We empirically analyze drivers of the stock health of marine resources. We follow Copeland and Taylor (2009) to evaluate the extent to which the state of the stocks is explained by factors such as excess fishing effort and capacity, the ability of the government to enforce regulations, and incentives for the regulator to protect the resource. Our study is based on a unique cross-sectional dataset. We use Fishery Performance Indicators data and open source data from 95 fisheries in 27 countries. These fisheries represent about 12% of the world catch during 2016. We use the cross-sectional variability existing between different fisheries and countries to identify the effects. We find empirical support for the central hypotheses of the model, with expected signs for several indicators associated with excess fishing capacity, the capacity of managers to effectively control fishing effort, and the incentives and ability to enforce regulations.
Keywords: fisheries performance indicators; fish stock health; fishing effort and capacity; government enforcement; incentives for protection