From Voluntary to Monitored: The Development of the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna
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The nature of high seas fisheries as a common pool resource necessitates international agreements to regulate fishing behavior to preserve commercial fish stocks. The Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) is an international fisheries agreement that began as a voluntary agreement in 1985 between three major fishing nations: Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. In this paper, I assess changes in state fishing behavior as the CCSBT progressed through three different stages: the voluntary fishing agreement in 1985, the formalized CCSBT treaty implemented in 1994, and the subsequent addition of stricter monitoring provisions beginning in 2008. My counterfactual analysis shows that while the CCSBT’s specific goal for Southern Bluefin Tuna stock recovery has not yet been achieved, the treaty has effectively reduced Southern Bluefin Tuna catch below what member states would have caught otherwise, promising results that can inform the crafting of future international agreements.