Economic valuation of illegal fishing: An empirical study of beach seine ban enforcement in Lake Victoria, Kenya

  • David Ouma Mboya
  • Daði Kristófersson
  • Roseline Awino Okwach
Keywords: Beach seine ban, Illegal fishing, Lake Victoria, Rational criminality


Beach seining was banned in Kenya in 2001 largely due to growth overfishing. To-date compliance to this regulation remains a challenge to managers and policy makers. This paper analyses enforcement records in Lake Victoria between 2001 and 2012 and applies the model of rational criminality to estimate the economic incentives to violate the ban. The results show a positive expected net benefit of fishing in violation of this ban equal to Ksh1 1,079 for seine owners and 746.75 for fishing crew. . This result is mostly due to a low probability of detection (pd = 0.1390) and arrest of perpetrators (pa_c = 0.1136, for crew and pa_o = 0.2300 for seine owner). Court penalty was on average Ksh 6.769.10 with most common fine of Ksh 10,000. Sensitivity analysis shows that although increasing fines can reduce violation very high fines would be needed to make violations unprofitable. On the other hand the analysis shows that violations can be made economically unprofitable for seine owners by relatively small increases in the probability of detection (26%), because of the cost to the owner associated with confiscation of detected seines. The results therefore indicate that an effective strategy to ensure compliance would be to increase detection rate by increasing surveillance effort.

Key words: Beach seine ban, Illegal fishing, Lake Victoria, Rational criminality


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eISSN: 0002-0036