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Fisher skills and compliance with effort‐limiting fishing regulations in a developing country: The case of Ghana

Wisdom Akpalu (Farmingdale State College, State University of New York, Farmingdale, New York, USA)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 5 July 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The formal model of economics of crime developed by Becker is based on the assumption that a miscreant knows with certainty the benefit that accrues to a criminal activity. The purpose of this paper is to relax this assumption and establish a link between technical efficiency and commission of fishery crimes in a developing country where fishing techniques are rudimentary making catch volumes uncertain.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper extends the neoclassical model of crime developed by Becker to account for catch uncertainties. The extended model predicts that, in addition to the risk and severity of punishment, less skilful fishermen are more likely to violate effort‐limiting fishing regulations. Primary data were obtained through a survey of 258 artisanal fishermen from the Central and Western Regions of Ghana to test the predictions of the model.

Findings

The prediction that less skillful fishers are more likely to violate effort‐limiting fishing regulations is confirmed by the data. Other factors that determined the rate of violation of the fishing regulation include the risk of detection, severity of punishment, rate of time preference, age of the fisher, perceived legitimacy of the regulation and respect for religious norms.

Social implications

If returns to illegal activities are uncertain, policies that improve the efficiency of potential violators may decrease the rate or extent of violation. Moreover, minimizing overfishing will improve livelihood and reduce poverty among fishers.

Originality/value

The paper makes a novel attempt at linking efficiency (or skills) to violation of regulations.

Keywords

Citation

Akpalu, W. (2011), "Fisher skills and compliance with effort‐limiting fishing regulations in a developing country: The case of Ghana", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 38 No. 8, pp. 666-675. https://doi.org/10.1108/03068291111143884

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited