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Development of the South Canterbury / Otago southern bluefin tuna fishery

O'Donnell, D. K.
Sandrey, R. A.
Fields of Research
There is concern that many of New Zealand's inshore fish species are being overfished to the extent that fishing effort will have to be reduced to ensure the continued existence of some species as commercial stocks. A dual solution of both reducing the total level of fishing effort and transferring fishing effort to alternative fisheries to alleviate the problem is possible. This report examines the economics of transferring fishing effort to southern bluefin tuna capture off the South Canterbury / Otago coast, and is therefore an example of the problems and potential in transferring fishing effort. The study pays particular attention to the extension needs in developing fisheries using the results of a census of skippers in the region. Two chapters have been included to give the reader some background to the southern bluefin tuna fishery and the South Canterbury/Otago fishery. From this information the potential benefits of development, the direct cost of catching bluefin and the opportunity cost of foregoing catching traditional species have been estimated. The indirect costs of providing the necessary infrastructure for development were estimated from the survey. The survey also provided information on the readiness of fishermen and their vessels to undertake southern bluefin tuna fishing. This paper does not consider the effect on the traditional fish stocks of transferring catching effort to alternative fisheries. However, consideration is given to the economics of transferring catching effort to alternative fisheries regardless of the reasons for having an effort reduction scheme. The cost benefit analysis has seven scenarios based on the extent to which developing the bluefin fishing is able to alleviate the present inshore fisheries management problems.