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Abstract

This paper empirically illustrates the importance of market considerations for conservation with the U.S. bluefin tuna fishery. It measures the actual gains of a systemic approach to fisheries conservation where market, fishing technology, and fish population information are integrated in the regulatory process. In particular, we investigate the potential for increased rent extraction from the U.S. North Atlantic bluefin tuna fishery. We investigate how much the Japanese sashimi market would reward the U.S. fishery for improvements in quality, and whether the expected rise in revenues would be cost-effective. The optimal results indicate moving away from gears such as purse-seines and long-lines in favor of harpoons and rod-and-reels, and concentrating the catch towards the end of the season. The analyses further indicate that it is more profitable to harvest fewer tuna but of greater size and quality than to focus on a great number of fish captures. This allows for a lower mortality and therefore a greater level of conservation of the resource. [EconLit citations: F180, Q220.] © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Agribusiness 21: 17–36, 2005.