My first peer-reviewed publication is an encyclopedia article written with colleagues in economics in UC Davis:

Economics and Ecology of Open-Access Fisheries

K. Fuller, D. Kling, K. Kroetz, N. Ross and J.N. Sanchirico (2013)

In: Shogren, J.F., (ed.) Encyclopedia of Energy, Natural Resource, and Environmental Economics, Vol. 2 Encyclopedia of Energy, Natural Resource, and Environmental Economics p.39-49. Amsterdam: Elsevier.


In open-access fisheries, participation and harvest by fishermen are unregulated. Under these conditions, the amount of fishing is greater than the socially optimal level, the economic profits from fishing are dissipated, and fish stocks are depleted and can even be driven to extinction. A large body of theoretical and empirical research has demonstrated the robustness of these results.

Although the basic outcomes hold across a variety of systems, the behavior of an open-access fishery can be complex. Simple models of fish ecology coupled with harvester behavior can explain boom-and-bust cycles in a fishery and fishing communities and complex supply responses. More complex ecological models of open-access fisheries illustrate the interactions among fishing, fish populations, and other parts of the ecosystem, as well as explain why some fishing regulations produce unintended consequences. Studying open access provides a foundation for understanding fishery economics, a baseline from which to measure the gains of implementing fishing regulations, and lends insight to the design of better regulatory systems.

The process of writing this article was interesting. Two years ago, when I was a first-year graduate student, my economics advisor Jim Sanchirico began convening lab meetings. This isn’t common practice among economists as far as I know, and we were trying to figure out how to use the meetings constructively. Around the same time, Jim received a request to write a few articles for this encyclopedia, and we figured it would be a good exercise to read the original literature on this subject and write the articles together.

This was a great chance for me. I had zero exposure to the natural resource economics literature and wouldn’t get around to courses in it for another year. Also, as a first-year ecology grad student working with a group of more experienced economists, I was a pretty good proxy for the target audience of outsiders to the field. So I got play the role of naive reader, asking for clearer explanations and less jargon from my co-authors. I also wrote some of the introductory and ecological sections.

I’m grateful to Jim for putting me on board this project, and for the chance to work with great colleagues in a different field, but I probably won’t do something similar again. I don’t support the publication model. Ironically, while the article is about “Open-Access Fisheries,” it is about as far from an open-access publication as can be. It’s in a $1500 encyclopedia published by Elsevier. We received a very small honorarium1, and Elsevier will reap profits by selling access to this encyclopedia to libraries as part of some overpriced bundle. I’d rather spend my taxpayer-funded fellowship creating resources available to all.

If you’d like a copy, email me by clicking here

  1. If that’s what it is called. The arrangement was, I think, one or two hundred dollars per article, which the lab was supposed to split for dinner and beer. Still waiting on that part, Jim.

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