Teh LSL, Teh LCL, Sumaila UR (in press) Time preference of small-scale fishers in open access and traditionally managed reef fisheries. Marine Policy

Individuals with high discount rates are likely not partial to conservation because they are unwilling to sacrifice short term benefits for potentially higher gains in the future.  Many reef fisheries worldwide are open access, and fishers under open access systems are theorized to discount the future at an infinite rate. In contrast, fishers in a customary managed fishery can be expected to be more long term oriented, and thus possibly have lower discount rates. The present study tests this hypothesis by eliciting the discount rates of fishers in an open access small-scale reef fishery, and compares these rates to those of fishers in a customary managed reef fishery. Results indicate that fishers in both open access and traditionally managed reef fisheries have high annual discount rates that are on average over 200%. Contrary to expectations, fishers under an open access system are not associated with higher discount rates compared to customary management. It also appears that a larger proportion of open access fishers are more long-term oriented than those in the customary managed fishery, which is encouraging for the future conservation and sustainability of open access fisheries resources.