The incentives of a resource owner: Evidence from a private oyster fishery

Lawrence E. Eagling*, Elizabeth C. Ashton, Josh Eagle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


European flat oyster Ostrea edulis fisheries were once abundant around the UK coastline. The sole remaining productive O. edulis fishery in Scotland is in Loch Ryan. This fishery has been privately owned and managed by a single family since 1701. Economic theory predicts that ownership, whether public or private, is a necessary condition for rational fishery management. In this paper, a series of four leases and a licence are examined, covering an 85-year period over the 20th and 21st century, to examine whether the management of the Loch Ryan fishery conforms to the expected norms of rational management. The leases show that, over this period, the owners appear more willing to expend resources on regulating tenant behaviour, supporting the conclusion that successive generations of owners developed an evolving sense of what "rational management" might require. The results of this study could inform the management of other fisheries - both public and private - by emphasising the importance of learning from experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-35
Number of pages8
JournalMarine Policy
Early online date15 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2015


  • Lease
  • Licence
  • Native oyster fishery
  • Ostrea edulis
  • Private ownership
  • Rational fisheries management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Law
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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