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  1. Subsidies are widely criticized in fisheries management for promoting global fishing capacity growth and overharvesting. Scientists worldwide have thus called for a ban on “harmful” subsidies that artificially increase fishing profits, resulting in the recent agreement among members of the World Trade Organization to eliminate such subsidies. The argument for banning harmful subsidies relies on the assumption that fishing will be unprofitable after eliminating subsidies, incentivizing some fishermen to exit and others to refrain from entering. These arguments follow from open-access governance regimes where entry has driven profits to zero. Yet many modern-day fisheries are conducted under limited-access regimes that limit capacity and maintain economic profits, even without subsidies. In these settings, subsidy removal will reduce profits but perhaps without any discernable effect on capacity. Importantly, until now, there have been no empirical studies of subsidy reductions to inform us about their likely quantitative impacts. In this paper, we evaluate a policy reform that reduced fisheries subsidies in China. We find that China’s subsidy reductions accelerated the rate at which fishermen retired their vessels, resulting in reduced fleet capacity, particularly among older and smaller vessels. Notably, the reduction of harmful subsidies was only partly responsible for reducing fleet capacity; an increase in vessel retirement subsidies was also a necessary driver of capacity reduction. Our study demonstrates that the efficacy of removing harmful subsidies depends on the policy environment in which removals occur. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 27, 2024
  2. The emergence of ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) has broadened the policy scope of fisheries management by accounting for the biological and ecological connectivity of fisheries. Less attention, however, has been given to the economic connectivity of fisheries. If fishers consider multiple fisheries when deciding where, when, and how much to fish, then management changes in one fishery can generate spillover impacts in other fisheries. Catch-share programs are a popular fisheries management framework that may be particularly prone to generating spillovers given that they typically change fishers’ incentives and their subsequent actions. We use data from Alaska fisheries to examine spillovers from each of the main catch-share programs in Alaska. We evaluate changes in participation—a traditional indicator in fisheries economics—in both the catch-share and non–catch-share fisheries. Using network analysis, we also investigate whether catch-share programs change the economic connectivity of fisheries, which can have implications for the socioeconomic resilience and robustness of the ecosystem, and empirically identify the set of fisheries impacted by each Alaska catch-share program. We find that cross-fishery participation spillovers and changes in economic connectivity coincide with some, but not all, catch-share programs. Our findings suggest that economic connectivity and the potential for cross-fishery spillovers deserve serious consideration, especially when designing and evaluating EBFM policies. 
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