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When thinking of the numerous industries we have across the United States, the environmental impacts created from their unsustainable operations is not always at the forefront of our thoughts. The fact that negative impacts on our environment can also create problems for our economy is often overlooked as well. The damaging impact marine fisheries in the United States have on our environment, and the cost it creates for the fishing industry, is a good example of this cycle between sustainable (or unsustainable) operations and productivity.

In this paper we ask the following: Has the implementation of sustainable practices in U.S. marine fisheries contributed to the increase in an industry’s economic performance between 1994 and 2014? We hypothesize that the utilization of sustainable practices, including legislation meant to protect tuna populations and marine ecosystems, contributed to increasing the marine fishing industry’s economic performance. This paper analyzes how marine fisheries operate in the United States and the negative effects they impose on marine ecosystems, specifically among Pacific bluefin tuna fish populations. By gauging environmental parameters, including declining tuna fish populations and overfishing, in relation to the industry’s economic performance, we argue that the implementation of sustainable practices that protect marine ecosystems and tuna populations could lead to an improvement in the industry’s health.


Undergraduate Research Awards - 2020 Finalist, Junior-Senior category