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Predicting Recreational Fishery Landings Under Alternative Climate Scenarios: The US Summer Flounder Fishery

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  • This research develops a spatially-explicit model of recreational angler participation in an effort to predict outcomes for the US summer flounder (fluke) fishery under alternative climate scenarios, and inform adaptive management approaches. The mid-Atlantic coastal waters of the US have experienced significant warming in recent years, resulting in noticeable pole-ward shifts of important fish species, including fluke. While commercial fleets have been able to adapt, and aggregate recreational harvest limits (RHLs) have been achieved, state-level RHLs based on historical harvest shares are persistently exceeded by northern jurisdictions, leading to significant inter-jurisdictional differences in bag and size limits, and repeated addendums to the fishery management plan to prevent drastic cuts for offending jurisdictions. Using data from a choice experiment and the NMFS MRIP system, a random utility model of recreational angler behavior is estimated, and willingness to pay estimates for both kept and released fish are generated. The model is coupled with an age- and spatially-structured population model (developed in conjunction with this research) to estimate historical selectivity across jurisdictions. Stock profiles under alternative climate scenarios are used to simulate angler welfare, trip-level participation, and harvest outcomes at the jurisdictional level, and under alternative bag and size limits. This research provides a predictive tool for managers to respond proactively to changing distributions, and offers insight into the costs and benefits of reallocation and/or novel allocation approaches (e.g., the Headboat Collaborative pilot program in the Gulf of Mexico). Further, this approach should be useful for evaluating other fishery resources experiencing shifting distributions.
  • KEYWORDS: Fisheries Management, Climate: Adaptation, Fisheries economics
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  • Kennedy, Chris, S. Steinback, and M. Lee. 2014. Predicting Recreational Fishery Landings Under Alternative Climate Scenarios: The US Summer Flounder Fishery. In: Towards ecosystem based management of fisheries: what role can economics play?: Proceedings of the Seventeenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, July 7-11, 2014, Brisbane, Australia. Complied by Ann L. Shriver & Melissa Errend. Corvallis, OR: International Institute of Fisheries.
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  • Fisheries Research & Development Corporation, World Wildlife Fund, MG Kailis Group, AquaFish Innovation Lab, NOAA Fisheries, The European Association of Fisheries Economists, Japan International Fisheries Research Society, United Nations University, NORAD
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