On international fisheries agreements, entry deterrence, and ecological uncertainty

Hans Ellefsen, Lone Grønbæk, Lars Ravn-Jonsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


A prerequisite for an international fisheries agreement (IFA) to be stable is that parties expect the benefits from joining the agreement to exceed the benefits from free riding on the agreement, and parties only comply with the agreement as long as this is true. The agreement, therefore, implicitly builds on an expectation of the ecological condition of the natural resource. Game theoretical models often assume that all parties have the same (often perfect) information about the resource and that the exploitation is an equilibrium use of the stock. As stated by experts in natural science, the fish ecology still has many open questions, for example how to predict population dynamics, migration patterns, food availability, etc. In some cases, parties disagree about the state, abundance, and migration of a stock, which can reduce the possibilities of reaching an agreement for exploitation of the stock. This paper develops a model and applies it to the North-East Atlantic mackerel fishery, in order to analyze an IFA under different ecological scenarios, and also combines the model with the economic theory of entry deterrence. The model is used empirically to determine whether the parties with original access to the resource have an advantage when forming an agreement with a new party in having the ability to fish the stock down to a smaller size and thereby prevent another party from entering into the fishery. With a basis in entry deterrence, combined with lack of information, the paper illustrates the obstacles that have made an agreement for the North-East Atlantic mackerel so difficult to achieve.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-125
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2017


  • Bio-economic modeling
  • Cooperative game
  • Ecological uncertainty
  • Entry deterrence
  • Nash game
  • Stability of sharing rule


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