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Considering economic efficiency in ecosystem-based management: The case of horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay Public Deposited

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  • The welfare gains from incorporating ecosystem considerations into fisheries management are unclear and can vary widely between systems. Additionally, welfare gains depend on how ecosystem considerations are adopted. This paper uses an empirically parameterized bioeconomic model to explore the welfare implications of two definitions of ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM). We first define EBFM as a fishery management plan that maximizes the net present value of ecosystem services. We then explore an alternative definition that adds ecosystem considerations to a fishery managed with regulated open access. Our biological model reflects horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay, which are harvested in a commercial fishery and are ecologically linked to migrating shorebirds populations, e.g. the endangered red knot. We find that introducing ecosystem considerations to a regulated open access fishery generates welfare gains on par with gains from addressing the commons problem even when fishery rents are completely dissipated. Additionally, solving the commons problem within an EBFM approach can provide substantial welfare gains above those from solving the commons problem in a single-species management framework.
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  • Seattle, Washington, USA
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