Civil Conflict, Crowding-Out Effects and World Fisheries, 1952–2004
29 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2010
Date Written: August 11, 2010
While studies have demonstrated the negative impact of World War II on the industrial fish catch of developed nations, there has been no systematic study assessing the effect of civil conflict on fisheries. This paper surveys the effects of civil conflict on marine and inland fish catch, focusing on the effects of conflict through redeployment of labor, population displacement, counterinsurgency strategy and tactics, and third-party encroachment into territorial waters. Analysis of 123 countries from 1952 to 2004 demonstrates a strong, statistically robust and negative relationship between civil conflict and fisheries, with civil wars (1000 battle deaths) depressing catch by over 17 percent relative to pre-war levels. Robust evidence of a Phoenix effect is lacking: post-conflict fisheries do not quickly bounce back to pre-war catch levels due to rapid growth. Analysis of conflict episodes indicates that conflict intensity, measured by battle deaths, negatively affects fish catch, while population displacement and conflict proximity to the coast do not. While these findings contribute to the growing literature on the economic effects of civil conflict, they also are important for regional fisheries management organizations, which must increasingly pay attention to factors that are exogenous to oceanic conditions but nevertheless dramatically affect the utilization of aquatic resources.
Keywords: fisheries, civil conflict, peace dividend, FAO catch data, fisheries management
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