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On the Tension between Maximum Sustainable and Maximum Economic Yield Public Deposited

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  • A primary objective of fishery management is profit maximization, accomplished by managing externalities associated with catching fish, while acknowledging that some margins of fishing fall beyond regulatory bounds. Regulation often does not address the larger economy of which the fishery is a part, focusing instead on the cost--benefit structure of a particular fishery and creating a potential tension between the objectives of a resource manager and what is preferred from an economy-wide perspective. To gauge the benefits of recognizing linkages between the fishery and the macroeconomy, optimal harvest patterns targeted by a profit-maximizing resource manager are compared to what is socially optimal in a two-sector, dynamic general-equilibrium model that features opportunity costs to fishing. Maximum economic yield delivers profits to the fishery, but maximum sustainable yield can deliver greater economy-wide surplus. This tension might explain why real-life fisheries are often managed at MSY as opposed to MEY.
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  • Seattle, Washington, USA
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