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Resource Economics I: The Economics of World Fisheries
FRE 523
Instructor: Dr. Gordon Munro

(Fisheries (Part One))

Dr. Rashid Sumaila

(Fisheries and aquaculture (Part Two))


Office: TBA
Office Hours: TBA
Class Schedule: Jan 9 to Feb 17

Tue and Thur, 10:00-11:30

Classroom: MCML 154
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Course Information

Class Time: Jan 9th - Feb 17th, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 – 11:30

Classroom: MCML 154


In this course, we examine the interdependence between our economies and natural ecosystems. We analyze resource extraction, depletion, protection and management in the context of world fisheries and aquaculture, which provide employment for not fewer than 120 million persons, with most to be found in developing fishing states. We focus on the efficiency of economic decision- making and the deviations from efficient outcomes, commonly observed in these contexts. We also discuss the causes of these failures, and use an analytical framework to examine the choices faced by policy-makers as they strive to correct these failures, and bring about fisheries that are capable of making a substantial and sustainable contribution to the world economy and food supply.

Learning Objectives

  1. Identify inefficiencies arising from "open access" natural resources.
  2. Build a dynamic based framework to analyze the optimal exploitation of the natural resource.
  3. Identify the specific economic dynamics influencing use of trans-boundary aquatic resources. 
  4. Identify the production, and non-market interactions between wild and farmed fisheries.
  5. Use the course framework to analyze fishery policies in terms of their market and non-market costs and benefits. 
  6. Gain knowledge of, critique, and evaluate local, national and world fishery issues.


Fisheries (Part One) – Gordon Munro


Office Hours: To be announced.

Fisheries and aquaculture (Part Two) – Rashid Sumaila


Office Hours: To be announced.


FRE 502: Food Market Analysis or FRE 501: Commodity Markets and Price Analysis

Course Format

12 lectures of 1.5 hours, twice a week for 6 weeks.

Course Requirements

Exams and Problem Sets Date Percent of Grade
Two assignments To be announced 50 percent
Exam To be announced 40 percent
Class Participation Contributions to class discussions. 10 percent


The assignments will consist of one problem set and one short essay. The problem set will require the students to build a framework to analyze the optimal exploitation of the natural resource and to analyze fishery policies in terms of their market and non-market costs and benefits. The short essay will allow the students to gain knowledge of, critique, and evaluate local and topical fishery issues.


Students will take one exam covering the fisheries section. The exam will last 120 minutes, and will be comprehensive (will cover both sections). You must take the exam at the scheduled time unless you have another exam at the same time, serious illness, or an emergency. You must validate with documentation the reason(s) why you will be unable to take any exam. There shall be two assignments. 

Class Participation

The class participation grade depends on your contribution to class discussions. All contribution is appreciated, even asking questions to clarify previously taught material. The sole aim of assigning a participation grade is to encourage active learning for everyone. The instructors will assign the class participation grade. 

Policies Applicable to UBC MFRE Courses

Respectfulness in the Classroom

Students are expected to be respectful of their colleagues at all times, including faculty, staff and peers. This means being attentive and conscious of words and actions and their impact on others, listening to people with an open mind, treating all MFRE community members equally and understanding diversity. Students who act disrespectfully toward others will be asked to leave the class and be marked as absent for the day. They may also be removed from a team, lose credit for in‐class assessments and activities, or be asked to complete a group assignment individually.

Respect for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The MFRE Program strives to promote an intellectual community that is enhanced by diversity along various dimensions including status as a First Nation, Métis, Inuit, or Indigenous person, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, political beliefs, social class, and/or disability. It is critical that students from diverse backgrounds and perspectives be valued in and well‐served by their courses. Furthermore, the diversity that students bring to the classroom should be viewed as a resource, benefit, and source of strength for your learning experience. It is expected that all students and members of our community conduct themselves with empathy and respect for others.

COVID‐19 Considerations

All students must assess themselves daily for COVID‐19 symptoms prior to coming to class. Please stay home if you exhibit symptoms or have tested positive for COVID‐19. A list of COVID‐19 symptoms can be found here . Use the BC Ministry of Health’s self‐assessment tool), to help determine whether further assessment or testing for COVID‐19 is recommended. Full UBC COVID‐19 Campus Rules can be found here . Note: Please stay home if you exhibit symptoms or have tested positive for COVID‐19 and immediately contact Olivier Ntwali, Academic Program Coordinator, your Course Instructor, and your Course Assistant.

Recordings and In‐Class Attendance

There is no required distribution of recordings of class. Recording will be provided based upon on the decision of the course instructor. Classes are designed as and are intended to be in‐person. Your attendance is expected. If you are unable to attend, the policy regarding missed classes described in the MFRE code of conduct and syllabus applies. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the materials you need for missed classes.

Plagiarism Penalties

Academic dishonesty and plagiarism are taken very seriously in the MFRE program. All incidences of plagiarism will be escalated to the MFRE Academic Director. Incidences of academic misconduct may result in a reduction of grade, a mark of zero on the assignment/exams of concern, failing the course or program, escalation/referral to the Dean’s office and/or President’s Advisory Committee on Student Discipline, and/or expulsion from UBC. Note: If a MFRE student is required to extend his/her program due to failed course or unsatisfactory progress, they will need to pay the full MFRE tuition fees for that term(s) regardless of the number of courses that need to be retaken. It is each student’s responsibility to review and understand what constitutes academic dishonesty and plagiarism and how to avoid them. Review MFRE Code of Conduct, UBC academic dishonesty policies/penalties and course‐specific policies.

Turn it In Access for MFRE Courses: Internet‐based plagiarism detection service

Turn it in has been set up for MFRE courses. Submit all assignments/papers to this service and review similarity index reports. Turn it in Login (website). For instructions: See the Student Guide to MFRE Student Guide To Setting Up And Using Turn It In on the Student Portal (website.). Use provided Class ID and Enrollment Key to access MFRE course folder, submit assignments/papers, and review similarity index reports.

Working with Others on an Assignment

You are encouraged to work with other students, but you must turn in your own individual assignment. If you have an answer that is too close to another student’s answer, this will be considered academic dishonest, and this will be managed according to the MFRE and UBC policies.

Missing Classes

Students are expected to attend all classes, labs, or workshops. If you cannot make it to a class, lab, or workshop due to a medical or personal emergency, please email your instructor, your course assistant, and Olivier Ntwali, MFRE Program Coordinator ahead of time to let them know. Students who miss classes regularly without a reasonable excuse may be subject to MFRE‐imposed penalties at the discretion of the Academic Director.

Centre for Accessibility

The Centre for Accessibility (CFA) facilitates disability‐related accommodations and programming initiatives designed to remove barriers for students with disabilities and ongoing medical conditions. If you are registered with the CfA and are eligible for exam accommodations, it is your responsibility to let Olivier Ntwali, Academic Program Coordinator, and each of your Course Instructors know. You should book your exam writing with the CFA using its exam reservation system: for midterm exams or quizzes, at least 7 days in advance; and final exams, 7 days before the start of the formal exam period.


All materials of this course (i.e., course handouts, lecture slides, assessments, course readings) are the intellectual property of the instructor or licensed to be used in this course by the copyright owner. Redistribution of these materials by any means without permission of the copyright holder(s) constitutes a breach of copyright and may lead to academic discipline and could be subject to legal action. Any lecture recordings are for the sole use of the instructor and students enrolled in the class. In no case may the lecture recording, or part of the recording be used by students for any other purpose, either personal or commercial. Further, audio or video recording of classes are not permitted without the prior consent of the instructor.

Academic Honesty

Academic dishonesty and plagiarism are taken very seriously in the MFRE program and can result in a range of punitive measures, which could include failing the program. It is each student’s responsibility to review and understand what constitutes academic dishonesty and plagiarism and how to avoid them.

Academic honesty is essential to the continued functioning of UBC as an institution of higher learning and research. All UBC students are expected to behave as honest and responsible members of an academic community. Breach of those expectations or failure to follow the appropriate policies, principles, rules, and guidelines of the University with respect to academic honesty may result in disciplinary action.

Academic misconduct that is subject to disciplinary measures includes, but is not limited, to the following:

  • Plagiarism, which is intellectual theft, occurs where an individual submits or presents the oral or written work of another person as his or her own. In many UBC courses, you will be required to submit material in electronic form. The electronic material will be submitted to a service which UBC subscribes, called TurnItIn. This service checks textual material for originality. It is increasingly used in North American universities. For more information, review TurnItIn website online.
  • Cheating, which may include, but is not limited to falsification of any material subject to academic evaluation, unauthorized collaborative work; or use of unauthorized means to complete an examination.
  • Submitting others work as your own, may include but not limited to i. using, or attempting to use, another student’s answers; ii. providing answers to other students; iii.  failing to take reasonable measures to protect answers from use by other students; or iv. in the case of students who study together, submitting identical or virtually identical assignments for evaluation unless permitted by the course instructor.
  • Resubmission of Material, submitting the same, or substantially the same, essay, presentation, or assignment more than once (whether the earlier submission was at this or another institution) unless prior approval has been obtained from the instructor(s) to whom the assignment is to be submitted.
  • Use of academic ghostwriting services, including hiring of writing or research services and submitting papers or assignments as his or her own.

Student Responsibility: Students are responsible for informing themselves of the guidelines of acceptable and non-acceptable conduct for examinations and graded assignments as presented via FRE code of conduct guidelines; course syllabus and instructors; and UBC academic misconduct policies, Review the following web sites for details:

Penalties for Academic Dishonesty: The integrity of academic work depends on the honesty of all those who work in this environment and the observance of accepted conventions. Academic misconduct is treated as a serious offence at UBC and within the MFRE program. Penalties for academic dishonesty are applied at the discretion of the course instructor. Incidences of academic misconduct may result in a reduction of grade or a mark of zero on the assignment or examination with more serious consequences being applied if the matter is referred to the Dean’s office and/or President’s Advisory Committee on Student Discipline. Note: If a student needs to extend his/her program due to a failed course or unsatisfactory progress, they will have to pay the full MFRE tuition fees for that term/s.

Online Course Material

Available at Canvas. You are required to regularly login to your course page for FRE 523. Your syllabus, course-lecture slides, additional material, announcements, assignments, and grades will be available on Canvas.

Course Outline and Readings

How to use this course outline: This outline is a collection of papers, and topics commonly taught in resource economics. Wherever possible a stable link to the paper is provided. While some of these links will work anywhere, many of them are digitally protected requiring a subscription. You can access this material by logging in through your account at the UBC library, or on any computer connected via Ethernet on the UBC network. For some articles no link is provided, in that case, please search for the article (if you search via the UBC library you will find access to its electronic version).

Tentative Lecture Schedule (to be finalized)


Week 1

Lecture I - Jan 10 (Gordon Munro)

State of world captures fisheries and aquaculture. Review of the evolution of the world capture fisheries management problem and of the relevant international law. The biological underpinnings of economic models of capture fisheries.

Lecture II - Jan 12 (Gordon Munro)

The static economic model of capture fisheries – Gordon-Schaefer model.  Impact upon policy makers. Limitations of the model –according to H. Scott Gordon.

  • Text: Chapter 2
  • The World Bank, The Sunken Billions Revisited, 2017, Chapter 3.
Week 2

Lectures III and IV - Jan 17 and 19 (Gordon Munro)

The dynamic (capital theoretic) model of the capture fishery.  Basic model, and extensions to the model.

Week 3

Lecture V - Jan 24 (Rashid Sumaila)

Empirical applications of the dynamic economic model of the fishery (confine to intra-EEZ cases)

Lecture VI - Jan 26 (Rashid Sumaila)

Applications of the theory of the economic management of international capture fisheries: Fisheries subsidies and illegal fishing.

Week 4 and Week 5

Lecture VII and VIII - Jan 31 and Feb 2 (Gordon Munro)

The economic management of capture fisheries at the national/regional level

Lectures IX and X - Feb 7 and Feb 9 (Gordon Munro)

Management of international capture fisheries: theory and policy.

Week 6

Lectures XI and XII - Feb 14 and Feb 16 (Rashid Sumaila)

The economics of aquaculture management.