Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 4295
Title: Income Diversification and Risk for Fishermen
Author: Stephen Kasperski, Daniel S. Holland
Publication Year: 2013
Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
Volume: 100
Issue: 6
Pages: 2076-2081
Keywords: fisheries,diversification,risk

Catches and prices from many fisheries exhibit high inter-annual variability leading to variability in the income derived by fishery participants. The economic risk posed by this variability might be mitigated in some cases if individuals participate in several different fisheries; particularly if revenues from those fisheries are uncorrelated or vary asynchronously. We construct indices of gross income diversification from fisheries at the level of individual vessels and evaluate how they have changed over time. We find that the current fleet of vessels on the US West Coast and in Alaska is less diverse than at any point in the past 30 years. We also find a dome shaped relationship between variability of individuals’ income and income diversification which implies that a small amount of diversification increases risk, but moderate amounts of diversification can substantially reduce the variability of income that individuals receive from fishing.
The increasing restrictions to access many marine fisheries, as well as the implementation of catch share programs (e.g., individual quotas and cooperatives), have the potential to limit fishermen’s ability to diversify their income risk across multiple fisheries.  However, unlike simply restricting access, catch share programs make it more feasible, conditional on capital availability, for fishermen to secure access to a portfolio of harvest privileges and therefore reduce their income risk. Therefore, catch share programs create both threats and opportunities for fishermen wishing to maintain diversified fishing strategies.


study of incomer diversification of fishermen from West Coast and Alaska

Theme: Ecosystem Approach to Management for the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem
Foci: Describe the interaction between human activities and ecosystem status and resilience.
Official Citation:

Kasperski, S. and D.S. Holland 2013. Income Diversification and Risk for Fishermen. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 100(6):2076-2081.  doi: 10.1073/pnas.1212278110