1950s. A rising rate of exploitation is the most likely explanation. Norway and the Soviet Union assumed joint control of the stock after establishing Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) in 1977, but they failed to take advantage of this and reverse the declining trend until 1990. The stock has not yet been rebuilt to the levels of the 1950s or 1960s. Norway subsidised its fisheries generously in the 1970s and 1980s, which retarded the exit of labour from the industry. This policy has now been abandoned and structural changes such as closed entry and individual transferable quotas have been implemented in order to increase economic efficiency.
Keywords: fisheries economics, individual transferable quotas, exclusive economic zones, EEZ, fisheries management, fisheries subsidies, Atlantic cod, fish stocks, Norway