Uncertainty and Risk in the Ecosystems Approach to Fisheries Management: Some Insights from an Ecosystem Computer Simulation Model Public Deposited

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  • Understanding the complexities of ecosystems is difficult enough, but when the human dimension is added to the inherent uncertainty and risk in fisheries management, the actual versus expected results move from the counter-intuitive to the paradoxical. Without an adequate understanding of the interrelationships between ecosystem components, including the human dimension, scientific management becomes intuition-based management, which is often counterproductive to achieving desired goals and objectives. A computer simulation model is developed for multiple species, resource areas, stocks, and cohorts. To explicitly incorporate ecosystem effects predator-prey and competitor relationships are constructed to interpret interactions between different species of fish. Fishing fleet dynamics are captured by modeling multiple vessel classes based on specifications for catchability and concentration profiles. Additional uncertainty is included through the effects of market supply and demand on price for different discount rates. Economic impacts are also estimated for each point in time as biological and market conditions change. This simulation model results are then compared to determine if the management objective of maximization of net benefits subject to the fish stock conservation goal are achievable in an ecosystem context while also considering impacts on jobs, income, and sales. Insights from this simulation of an ecosystem should provide information on the needed research required for the ecosystem approach to fisheries management to be successful in achieving its multiple objectives.
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  • Ward, John, Rebecca Metzner and Cassandra DeYoung. 2010. Uncertainty and Risk in the Ecosystems Approach to Fisheries Management: Some Insights from an Ecosystem Computer Simulation Model. 12 pages. In: Proceedings of the Fifteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, July 13-16, 2010, Montpellier, France: Economics of Fish Resources and Aquatic Ecosystems: Balancing Uses, Balancing Costs. Compiled by Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, Corvallis, Oregon, USA, 2010.
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