Project number: 2001-065
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $298,186.00
Principal Investigator: John Nicholls
Organisation: Data Analysis Australia (DAA)
Project start/end date: 24 Jul 2001 - 30 Aug 2004


This project will fulfill substantive and practical needs at both state and national levels:

1) Using existing socio-economic methodologies, the project will provide decision-makers with the results of socio-economic analyses of the benefits and costs of redistributing specific fisheries resources. Thus, the project will help to resolve potentially conflict-ridden allocation decisions by extending the State’s use of a consistent decision-making framework based on socio-economic information.

2) Using socio-economic analysis, the project will advance a consistent methodology and set of tools for rational and defensible fisheries management decisions.

3) By providing supporting information for Fisheries WA’s use of integrated coastal fisheries management (ICFM), the project will help to ensure the ESD of WA’s fisheries resources.

4) By virtue of (i) the types of case studies chosen and (ii) the use of recognized economic evaluation tools, the project will provide substantive guidance for other fisheries management agencies facing similar inter-sectoral ESD-related issues.


1. The benefit-cost analyses of fisheries facing intra- and inter-sectoral allocation issues will generate socio-economic data regarding the potential benefits and costs associated with reallocating within and amongst different stakeholder groups in several types of fisheries.
2. Specifically, the particular case studies will provide explicit assessments of the potential benefits and costs of reallocations in three fisheries. These particular fisheries are representative of ESD-related allocation issues in many of Australia’s fisheries:(i.) intersectoral allocation: the Cockburn Sound Crab fishery - a localized crab fishery in an area of increasing coastal residential and industrial development
(ii.) inter- and intra-sectoral allocation: the Perth Metropolitan abalone fishery - an abalone fishery in which the rapidly expanding recreational sector is quite spatially discrete from the commercial sector but harvests the same stocks
(iii.) inter- and intra-sectoral allocation: the ‘finfish’ fishery, including snapper and dhufish - a multispecies finfish fishery that is both used by commercial fishers as (i) part of a diversified portfolio and, increasingly, as (ii) a directed target fishery and used by recreational fishers as a directed species fishery of growing importance.

Final report

Author: John Nicholls
Final Report • 2004-10-21 • 2.56 MB


Because sustainable use of fisheries-related resources is finite, the sharing or allocation of these resources is inevitable. It is also clear that allocation decisions can be enormously contentious amongst different stakeholder groups, may be politically difficult, and are typically a significant drain on fisheries management agencies’ and stakeholder interests’ limited resources. Nonetheless, fisheries management agencies have an obligation to the public to understand impacts of allocating-and reallocating-fisheries resources so that the balancing act and the trade-offs that characterize fisheries management resource allocation decisions are more defensible and the Agencies and stakeholder interests are better placed to address the socio-economic outcomes within the decision making framework.

The research in this project is to present a benefit cost framework based on economic principles for evaluating resource allocation options, and, then, to apply the socio-economic valuation methodologies and techniques in three Western Australian case study fisheries. This is to test the robustness of the information derived from such analysis to aid the resolution of resource sharing issues between commercial and recreational stakeholders. The techniques used will be applicable elsewhere and the results, although specific to the three case study fisheries, will provide guidance for other State fisheries management agencies that inevitably face similar allocation situations.

This research provides further methodological development and empirical data by case studies extending the value of other FRDC-sponsored research regarding sector-specific socio-economic valuation (Hundloe, et al), and inter-sectoral equity issues relating to ESD.

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