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A Coupled Bioeconomic Model of a Regional Economy and an Aquatic Food Web

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  • Feedbacks between the ecosystem and the economy are important to consider when measuring impacts from a disturbance but are often missed in representations of the economy and the food web. Moreover, regional general equilibrium models often focus on how humans respond to ecological changes and do not consider that in adapting to changed conditions, humans can further affect the ecosystem. We present a coupled bioeconomic model that integrates the economic and ecological systems into a single model; a computable general equilibrium model of a regional economy is linked with an aquatic food web model. The food web is modeled using the Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) platform, and multidirectional feedbacks between the ecological and economic systems are included. Our bioeconomic model uniquely represents of both recreational and commercial fishing activities, harvest quotas, and fish biomass values in the economic system. We simulated the bioeconomic impacts of a potential Asian carp invasion of Lake Erie’s food web and regional economy. Without including bioeconomic feedbacks, our results suggest that Asian carp could have large ecological impacts, but small economic impacts. However, even if the regional welfare impacts from an invasion are small, projected population levels are overestimated for some species and underestimated for other species when the human feedback is omitted.
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  • Seattle, Washington, USA
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