Improving the economic performance of fisheries is becoming increasingly important in fisheries management, and in some cases, maximum economic yield (MEY) is set as a key management target. However, associated with MEY is a level of fishing activity that is lower than would otherwise occur, even in fisheries managed to achieve the maximum sustainable yield. This will result in losses in economic activity elsewhere in the economy, potentially resulting in a net loss to society in the short to medium term. In this paper, an input-output framework is used to estimate the net economic impact of achieving MEY in Australian fisheries. While incomes are reduced in other sectors of the economy, the net impact of achieving MEY in fisheries is dependent on how total catches are likely to change relative to their levels under current management. It is argued that, at least in most Australian fisheries, achieving MEY will result in a net economic benefit to society. Local communities are likely to be included among the set of main beneficiaries, with potential losses being incurred elsewhere in the economy. Sectors that potentially lose as a result of the transition to MEY previously benefited from overcapitalisation in fisheries, and hence higher incomes in these sectors were an artefact of the market failure in fisheries.


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