The capture fisheries sector is a critical source of animal protein in Africa. In addition, the sector creates jobs, and contributes significantly to agricultural GDP and non-traditional export revenues. Currently, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities are threatening the livelihoods of fishers whose livelihoods depend directly and indirectly on fishing. In West Africa alone, IUU constitutes about 33-50% of total capture fish landings. A typical illegal activity known as saiko involves trawl vessels catching pelagic species within the inshore exclusive zones (IEZ) using gears that plane off the benthic floor of the ocean, disguising the landing as bycatches and transshipping them to artisanal fishing boats to be retailed at the shore. Fishing within the IEZ, targeting impropriate species, and transshipment at sea are all illegal activities. However, due to the limited capacity of the regulatory bodies, fishing regulations are inadequately enforced. This project seeks to, first, investigate factors that inform the decision of some artisanal fishers to participate in such a coordinated fisheries crime, which imposes negative externality on artisanal fishery. Second, to design incentive structures that are likely to discourage misreporting of catches when targeted catches are not directly observable to the decision maker, but by-catch composition and distribution are known. Third, to find out the extent to which illegal activity impacts socio-economic wellbeing of artisanal fishers who participate in it. The study involves both empirical analysis and theoretical modeling. For the former, a survey instrument will be designed and administered in the Central and Western Regions of Ghana. The research team has considerable experience in collecting and analyzing data on fisheries crimes. The theoretical model will be constructed and simulated.
Environment for Development initiative