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Profit and equity trade-off in small pelagic fisheries: The case of the Japanese sardine fishery Public Deposited

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  • The importance of small-pelagic species in marine ecosystems and their economic contribution to coastal communities are increasingly recognised by many fishery managers. However, the management of small pelagic species faces many challenges due to environmental factors that periodically impact on recruitment of the species. Delayed responses in management to these fluctuations can amplify the effects of fishing and may even result in collapse of the stock. In this paper, we examine the effectiveness of directly controlling fishing mortality and fishery closure as a means to manage a cyclically fluctuating fish stock. We develop an age-structured bioeconomic model that incorporates cyclic fluctuations in recruitment. The model is parameterised using data from the Japanese sardine Pacific stock (Sardinops melanostictus) fishery which has twice experienced the collapse of the stock since 1900. Results show that duration of the stock collapse period is mostly determined by the extent of environmental fluctuations, while the effects of such fluctuations on the fishery are heightened by the cumulative impact of fishing on the age-structure of the population. Our results further show that the closure of nursery grounds decreases the duration of the stock collapse period, but this is achieved at the expense of the decline in the overall profit of the fishery and intertemporal equality of benefits from the fishery. By contrast, a direct control of fishing mortality results in a shorter collapse period and more equal distribution of fishery benefits over time, but with less overall fishery
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  • Seattle, Washington, USA
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