Designing an access system for ocean mariculture Academic Article uri icon


  • Ocean mariculture operations have been proposed as alternatives to traditional commercial wild harvests in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Unlike marine fisheries, ocean mariculture operations are designed to constrain the stocks being raised to specific geographic areas using nets, pens, or other technologies. The site-specific nature of ocean mariculture operations requires "security of tenure" (limited property rights) to designated areas of ocean space, possibly including the underlying seabed and neritic and surface waters. Although the allocation of exclusive or proprietary rights to ocean space will be a contentious issue, without security of tenure, the potential exists for other uses of the ocean to impinge upon mariculture operations. A systematic approach to the design of an access system for ocean mariculture operations should involve the following steps: (1) drawing lessons from the design of access systems for other public resources; (2) examining historical practice and current operation of access systems in other jurisdictions; (3) developing a description of the resource to be allocated (ocean space), its relevant attributes, and any potential economic side-effects (positive or negative) that are likely to occur; (4) identifying relevant social objectives; (5) developing an analytic framework within which to analyze tradeoffs among the relevant social objectives; (6) positing a relevant set of policy attributes that would enable the specified social objectives to be met, including property right transfers, (partial or complete, permanent or temporary); revenue generation; performance requirements (time limits, fees); information management; environmental protection; and fairness or equity considerations; among others.

publication date

  • 1996