Saturday, September 8, 2012

Just for the Halibut

I've experienced halibut sticker price shock lately and I was wondering why.

In the following chart, I'm taking the amount of halibut that can be caught in the Alaska region and dividing it by the population of the United States.


Click to enlarge.

Management, Overfishing, & Alaskan Halibut

Today the halibut fishery is a closed fishery. A vessel cannot participate unless its skipper or crewmembers own a share of the total allowable catch--called an individual fishing quota, or IFQ (also called ITQs: Individual Transferable Quotas). Initially allocated to skippers with a history in the fishery, the quotas can now be bought and sold like private property. A fisherman can enter the fishery only by purchasing quota from someone who wants to sell their share.

Where have I seen this before?

August 31, 2011
New York Cab Medallions Worth More Than Gold: Chart of the Day

The CHART OF THE DAY shows the cost of a New York City taxicab license has increased more than 1,000 percent since 1980.

August 18, 2012
New York loses bid to raise $1.4 bln with taxi medallion sale

Taxi cab owners said the value of their medallions would be reduced by the sale of so many new ones.

Halibut isn't exactly like taxi cabs of course. In theory, we can add taxi cabs over the long-term. We might not be able to add halibut though. That's especially true if we keep eating halibut as the world's human population grows.

August 22, 2012
Make population growth work

A growing population can bring economic benefits. It goes hand-in-hand with increased prosperity and better standards of living. It delivers a larger, better-skilled labour force and more vibrant cities. The real challenge is not to stop population growth. It is making population growth work.

A growing population allows us to push our debts onto them and it also gives us greater fools who will buy our overpriced assets. Once we figure out how to stop them from eating our halibut, what's not to like?

Truth? Sarcasm? Gallows humor? All of the above? You make the call. Sigh.

Source Data:
NOAA Fisheries: Individual Fishing Quota Halibut Reports
St. Louis Fed: Population

6 comments:

Stagflationary Mark said...

In hindsight, I don't think I was sarcastic enough. I should have said...

A growing population allows us to push our debts onto them and it also gives us greater fools who will buy our overpriced assets. Once we figure out how to stop them from eating our halibut *and* miraculously find jobs for all of them, what's not to like?

Whew. That was a close one.

Stagflationary Mark said...

The Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, one of the plaintiffs, said thousands of owner-drivers and hundreds of small business owners were "breathing a sigh of relief that their livelihoods will not be destroyed by this flawed and destructive plan."

Heaven forbid the free market allowed taxi cabs to flourish without a government issued medallion. That would indeed be a disaster of epic proportions.

The sarcasm must flow.

Mr Slippery said...

Soylent Green.

Why does the answer always come from a 1970s sci-fi movie?

Stagflationary Mark said...

Mr Slippery,

Why does the answer always come from a 1970s sci-fi movie?

We'll all be fine as long as we don't ask ourselves too many silly questions about the future food supply.

Craig M. Brandenburg said...

One can relish the varied idiocy of human action during a panic to the full, for, while it is a time of great tragedy, nothing is being lost but money.

—John Kenneth Galbraith


Bad economic news is a downer for sure, but when we talk about stock prices or even the GDP we're mostly talking about the tokens we pass around to represent actual wealth. But bad news about the food supply or water supply or the supply of other physical resources is grim indeed.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Craig M. Brandenburg,

But bad news about the food supply or water supply or the supply of other physical resources is grim indeed.

Truth.