Assessing Technical and Economic Efficiency of the Artisanal Dredge Fleet in the Portuguese West Coast

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Manuela Maria Oliveira
Ana Camanho
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The bivalve dredge fleet is by far the most extensively studied fleet among the Portuguese artisanal segment. It is considered one of the most important artisanal fisheries, essentially due to the number of fishermen and vessels involved and to the high volume and value of the catches. The present study aimed to explore the efficiency of the dredge fleets that operated in the west coast of Portugal between 2006 and 2012. The methodology was based on the use of data envelopment analysis to assess vessels' efficiency. The inputs considered included the number of days at sea, a biomass stock indicator, and the characteristics of the vessels (power, length and tonnage). The annual fishing quota per vessel was also included in the model as a contextual factor. In the technical efficiency analysis, the outputs were defined by the weight of captures for three different bivalve species. Using data on the prices of each species in the wholesale market, revenue efficiency was also estimated to complement the technical efficiency analysis. The results allowed to gain insights concerning the performance of both Northwest and Southwest fleets, considering both technical and economic aspects of the fishery. It was also possible to identify the benchmark vessels, whose practices should be followed by the other vessels of the fleet.