Incorporating economics into fishery policies: Developing integrated ecological-economics harvest control rules

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite the efforts of management authorities, several fish stocks continue to be harvested at unsustainable levels. While integrating economics into catch advice has been identified as key in developing more effective management, few studies investigate how bioeconomic modelling can inform decision-making. At the same time, increasing evidence has been gathered on the occurrence of regime shifts in marine ecosystems, raising greater concerns regarding fish stocks' recovery ability. Policy evaluation methods, however, still resort to compensation population models. As a result, these may overestimate reproductive success, thus jeopardizing the design and evaluation of stock rebuilding policies. This paper addresses those challenges proposing a methodology that approximates a harvest control rule using an age-structured bioeconomic model. As a result, we deliver a policy rule that complies with current advice procedures and endogenously captures economics. Also, we consider concerns on the existence of regime shifts in marine populations and estimate a bioeconomic model with critical depensation. Results from our case study suggest that policies neglecting the existence of critical depensation may compromise stock rebuilding objectives and might even result in fishery collapses. Using bioeconomic modelling to define harvest control rules may enhance policy design aimed at reconciling fisheries' economic returns and stock recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107418
JournalEcological Economics
Volume196
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • Allee effects
  • Bioeconomic models
  • Critical depensation
  • Fishery policy
  • Harvest control rules
  • Regime shifts

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