Effects of Increasing Penalties on Compliance with Fishing Regulations

Very little attention has been given to the penalty necessary to achieve compliance with fishery management laws. A penalty increase from $200 to $2,500 for shrimping in the area from 7.3-m deep water to the outer limit of the Texas Territorial Sea was imposed in 1981. Brown shrimp (Penaeus aztecus) and white shrimp (Penaeus setiferus) commercial catches and shrimping violations were used to determine if this increase reduced illegal shrimping in the closed area. Illegal landings of brown shrimp were reduced. However, violations were not eliminated. The potential profit from violating the law may be exceeding the potential fine, perhaps because of inflation.

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