The Norwegian Winter Herring Fishery: A Story of Technological Progress and Stock Collapse

Daniel V. Gordon and Rögnvaldur Hannesson


In the 1970s, herring stocks in the Northeast Atlantic were nearly fished to extinction. This collapse is usually attributed to technological advances. We investigate the empirical impact of technological shocks on herring stocks. We show evidence that the power block was the principal factor in the demise of the stock. We also look at the sensitivity of catch to stock size and technological shocks. We measure a significant stock effect in the 1950s, contrary to what we expect. A simulation model indicates that this could have been caused by an increasing range of the fishing fleet due to ongoing technological progress. (JEL C53, Q22)

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